Illicit Drug Data Report 2011–12

The Australian Crime Commission released its ‘Illicit Drug Data Report 2011–12’ on 20 May 2013. The Illicit Drug Data Report (IDDR) 2011–12 provides a snapshot of the Australian illicit drug market. The report brings together illicit drug data from a variety of sources, including law enforcement, health organisations and academia. The IDDR is the only report of its type in Australia and provides an important evidence base to assist decision-makers in the development of strategies to combat the threat posed by illicit drugs. The Australian Crime Commission included the following among its key findings: • ‘A record 23.8 tonnes of illicit drugs were seized nationally’. • ‘The number of national illicit drug seizures and arrests are the highest reported in the last decade’. • ‘Over the last decade, cannabis has remained the dominant illicit drug in Australia in terms of arrests, seizures and use’. Amphetamine-Type Stimulants: • ‘Both the number and weight of ATS (excluding MDMA) detections at the Australian border increased and are the highest reported in the last decade’. • ‘The weight of national ATS seizures increased by 55.9 per cent’. • ‘The number of national ATS arrests increased to 16 828 and is the highest reported in the last decade’. Cannabis: • ‘There was a record 2 660 cannabis detections at the Australian border, with cannabis seeds continuing to account for the majority of detections’. • ‘The number and weight of national cannabis seizures increased, with the number of seizures the highest reported in the last decade’. • ‘The number of national cannabis arrests continued to increase and is the highest reported in the last decade’....

Regulating Cannabis

Common sense has prevailed in two US states that yesterday voted to regulate cannabis. Voters in Colorado and Washington state have sent a clear message to their elected officials that punishing people for a consensual transaction (buying and selling cannabis) violates the will of the majority. The Washington State Liquor Control Board, Department of Agriculture and Department of Health have until December 1, 2013 to create a licensing system that involves the taxation, production and sale of cannabis. It will remain an offense to sell cannabis to people under the age of 21 and drive whilst intoxicated. Like any agricultural commodity designed for human consumption, product regulations are likely to ensure cannabis is sold with appropriate health warnings and is grown in stable soil conditions, treated for mold spore and placed in airtight packaging with an expiration date. The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation welcomes the decision to tax and regulate cannabis. According to a report prepared by Commonwealth Government in 1994: Australian society experiences more harm, we conclude, from maintaining the prohibition policy than it experiences from the use of the drug We call on all Australians to join others in agitating for law reform and to protect the health and safety of our communities by regulating...

Medical marijuana coverage on Channel 7

The Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation welcomes Channel 7’s stereotype busting story about the use of medical marijuana among older Americans. The complete video of this story, which aired on the network’s Sunday Night program, is available to view on their website. Efforts to establish a medical cannabis trial in New South Wales have been underway since 1999. In October 2011 the Californian Medical Association [CMA] became the first medical society to officially support marijuana legalisation. Their President James T. Hay MD, as reported by the American Medical Association, explained that: “This was a carefully considered, deliberative decision made exclusively on medical and scientific...

The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs by Chris Berg

A few excerpts from Chris Berg’s great article on drug policy: The decriminalisation (or even legalisation) of drugs by Chris Berg. It doesn’t take more than a moment of thought to recognise that the rulings on which drugs are legal or illegal are governed by no particular logic. No theory from medicine or philosophy or psychology demands alcohol, tobacco and caffeine must be legal while marijuana, cocaine, and heroin must be prohibited. […] Whether a drug is illegal is nothing more than an accident of history. Drug laws were not written dispassionately by a panel of the best medical and ethical minds in the world. The laws bear no relation to the damage those drugs could cause or their danger to society – they were not written to minimise harm or protect health. Quite the opposite: the current schedule of drugs in the Western world has been driven by politics, expediency, prejudice, and sometimes outright racism. […] But the biggest cultural barrier to such reform is the current status illegal drugs have. In the sort of circular reasoning that only popular discourse can manage, the prohibition of drugs is mostly justified by their pre-existing legal status. Why are certain drugs prohibited? Because they are illicit drugs. But that status has been set by politics and moral panics, not dispassionate evidence-based risk assessments. Drug prohibition carries the legacy of the ugly politics of the past. Once we realise that, we may start to rethink the justice of a war that is, in truth, not against drugs, but against drug...