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Aussie state to quadruple cannabis penalties, introduce prison sentences

Staff Writer |
The South Australian government has looked to introduce harsher penalties for possession and use of marijuana, in an attempt to end the "war on drugs."

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Under the proposed changes debated in state parliament Monday night, the maximum penalty for cannabis possession, currently $367, would be increased fourfold to $1,468.

A new maximum prison sentence of two years would also be introduced, the same as possession of ecstasy or heroin.

South Australia's Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, said cannabis should be treated like "other controlled drugs" as too many people were taking advantage of the state's "lenient" drug diversion program.

However, David Caldicott, a doctor at the Australia National University's Medical Cannabis Observatory, questioned whether the changes would solve the state's drug issues.

"We know for a fact introducing harsher penalties does not decrease use or harm," Caldicott told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday evening.

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