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Australia: Police Chief Says Get Tough

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
WA Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan demanded a toughening up of the State’s liberal cannabis laws yesterday, arguing that offenders should no longer be offered the luxury of a small fine as Alan Carpenter defended his Government’s approach to cannabis users.

A day after the Australian Medical Association’s WA branch called for the controversial legislation to be rewritten, Mr O’Callaghan said cannabis users who refused to take part in a drug education program should face court.

He said those who chose to attend an education class rather than pay the fine but then failed to show up should be prosecuted.

His comments came despite the Premier saying Mr O’Callaghan continued to support the Government’s position.

“I support the drug diversion program,’” Mr O’Callaghan said. “However, in our submission to the Government’s review of the Cannabis Control Act we will state that we want it strengthened.

“We would propose to eliminate the option of taking a small fine and instead give people the option of either going to court or attending drug education classes.

“If people opt to attend the education classes and don’t go within 28 days then it should trigger an offence and they should be prosecuted.”

Mr O’Callaghan said he supported the AMA’s recommendation that the Government introduce legislation requiring juvenile cannabis users to undergo counselling, arguing that a weakness of the system was that cannabis users aged under 18 were not eligible for an infringement notice.

“It is very important that counselling is available to young people who are found with drugs,” he said.

Opposition spokeswoman on drug abuse Donna Faragher said decriminalising cannabis had been a failed social experiment and the Government’s skewed policy perpetuated a myth that smoking cannabis was harmless.

Mr Carpenter said cannabis use among teenagers aged 12 to 17 had declined significantly since the policy was adopted. He said police believed the policy was workable and was producing good results. “We’ve put in place a policy which statistics indicate has resulted in far fewer young people using cannabis,” he said.

Mr Carpenter said the Government would not bow to the demands of every interest group or the rhetoric of a particular sector, saying WA had faced a huge problem in the late 1990s with drug abuse, heroin deaths and drug-related crime.

“We put in place a series of policy measures which we believed would improve that situation,” he said. “Why would we head off in a direction which would conceivably make things worse again?”

WA’s peak drug sector body, the WA Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies, warned it may not be able to cope if participation in the education program became a mandated requirement of cannabis offenders.

In its submission, the network said the cannabis education service providers, all of whom are members of WANADA, would need an immediate funding injection to deal with the extra workload.

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Source: TheWest.com
Contact: Contact
Copyright: West Australian Newspapers Limited 2007
Website: Police chief: Get tough on cannabis : thewest.com.au
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Herb Fellow

New Member
Three words in the last sentence proclaims their main reason for wanting to change, "immediate funding injection." More money for their departments!
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