Page 918 - Week 03 - Thursday, 10 April 2014

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Criminal Code (Controlled Drugs) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2014

Ministerial statement

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.17), by leave: I make this statement today to advise members about important changes affecting serious drug offences in the Criminal Code 2002. Trafficking offences in chapter 6 of the Criminal Code are underpinned by the Criminal Code Regulation 2005. The regulation describes the controlled drugs and the amounts for controlled drug offences. In May 2007, the former Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy noted that jurisdictions may consider adopting model schedules for drugs, plants and precursors.

In August 2009, I agreed that a drug schedules working group would consider options to give effect to this recommendation. This working group was made up of representatives from ACT Health, ACT Policing, the DPP and Legal Aid. On 25 October 2010, I, together with the Minister for Health, made the Criminal Code Amendment Regulation 2010 as the first stage of work to give effect to the model drug schedules.

The 2010 regulation substituted new definitions of controlled drugs and controlled precursors to extend the definition to analogues of substances already covered by the definition, inserted three new controlled drugs at schedule 1.2, which deals with prohibited substances and substituted a new schedule 3 of controlled precursors. Controlled precursor is something that is not a controlled drug itself but can be used to make a controlled drug.

The second stage of work has involved a comprehensive review of the controlled drug schedule. I am pleased to advise members that I and the Minister for Health have now made the Criminal Code (Controlled Drugs) Legislation Amendment Regulation 2014. This amendment regulation amends the Criminal Code Regulation by inserting 44 new illicit substances into schedule 1 of the regulation, changing the trafficable quantities of the four most-common drugs and their associated substances, adopting a mixed-weight regime for determining an amount of a drug and adopting a broadly uniform multiplier to govern the relationship between trafficable, commercial and large commercial quantities of drugs.

The progress of stage 2 has coincided with national efforts to address new psychoactive substances or NPS. These substances include synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants and hallucinogens being marketed as alternatives to traditional illicit drugs under names such as kronic, bath salts and n-bomb. Many of these substances have been implicated in serious injuries and deaths, with n-bomb, in particular, believed to be responsible for the tragic death of a New South Wales teenager last year.

The ACT has already amended the Criminal Code Regulation to control a number of NPS by including three new substances as part of stage 1, in 2010. Other classes of NPS are controlled through the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Act 2008. The amendment regulation that I and the Minister for Health have made adds 44 new substances to the schedule of controlled drugs.

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