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According to the ABC News on 8/3/2012, Russell Field has found not guilty of murder although he has shot dead two people. After that, the prosecution accused him in trafficking an illegal quantity of cannabis. Field was sentenced to a year in prison but will be released soon and spend two years of custody (ABC 2011). This punishment for Filed has raised an issue.
Aim of research
The aim of research is to investigate the sufficiency of current law for drug-related crimes.
Definition of research
Drug-related crime refers to four categories: psychopharmacological crime which committed under the influence of drugs, economic-compulsive crimes which including obtain money to support drug use, systemic crimes which supply or distribute drugs as part of business, and drug law offences which breach the drug laws and other legislation( Drugnet Europe n.d.)
Background of research
Australia illicit drug law was developed slowly. Firstly, the Australian enacted laws related to drug to anti-Chinese prejudice. Besides that, international treaties and the influence of Australia's allies such as the United States, and the growth of recreational and dependent use of illicit drugs in the 1960s and 1970s also encourage Australia to enact law about drugs. The 1925 Geneva Convention on Opium and Other Drugs imposed pressure to the Commonwealth to restrict to importation of drugs and importers need to obtain a license. The first state that starts to control the unauthorized cannabis was Victoria by enacting Poison Act 1927. This has followed by South Australia(1934), New South Wales(1935), Queensland(1937), Western Australia(1950) and Tasmania(1959)(Norberry J 1997).
Topic of research
Argument for the current law for drug-related crime is sufficient
The presence of the Australia's National Drug Strategy prevention in spread of drugs and harm reduction. Their domestic partner agencies are the Australian Custom Border and the local police are the primary line of defense for combating drug importation into Australia. An example of this collaborative approach was Operation Inca, a major investigation into the importation of MDMA. Operation Inca resulted in the world's largest seizure of MDMA with 4.4 tones or almost 15 million pills being detected by Customs in June 2007. Domestically, the Australian Customs Service, Victoria Police, Tasmanian Police, AUSTRAC and the Australian Crime Commission all played significant roles. From an AFP perspective, 32 officers formed the core group during the investigation and more than 400 AFP officers were part of the resolution phase.
Queensland did not account for the greatest proportion of national ATS arrests. In 2009-10, New South Wales recorded the greatest number of arrests, which accounted for 29 per cent of national ATS arrests globally there have been a substantial increase in the seizure of ATS and its precursors. In Queensland, arrests decreased by 20.7 per cent and, for the first time since 2001-02. The greatest decline has occurred for MDMA, which has decreased 96 per cent from a record high of 5 926 kilograms in 2007 to 218 kilograms in 2009. WCO attributes this decline to increasing production in regions that reduce the need to cross borders at risk of detection by Customs officials (WCO 2010).
Yes, it is sufficient enough in reducing drug crime and drug-related crime such as money laundering, extortion, corruption of public officers, measures for assessing drug market dynamics, as well as a measure of the crime most reliably associated with illicit drug use. For example, to see the changes of drug markets, the prices, amount has to be measured. The distinction in the framework between drug crime and drug-related crime is deliberate and made because the latter is often used loosely to describe both types of crime, when in fact their etiologies are quite different.
Yes, according to an interview on Wong Pui Yuee, a lawyer, drug laws are sufficient enough to curb drug because of the awareness in curbing drug trafficking is getting better by the moment. Even though there has been an increase in drug trafficking, the number is actually a minor increase compared to other countries and the provision of drug treatment and education services, the use of licit and illicit drugs and the social consequences are better because there are legislations for heavier sentences for drug traffickers, manufacturers and importers and the option of lighter sentences for drug users. Based on a report, drug trafficking has been decreasing significantly since 2005 and there is only a slight decrease sometimes due to organized crime.
Arguments for the current law for drug-related crime is not sufficient
No, because according the 2012 World Drug Report that was published, courtesy of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Australia and New Zealand are reported to have the highest number of illegal drug use in the world. Compared to the global usage rate of 2.6 to 5.0 per cent, between 9.1 and 14.6 per cent of the population in the two countries use cannabis causing drug trade increased from 98 Million AUD to 5.5 Billion AUD. There are also major media reports on people in Australia and New Zealand consumes more cocaine and marijuana at a higher rate than any other country in the world.
The penalty is too weak because the maximum jail penalty is at a 1-3 years cap. However, when there is a high amount of drugs involved or a drug that causes serious health damage or even a fatal one towards people, there would be a penalty of 5-10 years at least. If they were found to be in a crime organization or planned crime, it would be a maximum 10 years jail term. When precursors are involved, and the offence is committed within the framework of a criminal organization or intended to be used for production or manufacture of drugs: maximum of at least 5-10 years. The implementation of this Framework Decision was evaluated in 2009 by the European Commission in its Report COM(2009) 669. It concluded 'Implementation of the Framework Decision has not been completely satisfactory… There has thus been little progress in the alignment of national measures in the fight against drug trafficking'.
Current drug laws are ineffective, with drug production and consumption increasing all the time and street drugs becoming purer and cheaper than ever before. Criminalizing individual users only serves to make criminals of ordinary people and make a potentially harmful product far more dangerous. Prisons have become de facto treatment centers, but on this front, jails are a dismal failure. About 40 per cent of inmates will reoffend and return to prison within two years of being released. Prisoners' drug use is often exacerbated by incarceration.
No, because even if they banned real drug, there is an alarming increase of synthetic drugs manufactured in Australia which do not have to run the gauntlet of the Australian Customs Service. Evidence indicates the present laws have failed to curb the use of and the harm by illicit drugs. Responses to polls almost always depend on the question asked; whether the wording of the questions is understood and on the respondents selected for the poll. In this case, the poll found about 65 per cent of Australians opposes decriminalization of illicit drug use. The Australian Crime Commission says arrests for the use of cannabis and steroids increased last financial year while the weight of smuggled heroin detected increased by 240 per cent - the highest since 2001-02.
Based on the evidence, the current law for drug-related crimes is sufficient in Australia. It is not essential to access a new legislation for drug-related crimes. By using the current laws, Australia has successfully achieve social cohesion in preventing the future crimes and frugal the cost in execution.
The maximum punishment for drug traffickers is life imprisonment. However, the heaviest penalty that had given in Australia was only 35 years (e Notes n.d.). This has shown the judges do not use their power effectively to reduce the drug traffickers to smuggle drugs into Australia. The judges should always consider life imprisonment as a final penalty for the drug traffickers to serve as a lesson for the criminals.
It is essential to have a standard penalty throughout Australia because drug law is a concurrent power between federal and state governments. Without standardizing it, it will lead to lacuna as the punishments in drug trafficking vary within states.