Australia: Reform in sight for personal use and driving at the wheel


If recreation is legal, should the laws on driving drugs change?

According to one investigation members of the ACT, those who smoke a joint and drive the next day risk the same penalties as the most drunk drivers, even if the drug is legalized. Last week, a commission commissioned in Michigan asked not to set a THC limit for drivers. Today, this is the case of the Australian capital.

Australia's drug-driven driving laws are "disproportionate" and need to be revised as part of the proposed legalization of recreational cannabis.

The ACT Law Society says ACT provides for the toughest penalties in Australia for driving under the influence of drugs and has expressed doubts about how laws will interact with a proposal to legalize cannabis for use staff.

Michael Kukulies-Smith, chair of the criminal law committee and one of Canberra's most successful lawyers, said Friday before a committee of the Legislative Assembly that further harmonize drinking and driving laws and drugs if cannabis becomes legal.

As it stands, an offender who is on his first offense and has traces of cannabis in his system is liable to the same maximum penalty as a recidivist accused of drunk driving or driver accused of driving under the influence of alcohol at an average level. This is the case even if they are not weakened or if they are not intoxicated.

Drivers who have consumed small amounts of cannabis are also subject to the same period of automatic disqualification of a driver's license as an impaired driver - three years - even if it is their first offense. This period may be reduced by the courts to a minimum of six months of disqualification.

"It is clear that alcohol is freely available to adults in our community and can be consumed freely by adults in our community, but we still have, and rightly so, drinking legislation that regulates and punishes people. for the degree of weakening that they actually have rather than for their legal right to consume a single beverage, "said Kukulies-Smith.

"The same thing could happen with cannabis legislation:
if a person smoked a few days before being stopped by the police and still had "a small amount of THC in his system" but was "otherwise intact", he would still be subject to the same penalty as repeat drivers caught with 0,08's blood alcohol level. it is almost certain that if she were arrested, she would be convicted of an offense.

Mr. Kukulies-Smith also expressed concern about the legal vacuum left by the suppression of the possession and cultivation of cannabis as a criminal offense in the law.

ACT police say the vacuum would force them to enforce tougher Commonwealth sentences for possession of cannabis.

While the author of the bill, Labor MP Michael Pettersson, has stated that there is a defense to any non-trafficking charge, provided the use is justified or excused by territorial law. Mr. Kukulies-Smith stated that this was intended to recognize "legitimate uses" of controlled substances in the community, authorized for sanitary or industrial use. According to him, residents would be legally allowed to carry up to 50 grams of cannabis and would be allowed to grow up to four plants at home - selling drugs would remain illegal.

He said that ambiguity can mean that someone finds himself in court as a guinea pig to understand how the law works.

However, ACT could avoid leaving the field by expressly stating that it is an authorization in the legislation, said Kukulies-Smith.

Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Service Executive Director, Julie Tongs, also said that although drug law reform was long overdue, there was a need for more options for Aboriginal Canberrans with addictions.

"As we all know, Aboriginal people are massively over-represented in the CMA. We also know that a very high percentage of Aboriginal people and people from other disadvantaged backgrounds who go to jail are sent there because of drug crimes and drug addiction. We must simply recognize that addiction must be treated as a health issue and not a justice issue. This requires a complete overhaul of our drug laws, "said Ms. Tongs.

Winnunga Nimmityjah's advisor and former chief labor minister, Jon Stanhope, said he was concerned that the legalization of the drug would have no impact on the delinquency, incarceration and rehabilitation of indigenous populations because the infrastructure to deal with addiction did not exist.

Although the ACT government spent $ 11,7 million to build a detox house (Ngunnawal Bush) for aboriginals recovering from alcoholism or drug addiction, zoning problems meant that no clinical services were available. can be provided on the site.

The harsher penalties for an impaired or impaired driving offense due to "hard drug" use may be justified, but not when a person driving with a small amount of cannabis his body ".

The investigation continues in April.

Tags : AlcoholAustraliaconductScreeningDrugLawsalivary test

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