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Wednesday, 8 June 1994
Page: 1504


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I inform the Senate that Mr President has received the following letter, dated 8 June, from Senator Coulter:

Dear Mr President,

Pursuant to standing order 75, I give notice that today I propose to move that in the opinion of the Senate the following is a matter of urgency:

The failure of the present treatment of cannabis users by imprisonment, the danger to both the users and to society of this way of dealing with this problem, and the lack of action in relation to the following resolution of the 1994 National Conference of the AMA:

"1.That, given the evidence of the physical, psychological and social harm arising from cannabis use, National Conference reaffirms the AMA's determination to support any measures, particularly educational programs, proven to reduce its use.

2.That, because of the health consequences of imprisonment, National Conference considers that prison sentences are inappropriate for offences related to the use or the possession for personal use of small amounts of cannabis; imprisonment should be replaced by compulsory rehabilitation programs.

3.That National Conference recommends that resources be allocated to the investigation of the toxinology of cannabis, with reference to the detection of quantities indicating impairment, particularly with regard to the driving of a motor vehicle.

4.That, to minimise the social harm arising from the possession of a criminal record, National Conference recommends that, in relation to use, or possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use, a criminal conviction should only be recorded for repeat offenders.".

Yours Sincerely,

John Coulter

Is the proposal supported?

  More than the number of senators required by the standing orders having risen in their places