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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Legislative Options for Cannabis - Australian Government

Chapter 3.


Partial prohibition.

As described by the [79]Sackville Royal Commission (South Australia 1978), partial prohibition distinguishes between trafficking in cannabis and activities associated with personal use such as possession. Partial prohibition would remove all penalties, both civil and criminal, in respect of personal use and possession activities. These activities would no longer be criminal offences. The removal of offences and penalties for personal use and possession activities can be seen as inconsistent with the conventions. Such a conclusion might be reached on an interpretation of the Single Convention along the lines suggested by [80]Woltring (1990), and of the Vienna Convention.

It can also be argued that partial prohibition can be accommodated under the Conventions. The Sackville Royal Commission (1979, p311) took this view in regard to the Single Convention - on the basis that the Convention did not encompass personal use and possession activities. Partial prohibition could be reconciled with the Vienna Convention on the basis of two interpretations. For those who take the view that the Vienna Convention is a trafficking convention and that there is no requirement that personal use and possession activities be criminalised, there is no obstacle to partial prohibition. It could also be argued that partial prohibition could encompass an option where a criminal offence existed for personal use and possession activities, but no criminal or civil penalties were provided. The existence of a criminal offence would be a signal of society's disapproval of cannabis use. Treatment, education, rehabilitation or social reintegration could be provided instead of criminal or civil penalties, it being up to State Parties to determine whether these measures are provided administratively or by statute.


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