Keeping penalties in line with community expectations

What we’ll do

A Marshall Liberal Government will legislate to raise the maximum penalties for cannabis possession from $500 to $2,000 which is in line with other maximum penalties for drug possession offences.

This change also aligns with community expectations and recommendations of the South Australian Coroner who regularly sees the deleterious effects of cannabis use in cases coming before the court.

A Marshall Liberal Government will also review all other penalties under the Controlled Substances Act to ensure they match current community expectations. The review will be undertaken in consultation with key community and legal stakeholders.

Why we’re doing it

Many penalties for possession, trafficking and manufacture of drugs have remained unchanged since 1984 when our drug laws were introduced.

Over this time however, the nature of drug crime has changed significantly.

Community expectations about punishing drug offenders have also changed since 1984, and our drug laws should reflect that shift.

Cannabis is the illicit drug most commonly used by secondary school students, yet it has a maximum penalty of just $500, a penalty which has not increased in 33 years.

Further, in actual practice, fines imposed for cannabis possession under 25 grams are only $150 – this is similar to the penalty for jaywalking.

That’s why we will legislate to ensure penalties for drug offences are appropriate and in line with community expectations.