The Liberal-National Government’s tougher cannabis laws have resulted in a 12-fold increase in the number of people attending mandatory cannabis education sessions compared to the rate of attendance under the previous legislation.
Police Minister Liza Harvey said a 12-month review of the laws showed the number and rate of individuals attending a cannabis intervention session (CIS) was about 12 times greater (63 per cent) than the rate of attendance at cannabis education sessions (five per cent) under the previous scheme.
Mrs Harvey said under the laws, which came into effect on August 1, 2011, people caught in possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis, or in possession of a smoking implement containing traces of cannabis, were required to attend the sessions.
“This data presents a positive picture of the work done by both WA Police and the Drug and Alcohol Office to ensure that the provision of these sessions is both accessible and effective,” she said.
In a 12-month period 1,442 individuals were issued with cannabis intervention requirements (CIRs) which mandated their attendance at a CIS.
Of those, 903 (63 per cent) successfully completed a CIS; 503 (35 per cent) were not expiated; and the remainder of the CIRs were withdrawn.
“I look forward to the continuation of this scheme and further analysis of the figures, in particular the impact they have on recidivism,” Mrs Harvey said.
Mental Health Minister Helen Morton said the review revealed 86 per cent of participants found the CIS treatment mostly or very useful.
“The vast majority of those who attend a CIS are reporting the session helped to increase their knowledge about health, social and legal issues, and about treatment options,” Mrs Morton said.
“Three-quarters of those surveyed said they were given referrals to other services, and just over half intended to get further treatment which is a great outcome for these people.”
Police Minister’s office - 6552 5900
Mental Health Minister’s office - 6552 6900