Tough On Crime - Soft On Drugs

17 Aug 2006 archivemedia

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug within Australian society with clear medical links between excessive use and mental health problems, however the Rann Government continues to be soft on cannabis drug laws, Shadow Minister for Substance Abuse, Michelle Lensink said today.

“The Rann Government continually promotes that they are tough on crime, however this state has some of the softest cannabis laws in the country.” She said

“The 2004 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which is the most comprehensive survey on illicit drugs use undertaken in Australia, surveyed 30,000 people aged 12 years and older and found that cannabis was the most commonly used illicit drug within our country.

“One third of Australian has used cannabis in their lifetime, and one in twenty has used cannabis within the last week.

“It was reported in the National Institute of Health and Welfare report ‘Alcohol and other drug treatment services’ July 2006, 89 per cent of cannabis users found it ’easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain hydroponic cannabis.

“The Rann Government has done little to address the high amount of cannabis use within our community except offer to put up the already measly fines for cultivating cannabis to $300 per plant, which has yet to happen.

“It is extraordinary that studies are being released every day highlighting the effects cannabis has on a person mental health and yet this government is too afraid to make the possession or cultivation of the drug a criminal offence.

“Adelaide currently has more hydroponic stores per head of population than any other capital city, what does that tell you about Mike Rann’s tough stance on crime.

“It is a commonly known fact, that crime and drugs are interrelated. If the Rann Government was serious about being tough on crime their first priority would be to make it harder for people to access and use drugs.

“It has been three years since Labor held their ‘drug summit’ and we are yet to see any positive change to our drug laws.

“Labor’s answer to every crime problem is criticising the judicial system for not imposing maximum penalties. How are the judicial system supposed to address the cannabis problem in our society when the laws are so soft? The Rann Government has no strategy on drugs.