The Attorney-General’s proposed drug diversion scheme to give police discretionary powers in issuing fines to people caught with small amounts of currently illicit drugs, will still allow police to continue discriminating against the most vulnerable and is not the solution to reducing drug harm, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and drug law reform spokesperson.
“It’s been two years since the Ice Inquiry handed down its findings and recommendations and instead of taking the action needed to reduce the harms posed by ice and save lives, the Government is proposing a weak alternative,” said Ms Faehrmann.
“We don’t support putting discretion into the hands of police because it will mean the most vulnerable will continue to be sent to court. Police disproportionately send First Nations people found with cannabis to court even though they have the discretion not to, so why would this scheme be any different?
“The Government has ignored the recommendations of the Ice Inquiry for over 2 years now despite it bringing together the views of the leading drug and alcohol experts.
“The Ice Inquiry report was clear: full decriminalisation, coupled with a much larger investment in health and social services is the solution to the drug crisis in NSW. Anything less is a cop out and ignores the overwhelming evidence handed to the government two years ago,” said Ms Faehrmann.
Statistics compiled by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSAR) show that during the five year period 2013-2017, 82.55% of all Indigenous people found with a non-indictable quantity of cannabis were pursued through the courts, compared with only 52.29% for the non-Indigenous population.