Minister of Justice Simon Power has unfortunately decided to completely ignore recommendations made by the Law Commission on drug reform. This is an unfortunate missed opportunity.
I absolutely agree with David Farrar who says:
Simon Power must have a very sore kneecap after what was an un-necessary kneejerk rejection of pretty much everything in the Law Commission’s review of drug laws…
I’m surprised and somewhat disappointed by such a response especially that Simon is generally seen as one of the more liberal and considered Ministers.
I too expected Simon Power to be a bit more open to the clear and evidence-based arguments put forward by the Law Commission. It’s a missed opportunity that does nothing to solve the drug problem in our society.
As David’s summary notes, the proposed changes included:
Move from a three tier system (Class A, B and C) to a two tier classification system, to more clearly distinguish between the very harmful and less harmful drugs.
Rather than have arguments over whether drugs were for purpose of use or supply, have two different possession offences with a higher maximum penalty for the higher quantity offence.
A formal cautioning scheme, with up to three cautions for personal use offences, with requirements to undertake an intervention session and counselling
Option of infringement notices requiring a fine and/or attend a drug education session for less serious drugs
Prohibit any new psychoactive substance from being manufactured, produced or imported without prior approval
With almost half of Kiwis admitting to have used Cannabis, drugs aren’t simply going to go away. It’s about time a government stood up and took a sensible approach to the issue.
Update: [lprent: So far the best reading on this subject is at Imperator Fish, where ‘Simon Power’ proclaims that he never uses ‘evidence’ and plans to eradicate its use. Definitely worth reading. ]