Queensland will soon have some of the most lenient drug laws in Australia, according to leaked emails obtained by News Corp detailing the Palaszczuk government’s plans to reverse the state’s tough stance on hard drugs.
The changes include giving anyone caught with a gram of heroin, cocaine or ice three chances before they face criminal charges.
First time offenders will receive a warning, and second and third offenders will be offered the opportunity to participate in a drug diversion program.
It is only the fourth time that the police have been required to issue a court summons to appear on a charge of drug possession.
The changes, which Palaszczuk’s government has developed with police and health and drug experts, are designed to make things easier for the police and the courts and to keep users with health problems out of the court system.
They were due to be announced later this week but were leaked after a senior Queensland police officer emailed thousands of employees announcing the move. Australian reports.
Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Mark Wheeler said in an email that was later withdrawn that the bill “expands the program available to the police to effectively deal with minor drug offenses.”
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said in a statement that the state police service “asked for it” and the changes were supported by Police Commissioner Katharina Carroll and several former Queensland Police Commissioners.
“All agreed that this approach is a win-win—better community safety outcomes and more efficient use of police and judicial resources,” Mr. Ryan said. Australian.
The Queensland Cabinet has also reportedly signed a proposal to take a tougher stance on drug trafficking by increasing the maximum sentence from 25 years in prison to life in prison, as well as expanding a ten-year diversion program for cannabis possession to include ice, cocaine , heroin, fentanyl, ketamine and steroids.
The move puts Queensland on par with other states and territories by offering distraction programs or education rather than convictions for possession of drugs other than cannabis.
However, the new laws are among the most lenient in Australia. Victoria offers fewer chances before a conviction for possession, and New South Wales law defines a “small amount” of the drug equal to a quarter of Queensland. Only the ACT and South Australia are more lenient.
The new drug laws will go into effect next year and are seen as a way to give the police more time. to cope with the growing crisis of youth crime.
Palaschuk government Laws are scheduled to be passed on Tuesday to make bail violations a separate offense for minors.after 150,000 people signed a petition to reintroduce the controversial liberal national policy.
“We once again listened to society and want to work together in the spirit of bipartisanship in the interests of the people of this state,” said Prime Minister Annastasia Palaschuk. Australian reports.
The police already have the power to arrest minors who have not met bail conditions.
Originally published as Queensland to make sweeping changes to drug reform to tackle youth crime