An Interview with Former NSW DPP Nicholas Cowdery

Sydney Criminal Lawyers spoke with Mr Cowdery about the need for drug law reform in Australia. On 23 August this year, the NSW Court of Appeal ruled in the case Robertson versus R that it’s open for a judge to impose a non-custodial sentence for a significant drug supply, despite the absence of “exceptional circumstances.” It overturned a precedent followed by the state’s courts that was set by the 1990 case R v Peter Michael Clark, which determined that unless there are exceptional circumstances, a person convicted of a substantial drug supply must be sentenced to full-time imprisonment. Read the full interview...

The Times… are changing

Groundbreaking editorial from the Times. June 16 2016, The Times Breaking Good Public health officials have seen the logic of decriminalising illegal drugs. This is an important step towards putting violent gangs out of business. Would it ever make sense to jail a chain-smoker for smoking or an alcoholic for touching drink? On the basis that the answer is no, the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) is urging the government to decriminalise the personal possession and use of all illegal drugs. This is radical advice, but also sound. Ministers should give it serious consideration. Prosecutions in Britain for small-scale personal cannabis use are already rare. To this extent the new proposals would not do much more than bring the statute book up to date with the status quo in most parts of the country. But the change the RSPH has in mind would go much further. It would push Britain into a small group of countries that have switched from regarding the use of drugs including heroin, cocaine and ecstasy as a health issue rather than one of criminal justice. This is not a switch to be taken lightly, nor one the Home Office under present management is likely to take without sustained pressure from elsewhere in government. Yet the logic behind it and evidence from elsewhere are persuasive. Indeed, the government should be encouraged to think of decriminalisation not as an end in itself but as a first step towards legalising and regulating drugs as it already regulates alcohol and tobacco. The RSPH’s model is a drug decriminalisation initiative in Portugal that is now 15 years old....

World leaders call for end to “Disastrous” Drug War in letter to UN

“Humankind cannot afford a 21st century drug policy as ineffective and counter-productive as the last century’s,” letter says. Signatories include Former Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, Cape Verde, Switzerland & Poland; Former Prime Ministers of Greece, Hungary & The Netherlands, Distinguished Scholars, Jurists, Clergy, Business Leaders, Elected Officials, Celebrities and Others....

Insights – Sax Institute

The President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Dr Alex Wodak was recently interviewed by the Sax Institute about drug prohibition and drug law reform. The Sax Institute is a national leader in promoting the use of research evidence in health policy. The video was made for Web CIPHER – a website for health decision makers and those interested in evidence informed...