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Pill Testing

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Published under News, Offences, Proposals

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March 24, 2016

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Emotions have run high about the issue of drugs in our community for a long time – with deeply held views often in conflict. The Howard Government held to a “zero-tolerance”, “tough-on-drugs” policy while other administrations in the states and territories instituted a “harm-minimisation” approach, including safe heroin-injecting rooms and the birth of drug courts, diverting offenders into rehabilitation rather than the harsher penalties provided under criminal law. The new battleground is the plethora of music festivals and what should be done about the multitude of drugs being found in searches […]


Lessons from Stereosonic 2015

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December 2, 2015

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Media reports indicate that 69 people were charged with drug related offences at the event. This, combined with tragic death of a 25 year old woman and admission to hospital of 9 others has put illicit drug use at large dance parties back on the front page. What drug am I buying and is it safe? The short answer is “you never know” and “no”. It is important to realise that very often people are being given drugs that are quite different to what they thought they had purchased, making a […]


Sniffer dogs barking up the wrong tree 64% of the time

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December 1, 2014

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The NSW Greens launched the ‘SniffOff’ campaign in November 2014 after concern that Police use of sniffer dogs was not only ineffective but also constituted harassment and breached personal rights. Data obtained from the campaign reports that the dogs give false positives 64% of the time and that only 2.44% of searches result in a conviction. There has been significant media coverage of the findings with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting that ‘tens of thousands of NSW residents are being subjected to public police searches after being falsely identified as carrying […]


Not Guilty Verdict in State’s First Major Drug Analogue Case

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September 2, 2014

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Two weeks ago a District Court Judge found two men not guilty of all charges in New South Wales’s first major drug analogue case. The defendants were represented by Armstrong Legal. The drug analogue provisions are an interesting area of law. They were developed in an attempt to keep one step ahead of clandestine chemists. The Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act NSW contains a schedule of numerous prohibited drugs. Any substance on that list is illegal to possess, manufacture or supply. However, relying on the list alone leaves a gaping loophole. […]


Magic Mushrooms and Deemed Supply

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April 13, 2014

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As a criminal lawyer a large portion of my practice is devoted to representing persons charged with possession of prohibited substances. For the most part the drugs in question are cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines. Increasingly, however, I am seeing young people charged with possession of”Psilocybin” or “Psilocin”, a chemical found in what are commonly referred to as “Magic Mushrooms”. The problem with Magic Mushrooms From a defence perspective the problem with magic mushrooms lies in the weighing. A hand full of “shrooms” intended for personal use can easily weigh 30 grams […]

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