Two reports released in the last few weeks have revealed that 89 per cent of drug users find it ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain hydroponic cannabis and that South Australia has some of the softest drug laws in the country, with 90 per cent of cannabis seized in 2000-2001 was grown hydroponically, Shadow Substance Abuse Minister Michelle Lensink said today.
“While we wait for appropriate penalties it is little wonder that Adelaide currently has more hydroponic stores per head of population than any other capital city.
“According to the 2005 Illicit Drug Reporting System, 89 per cent of nationally surveyed drug users reported it ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain hydroponic cannabis and South Australia has some of the softest cannabis cultivating laws in the country.
“The Australian National Council on Drugs report into Cannabis stated that hydroponic cannabis made up 90 per cent of all seized cannabis in South Australia during 2000-2001.
“These two reports reinstate our suspicions. The Liberal Party drug policy was to legislate to introduce a licensing system for the sale of hydroponic equipment. This policy resulted from Labors continuous inaction towards cannabis.
“In response to our policy Mike Rann announced that Labor would create a specific offence of cultivating cannabis, and would introduce a statutory requirement to register all sales of hydroponic equipment, however we are yet to see this legislation.
“The Attorney-General also announced on the 3 March 2006 that the government would increase penalties for growing cannabis by 50 per cent. This has also not happened. Just more promises broken after the votes have been counted.
“One cannabis plant can produce approximately 16 ounces of sellable marijuana which can be sold at a street value of $200 per ounce, that’s $3200 per plant. The current penalty for growing one plant is $150 and obviously this infringement is no way near enough to deter people from cultivating cannabis. That is roughly the same as a speeding fine, less in some circumstances.
“Increased resources should be provided to the police force to attack the source and distribution of drugs. The government needs to ensure that drug use and related anti social behavior does not continue to go undetected within our community.
“Hydroponic cannabis cultivation needs to be stopped. Cannabis is currently the most widely used drug in this country, with more than one in three people having used cannabis in their lifetime.
“If Rann is serious about getting tough on crime, he needs to step up and follow through on his promises.”