Earlier this year, it was made clear that the state in Western Australia intended to bolster existing drug laws and make them much tougher than they have been previously. It’s clear why lawmakers want to do this, but what will the impact actually be on the ground? That’s what we’re going to assess and consider right now. The laws have had a short time to embed, but how the state’s long-term aims match up to the real-world impact isn’t yet clear.
The laws we live by can affect us all, either directly or indirectly. So, it’s important to know what’s going on in your region. Here are some of the ways in which the region is likely to be impacted by these tougher drug laws.
The New Tougher Drug Laws Explained
First of all, let’s clear up what the precise changes to the law are. It’s likely that the main reason for changing the laws was to send a message, and that’s something that can be read in many different ways. They want to send a message to those involved in the production and trafficking of illegal drugs. And they also want to send a message to citizens. They’re saying that they’re serious about tackling the problem, and that can send a reassuring message. In short, the changes mean that sentences will be harsher and the worst criminals will be targeted hardest.
So, what will those harsher sentences look like in practice? Because tougher laws have been introduced, it means trafficking sentences will go from having a maximum 25-year prison sentence to a life imprisonment sentence. Fines will also have the chance to grow as these are not decided at the discretion of the judiciary. The new sentences aren’t just going to be applied to every form of trafficking, though. For them to come into effect, there have to be at least 28 grams of methamphetamine.
A Focus on Methamphetamine
As we just mentioned, this crackdown has a very specific focus. It’s not just about tackling drug trafficking and sales in general. Instead, it’s about stemming the flow of methamphetamine. It’s a problem that is growing, and that’s why the state has decided to place this focus on the new laws. It will mean that the drug will have the kind of focus on it that wouldn’t be in place in other states and areas of Australia, making the laws unique to the West. It signals the level of concern lawmakers have regarding the drug.
More People Charged
As a result of these laws, it’s likely that more people will fall into the category of traffickers. They just need to have 28 grams found on them and it could be deemed trafficking. These people will then be charged, and could be punished to the full extent of the law. Which, as we already know, meaning dealing with potential lifelong prison sentences. People who otherwise would have had been charged with lesser crimes with more lenient sentences will know be put in a whole new league entirely.
The Aim is to Solve What’s Seen as a Drug Problem
The stated aim of these laws is to make it easier to solve the overarching drug problem that’s currently affecting parts of Western Australia. Experts in the area have spoke of an explosion in drug-related problems and crimes. The new laws are a response to this increasing problem. How successful they will be in the long-term is something that remains to be seen. It could stem the tide and cut off the supply, but steps will also need to be taken to help the people who are already suffering with addiction problems.
The main target of the new laws are the drug traffickers. They’re the people responsible for increasing the supply of methamphetamine in this part of the country. It just goes to show how seriously their crimes are being taken that they will now be able to be sentenced to life in prison. There are many other actors in the drug trade, but it’s the traffickers who will be hit hardest by these new laws. People involved in the manufacturing of drugs like methamphetamine will not be impacted.
Drug laws being strengthened could mean many things in terms of the outcomes. It’s impossible to predict whether the state’s aims will be met or missed. But what we do know is that more people will be charged, and the sentencing they receive will be harsher than in the past.