The Minns government will dramatically overhaul NSW drug laws by introducing a broad pre-court diversion scheme for people caught in possession of small amounts of illicit substances, potentially allowing thousands of recreational users to avoid criminal sanctions.
The Sydney Morning Herald has confirmed NSW Labor is poised to announce the most significant shake-up of existing drug laws in the state’s recent history, expanding existing pre-court diversion schemes already in place for cannabis to include all illicit drugs.
The changes, to be introduced in parliament this week, would introduce a “two-strike” policy, which would mean people caught with small quantities of illicit drugs including ice, cocaine and MDMA, would be able to receive fines and access health programs rather than face criminal charges.
The changes are a major win for drug law reform advocates long frustrated by NSW’s glacial approach to changing the criminal approach, and represent a sharp shift from a government that has resisted calls for changes.
By Michael McGowan and Max Maddison, SMH, 9 Oct 2023.