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Decriminalisation ruled out as government considers early drug intervention

That policy would mean anyone caught with substances for personal use would receive a warning for the first offence and then fines for two subsequent offences before a criminal conviction was recorded.

A spokesman for the Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the government was still considering its response to the ice inquiry, “however it does not plan to decriminalise possession of illicit drugs”.

A minister, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said cabinet had reached a position on its response to the report, which was focused on early intervention and diverting people from a life of crime.

“This is about keeping people out of court who should never be in court who also tie up the justice system. It’s to divert people from a life of crime and recidivism,” they said.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman ruled out decriminalisation.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman ruled out decriminalisation. Credit:

The four-volume report containing the findings of the inquiry was handed to the government in January, including 109 recommendations to government.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard indicated in February the government would consider 104 of the recommendations, ruling out additional injecting centres, ceasing to use drug detection dogs and introducing syringe programs in correctional centres.

The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Drug ‘Ice’ was delivered to the Berejiklian government by commissioner Professor Dan Howard on January 28, with the government expected to hand down its response to the report before the end of the year.

Greens MP David Shoebridge described the potential reforms as “modest” and far from full decriminalisation, but said they would reduce unnecessary policing of minor drug offences

“This is a victory for common sense, a win for young people who don’t want to be monstered just for being young and ultimately a win for police who can divert these resources to fighting serious crime,” Mr Shoebridge said.

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