Cannabis Laws Need Toughening

A recent editorial in the Western Australian newspaper is calling for tougher laws on cannabis.

Cannabis use has known health risks.

Seven out of ten cannabis infringement notices are being ignored.

Drug education courses are being ignored.

The current laws give young people the impression that cannabis offences are not taken seriously according to the newspaper.

(Source: The Western Australian newspaper editorial, 5 September 2009)


The idea that an infringement notice for $100 will dissuade cannabis users from ceasing use is ineffective.

As the editorial says cannabis use has known health consequences to the user but also to the community.

In fact the known scientific evidence about the major health harms of cannabis are increasing continuously.

By maintaining cannabis users in a continuing drug use we compound the harm of drug use to users and prolong the costs to the Australian community.

Western Australia is only one of Australian states and territories that use infringement notices for cannabis offences so the need for change applies to many parts of Australia.

A more successful cannabis policy should help cannabis users to quit by placing identified users into court ordered and supervised detoxification and rehabilitation which most drug users want.