Rhonda Parker

Rhonda Parker

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    Minister says Labor back-flip confirms Govt's position on cannabis legalisation

    29/11/1999 8:03 PM
     
    29/11/99

    The Minister Responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, said that the latest Labor Party back-flip on cannabis policy confirmed the Government’s long held position that Labor’s proposal to legalise cannabis for personal use would be a bad move for Western Australia.

    “I didn’t think, though, that the Labor Party would back-flip so quickly and take the Government’s line,” Mrs Parker said.

    Responding to the announcement of Labor’s back-flip on its cannabis policy, the Minister said it was clear that the Labor Party was divided on this important community issue and that they could not be entrusted with developing an effective and reliable strategy against drug abuse.

    “The Labor Party in WA is inconsistent and has come full circle from a proposal made only in May this year to completely legalise cannabis for personal use, to one that basically recognises that the Government’s cannabis prevention strategy makes sense,” Mrs Parker said.

    “I have always said that Labor’s proposal to legalise the possession of either five cannabis plants or 100 grams of the drug for personal use, as stated at their State Conference six months ago, if implemented, would increase cannabis use and the harm it causes in the community.

    “The Labor Party had planned to sanction cannabis use in WA and they now recognise the impending harm of such a move,” the Minister said.

    The Minister again strongly rejected Opposition claims that the Government’s Cannabis Cautioning and Mandatory Education System was effective decriminalisation.

    “Under our system, we give first time offenders one opportunity for an alternative penalty - to attend an education session on the harms of cannabis,” Mrs Parker said.

    “It is the basic carrot and the stick approach that only works if cannabis use remains a criminal offence.

    “The alternative penalty for first time offenders is an early intervention strategy to change their attitudes towards the drug.

    “If they don’t attend the education session they’ll be charged, or if they offend again they’ll be charged.”

    Mrs Parker said the Opposition continued to suggest incorrectly that the Government was decriminalising cannabis to divert attention from its policy that was poorly thought through, which had made many Labor members nervous and on which they now had to publicly resile.

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