Smaller amounts of drugs to be considered trafficable, more drugs to be illegal

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SIMON Corbell has announced he’s made regulations to make possession of smaller quantities of drugs a serious offence and to outlaw a raft of substances not previously illegal.

“The Government has taken expert advice on determining the drug weights are indicative of trafficking rather than personal use. The changes are vitally important so that law enforcement, and the serious penalties available (which extend up to life imprisonment), are directed to trafficking while making sure that personal drug use is not caught up in the net of the ACT’s serious drug offences,” Simon said.

“A second aspect of the reforms is moving to a mixed weight assessment of prohibited drug quantities. This will make it more practical for police and prosecutors to enforce drug laws, as it is easier to determine the mixed weight of drugs a person has in their possession, rather than having to determine pure weight. This reflects the reality of how drugs are sold and used.”

There will also be 44 new substances added to the schedule of controlled drugs including synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants and hallucinogens being marketed as alternatives to traditional illicit drugs, under names such as Kronic, Bath Salts and N-Bomb.

Drug Current ACT trafficable quantity

(pure grams)

Current ACT trafficable quantity (converted to mixed grams)(a)


Proposed ACT trafficable quantity (mixed grams)


Effect of changes to trafficable quantity?

2 g

8.1 g

5 g



2 g

20 g

6 g



2 g

3.3 g

6 g

MDMA (ecstasy)

0.5 g

3.3 g

10 g


300 g (mixed)

300 g (mixed)

300 g (mixed)

No change


UPDATE: Speaking for the Sex Party and the Eros Foundation the members of which sell grey market drugs Fiona Patten has opposed the move to mixed weight.

“Someone with a bag of icing sugar can now go to jail under these laws if the police say they think its cocaine. Not having to have chemicals positively tested and identified before charges are laid sets a very dangerous precedent.”

Further update: The Greens’ Shane Rattenbury is calling on the adoption of the New Zealand model instead.

“This model reverses the onus of proof so the manufacturer who wants to sell the substances must prove they are ‘low risk’ before they can be sold as well as regulating advertising of the products, and it setting up a system of health warnings for active products,” Shane said.

“The law and order response of systematically banning new substances could actually be making the problem worse, with manufacturers on the black market tweaking the chemical compounds of synthetic drugs, to create new variations of drugs to get around the bans.”

[Photo by Tanjila Ahmend, Attribution licence]

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