https://citynews.com.au/2023/police-warning-ahead-of-drug-decriminalisation/CHIEF Police Officer Neil Gaughan is warning Canberrans, in preparation for drug decriminalisation, “the ACT is not a place where people can do drugs freely”.
On Saturday, changes to the Drugs of Dependence Amendment (Personal Possession) Bill come into effect.
Neil says over the past 12 months, ACT Policing has been working closely with ACT Health on the implementation of these changes.
“This Australian-first legislation reduces the penalty for the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs in the ACT,” he says.
“It is however important to remember that drug possession remains a criminal offence – the legislation has simply reduced the penalties that now apply. This is all that has changed.”
The personal possession limit is 1.5 grams for amphetamines, cocaine and ice, 1.5 grams MDMA or 5 doses, 1 gram for heroin, and LSD is .001 grams.
The Bill will also introduce a Simple Drug Offence Notice (SDON), where those caught with previously illicit drugs will be fined $100.
Neil says police will still seize illicit drugs if we see them, even in small quantities, and will continue to divert the majority of personal possession offences to Canberra Health Services.
“It is also important to note drug driving laws have not changed – it remains an offence to have any amount of an illicit substance in your system while driving,” he says.
“ACT Policing supports harm minimisation strategies, and agrees that drug dependency is an issue best addressed by the health system.
“Our focus remains on those who bring drugs into the territory and profit from their distribution among our community.
“We will continue to target drug trafficking and criminality driven by drug use, not drug possession offences.”