Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 Clause 7 negatived. New clause 7: Mr MANZIE: move amendment 101.4. It was put to the government that clause 7 as it interrelates with clause 37 could 'operate unfairly against a person who is convicted of cultivating only 1 prohibited plant. As the bill stood, such a person would ordinarily be sent to prison for a first such offence. The government has decided to introduce a 3-tier system under which people who cultivate fewer than 5 plants will now face a max imum pena 1 ty of 2 years i mpri sonment. This is unlikely to lead to imprisonment for a first offence. People who cultivate between 5 and 19 plants will face a maximum penalty of 7 years and those who cultivate more than 20 plants face 25 years imprisonment. This is broadly, in line with the provlslonsin other jurisdictions. For example, in relation to cannabis, New South Wales has a small quantity cut-off point of 5 plants. The ACT legislation provides that a person who cultivates more than 5 plants is presumed to be cultivating only for the purpose of sale or supply un 1 ess he proves otherwi se. The new structure makes it unnecessary to retain the rather complicated either number of plants or weight formula. The maximum penalties are there and the courts have the abil ity to assess. It would have to be at least a third offence for the prison penalty to apply. As I pointed out earlier, the amounts of money that could be involved are quite substantial. New clause 7 agreed to. Clauses 8 to 11 agreed to. Mr MANZIE: Mr Chairman, I move amendment 101.5. Apart from syntax, new subclause (2) is exactly the same as the old one. The main object of subclause (2) is to encourage intravenous drug users to collect clean needles from outlets at which health information posters, booklets, swabs, tests and'adviceare available. In addition, the more emphasis there is on needle exchange rather than needle supply, the better. However, for a va ri ety of rea sons, some intravenous drug users may find it difficult to travel to' the nearest lawful point of supply. Obviously, we do not want all those people using 'dirty needles, because that is one sure way of spreading disease, and not only AIDS but all sorts of diseases. It is necessary, therefore, to enable one person to collect clean needles on behalf of another. However, if some limit is not placed on this activities, drug users and dealers could stockpile needles and effectively set up their own private outlets. This could certainly destroy the object of subclause (2). The new subclause (2A) has therefore been very carefully designed to allow one person to collect needles on behalf of another Whilst, at the same time, maintaining as far as possible the integrity of subclause (2). Mr EDE: Mr Chairman. I would first like clarification of a point in relation to 12(1). It states: 'A person who unlawfully possesses a thing (other than a hypodermic syringe or needle) for use in administration of a dangerous drug is guilty of an offence'. I would like clarification of that in relation to a bong. Honourable members would have seen bongs for sale in various touri st shops. It is quite common for people, even teenagers, to have one on the shelf somewhere. They may not even use it, but it provides 8852
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