Saturday, 7 August 2010

RED ALERT - Deadly Pot Growers to Go Free!

Go inside NOW. 

Lock the windows and the doors. 

Check your daughters whereabouts. 

Make sure you have weapons. 

Turn your lights off and hide. 

You have been warned!

Editorial: Delayed Justice Comes At A Cost To Community
August 2010

THE Rann Government has never had the time, nor the patience, for leaks and loopholes. Time and again, it has moved quickly to plug any gap that may cause embarrassment or detriment.

So it was that, in September 2009, the Government amended the Controlled Substances Act (1984).

By deleting the word "dried" from the definition of a controlled drug, the Government ensured possession of any form of cannabis be it fresh or dry would be a crime.

That commendable move has now been undone, sadly, by a persistent and seemingly unfixable thorn in the Government's side.

Because of the chronic logjam of cases in the District Court, around 20 drug trials pre-dating that amendment are yet to go before juries.

Those cases must be prosecuted under the terms of the old legislation and therein lies the Government's problem. That old legislation clearly states it is an offence to possess "dried cannabis materials".

That means stems, flowers and leaves ready to smoke are a controlled drug, while fresh cuttings are not.

Fresh cuttings may be subject to different charges such as manufacturing or harvesting a drug, but that is not what those 20 defendants are accused of.

It is too late and would, in any event, be unjust to shift the goal posts now.

That means those 20 prosecutions are all but guaranteed to fail.

The loophole has been strengthened by a recent Court of Criminal Appeal ruling, upholding the old legislation.

Alleged drug dealers and defence lawyers now have a bright, shiny peg on which to hang their hats.

When the Government altered the Controlled Substances Act, it did so with a minimum of fanfare.

One wonders if that was an attempt to avoid the sort of high-profile embarrassment that has now fallen from the court's decision.

The real victims in this situation are the hard-working members of SA Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Their efforts to detect, arrest and prosecute alleged drug dealers and cannabis farmers have been undone, and are now likely to come to naught.

Amending the legislation was the right thing to do but it was also too little, too late.

Often is it said that "justice delayed is justice denied". Seldom has that been as true as it is today.

It seems that some evil drug lords are about to be unleashed onto the community, guaranteeing carnage and havoc. According to the author of this article, the police and court prosecutors, the very fabric of society and our moral standards are risk. They are clearly devastated and may require medical assistance. And who knows what the evil drug barons will do. Are our children safe?

Pffft. The silliness of the situation is only matched by the silliness of the article.

On a serious note, cannabis is a worthless plant. It can grow almost anywhere with very little help. But once you you ban it, it becomes a valuable commodity. In an attempt to capitalise on it’s artificial value, growers focus on making their crop as strong as possible where it loses the cannabinoids that balance out the negative effects from the active ingredient, THC. This can make it harmful. Add to that, the incredible profits that can be made because of it’s illegality and you have a product that attracts organised crime including all the violence that goes with the illicit drug trade. A great lesson on how to convert a wild, worthless plant into a multi-billion dollar, black market industry.

At least the original report in The Advertiser titled, Court’s Cannabis Ruling Jeopardises 20 Cases stuck with the facts but it did produce some cracker comments from readers. Here are some of them:

Boo Hoo, whatever will S.A do now when such heinous criminals about to walk free!

More money and precious police resources wasted. When will the Government tell taxpayers how much the phony drug war costs?
-Lysistrata of Adelaide

Just legalise, tax and regulate it.
-JC of Adelaide

So can the drug producers who are covered by this loophole sue the State to retrieve their equipment??

Does the enormous personal, social, political and financial influence placed on this plant by current legislation seem ridiculous to anybody else? Just me? Ok.

They fear for 20 cases? Fear what? Fear the guy that will go home, smoke a joint and giggle to himself?
-Mary Jay

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