Minor illicit drug possession could be decriminalised in NSW policy change

People in NSW caught with small quantities of illicit drugs could soon be let off with a simple warning in a major change to policy.

7NEWS understands that if someone is caught with a quantity small enough to be classified as “personal use”, they may not be charged. The new policy is set to give people caught with small amounts of drugs three chances, it’s understood.

In the first instance, they’re caught, a warning will be handed out. If they’re caught a second and third time within a 12-month period, they will be fined. But if they’re caught a fourth time within a year of the first instance, they will face a criminal penalty. If the subsequent instances occur outside the 12-month period, the count resets.

“It’s a major win for common sense,” Greens Minister David Shoebridge said. “It’s a major win for young people who can go about their daily lives without being monstered by police.”

It’s understood the policy would apply to all illicit substances but exact quantities allowed are unclear. Gino Vumbaca from Harm Minimisation Australia said the move is welcomed. “We’re just seeing way too many people get harmed by the current laws,” Vumbaca said. Tony Woods, whose daughter Anna lost her life after taking just one ecstasy tablet said he felt “really angry” at the policy change. “I couldn’t believe it when I found out the state government’s going to do this,” he said. Although the policy was endorsed by Cabinet on Monday, 7NEWS understands support was not unanimous amongst Ministers, with some expressing concern the government will look like its going soft on crime.

A final decision is expected within weeks.

Article credit – 7News