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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3579 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

(b) an offence against section 171 (1) of possessing not more than 25g of cannabis; or

(c) an offence against section 171 (2) of administering, or causing or permitting to be administered, to oneself cannabis.

That is, in other words, smoking a joint. Those are the three simple cannabis offences. My final subsection amends subsection (8) there and makes a substitution, because remember we now have two slightly different ranges of penalties. It will say instead:

(a) for an offence against section 162 (2) of cultivating, or participating in the cultivation of, not more than 5 cannabis plants-$100 for each cannabis plant cultivated; and

(b) for any other simple cannabis offence-$200.

There is, of course, those two other simple cannabis offences of possessing up to 25 grams or of administering cannabis to yourself.

That is the bill in a nutshell. It is a simple bill. I think it is a timely bill. The penalties are still not particularly high. Some people would say they should be a lot higher because it is a serious offence, but they are a little bit more realistic. I do think we are in a very crazy situation at present where the current penalties are lower than those incurred by someone who drives at 10 kilometres over the speed limit, and are lower than those incurred for a number of simple parking offences that one can commit around the territory.

If nothing else, as I said, I certainly hope that the bill brings to light the fact that we do need more education in our community to tell young people, especially, that it is against the law to smoke cannabis, and highlight the dangers of this particular drug, which a lot of people do not think is very dangerous but, in reality, is certainly very dangerous. It is a gateway drug and a drug that has some very serious effects on people who use it for any length of time.

I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Crimes Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Cornwell , pursuant to notice, as amended, by leave, presented the bill.

Title read by acting clerk.

MR CORNWELL (10.49): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This amendment to the Crimes Act 1900 is seeking to ban the sale of spray cans to children. The word "child", in the legal interpretation, is a person under the age of 18 years. I am introducing this bill in an effort to reduce graffiti vandalism in the ACT.

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