A South Australian bill that sends people to jail over marijuana possession is expected to be defeated.
The new bill, introduced by the South Australian Government, plans to introduce jail sentences up to two years for people caught in possession of cannabis.
After the SA attorney general, Vickie Chapman announced on Monday a new “war on drugs” in the state, the Labor and upper house crossbenchers signaled their opposition to the bill.
The bill eyes to make cannabis a controlled substance in the same bracket as heroin and ecstasy.
It also represents harsher punishments for members of outlaw motorcycle gangs. If members caught in the supply of a controlled drug, they could be fined $75,000 or land up to 15 years in jail.
Many in the state’s upper house have informed that there is a high possibility that the bill will be denied.
Kyam Maher, Labor’s shadow Attorney General, said while he supports the majority of the bill, he doesn’t believe that people should spend time in prison for marijuana possession.
“We have serious concerns with that part of the legislation. For the first time in South Australia under the bill a young person who makes one mistake could end up in jail.”
The leader of the Greens in South Australia, Mark Parnell, also stated that his party would not support the bill.
“Evidence shows that waging a war on drugs using criminal sanctions does little to curb harmful behavior and drives users into the arms of criminal gangs and away from seeking appropriate medical help.”
He added that the bill is short-sighted and counter-productive.
Frank Pangallo of South Australia’s Best party also agrees with Maher. He said an increase in fines is understandable but imprisonment is excessive.