ACT News

New ACT regulations to target synthetic drugs and traffickers

A crackdown on synthetic drugs will be part of an ACT government push to make Canberra's drug laws clearer and more effective.

Attorney-general Simon Corbell will announce the new regulations to the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, and says it ensures the right people are punished for drug crimes.

Changes to drug laws in the ACT means Canberrans will now be able to carry up to 10 grams of MDMA for personal use.
Changes to drug laws in the ACT means Canberrans will now be able to carry up to 10 grams of MDMA for personal use. Photo: Supplied

Under the new laws, the trafficable quantities of the four most common drugs will be altered to make drug dealers easier to identify and target.

If they are passed, Canberrans will be able to carry three times as much ecstasy and twice as much cocaine before being charged with drug trafficking.

''The amounts ensure that serious drug offences target people who buy and sell illicit drugs to make a profit rather than people who buy drugs for personal use,'' Mr Corbell said.

Additionally, new types of synthetic drugs, such as those responsible for the death of 17-year-old NSW man Henry Kwan, will be banned in the ACT under the new laws.

Synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants and hallucinogens such as Kronic, Bath Salts and N-Bomb will be added to the schedule of controlled drugs.

A total of 44 new substances will be made illegal under the new drug reform regulations.

A spokesperson for Mr Corbell said the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs was still developing ways to ban all synthetic drugs.

The new laws will also change the amount of illegal drugs which constitute a trafficable quantity when seized by police.

Serious penalties apply to a person charged with drug trafficking, compared to those found possessing drugs for personal use.

Previously if a Canberran was caught with an illicit substance it had to be sent to a lab for analysis, to determine how much of the ''pure'' drug they possessed.

Under the new regulations, charges will simply be based on the total weight of the drugs present at the time of arrest.

The changes will dramatically reduce lengthy laboratory testing.

''Pure weight assessments require detailed and lengthy laboratory testing of drugs which have resulted in court delays. The changes will do away with these delays,'' said a spokesperson for the minister.

The new regulations could also allow drug users to know exactly how much of an illicit substance to carry in their possession to avoid trafficking charges.

The changes will allow ACT residents to carry up to 10 grams of ecstasy for personal use, more than three times the previous amount, and up to 6 grams of cocaine - more than twice the previous amount - without being charged with trafficking.

Heroin and methamphetamine amounts will be reduced, however.

The government has been provided with expert advice from the Drug Policy Modelling Program at the University of New South Wales to help shape its new regulations.