The Minister responsible for WA Drug Abuse Strategy Rhonda Parker says the Opposition is continuing to send out confusing messages on its policy on cannabis.
The Opposition spokesperson on drug abuse strategy, Alan Carpenter, was quoted on ABC Radio on Saturday as saying that the Labor Party had never supported legalising cannabis.
Mrs Parker said that the Opposition should clarify its policy on cannabis once and for all.
“The people of Western Australia deserve an explanation on the changed policy,” she said.
“I ask Mr Carpenter to clarify what the Labor Party State conference in May agreed to and exactly what their current position is.
“Did they endorse a policy which would allow the possession of 100 grams of cannabis and the cultivation of 5 cannabis plants for personal use or not?
“Under the state conference resolution, was there provision of any penalty, any fine, any caution, any requirement to undergo treatment, or any consequence at all, if a person was found cultivating less than five cannabis plants or in possession of less than 100 grams of cannabis?
“My understanding, and the understanding of the Western Australian public has always been that under Labor’s radical proposal, whilst the trade of the drug would remain illegal, in contrast to that, the cultivation of up to five plants, possession of up to 100 grams or use of cannabis by adults on private property would be legal.
“I would have thought that it is very clear - to allow, authorise and sanction the possession of currently illegal drugs without any punitive consequence makes it legal.
“Under the Government’s policy aimed at reducing and preventing cannabis use, only first time offenders have one opportunity for an alternative penalty - to attend an education session on the harms of cannabis.
“If they don’t attend they are charged and if they offend again they are charged. Under Labor’s policy I thought it was very clear that it would be legal irrespective of how often someone is found with less than 100 grams or 5 plants of cannabis for personal use.
“The expiation notice scheme in South Australia when it was introduced, although it has been a disaster, at least subjected a person found cultivating less than 10 cannabis plants to a $150 fine.
“I welcome Labor’s recognition that the Government’s policy on cannabis makes a lot of sense.
“But will the Labor Party after its latest back-flip support the Government’s requirement for first time simple cannabis offenders to participate in a mandatory education session on the health and social harms of cannabis or not?
“And, having ditched its policy on cannabis, will the Opposition abandon the two other harmful drug policy proposals coming out of the May state conference as well.
“The State Government’s position is very clear. We consider that both the proposal to provide heroin addicts with their drug of choice and establishing heroin injecting rooms in Perth would worsen the drug problem in WA.”
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