Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Operation Noah people will not like this legislation. What it will mean, if it is taken seriously, is that they will be inundated by people giving the police information on their neighbours who havel marijuana plant growing in their window box. If we take this legislation serious.ly, we will have our jails overflowing with people who have been convicted of growing marijuana for their own use. They can be sent to jail for up to 2 years. That is the ridiculous nature of the position adopted by this legislation and that is the reason we oppose it. As the member for MacDonnell said verypreci se ly, the government is lying to our kids. It is trying to tell our kids that, despite the fact that over 30% of people in the community smoke marijuana and despite the fact that well over half the people throughout Australia do not really have a problem with the personal use of marijuana, it is a serious crime. It is telling them that, if they grow ,it themselves and smoke it themselves, they will go to jail for 2 years. A member: Do you think we should legalise it? Mr SMITH: community. That is telling our kids a lie about drugs in this ,To answer the interjection, I do not think we should legalise it because I do not think our community is at that stage. Certainly, we are at the stage where appropriate penalties should be put in place, not sending people to jail or fining them $5000 for having 1 marijuana plant on the windowsill. That is ridiculous and it makes the law a joke. We are opposing this legislation because it does 'not reflect the concerns of people in the community. The people want the government to get stuck into drug traffickers and we support that. A member: What about the users? If there were no users, there would be no traffickers. Mr SMITH: Let me take that up. The honourable member said that if there were no users, there would be no traffickers. Throughout the Australian community, the occurrence of people growing and using their own marijuana is widespread. They do not go to the local pub to buy it. If you are going to, make the penalties for growing and using your own marijuana so extreme, in the vi ew of many promi nent people - such as Senator Peter Baume to name one- you will force people into the hands of traffickers. You will obtain the reverse effect to'that you are trying to achieve. You will make it dangerous for them to grow it at home, because it is visible, and you will encourage them to use traffickers. ,That could be an unexpected consequence of this legislation. Thi s effort by the Northern Territory government is a conti nuat i on of its heavy-handed but window-dressing approach to this very important question. No one expects that, in reality, people will be busted for one marijuana plant on a windowsill. No one expects that and that makes the law a joke. This heavy-handed but window-dressing approach does not concentrate on the real issues and concerns. People in the community are very concerned about the use of hard drugs and trafficking in those drugs. It would have been better to concentrate on those issues and to indicate to our kids that there is a definite scale in terms of the way that the community assesses the impact of drugs and to pitch our penalties according to a scale rather than this across-the-board approach that we have at present. Laws attitudes. prohibiting particular behaviour should reflect community When those 1 aws do not refl ect commun.ity attitudes, when they' 8837