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Summary

Australian state and territory legislation contains offenses related to illicit drugs.  Cannabis and other illicit substances are illegal throughout the country.  In three jurisdictions, however, certain minor offenses, primarily involving possession of small amounts of cannabis or smoking implements, may be dealt with by way of an infringement notice, with a fine to be paid within a specified period in order for the person to avoid being charged with an offense.  In addition, in line with initiatives developed under the National Drug Strategy, all states and territories operate “diversion” programs aimed at diverting people apprehended for certain minor drug offenses from the criminal justice system and into education or treatment programs.  Diversion programs are operated by the police, who may caution and refer individuals to education or intervention sessions, as well as by the courts.  In some jurisdictions, specialized drug courts have the ability to refer offenders to treatment and rehabilitation services and to monitor their progress.

I.  Introduction

The Commonwealth of Australia is a federation of six states, two mainland self-governing territories, and several external territories.  Each state and self-governing territory has laws prohibiting the cultivation, manufacture, sale or supply, possession, and use of specified drugs.  Federal criminal laws also contain drug offenses, including offenses related to importing and exporting narcotics.[1]  

A National Drug Strategy, involving some nongovernment organizations as well as all Australian governments, has been in place since 1985.  The aims of the strategy are “improving health, social and economic outcomes for Australians by preventing the uptake of harmful drug use and reducing the harmful effects of licit and illicit drugs in our society.”[2]  Consultation on a new strategy covering the years 2016–2025 is currently being undertaken.  The draft strategy

describes a nationally agreed harm minimisation approach to reducing the harm arising from alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.  As well as outlining the national commitment to the harm minimisation approach, the strategy describes priority actions, groups and drug types and summarises effective demand, supply and harm reduction strategies.  The strategy also includes headline indicators to monitor success.[3] 

While there is no national decriminalization policy, and recreational cannabis cultivation, sale, possession, and use is illegal across the country, three jurisdictions (Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, and Northern Territory) have decriminalized minor cannabis offenses.  Other states have introduced drug diversion programs where offenders are cautioned and may be referred to an education or intervention program rather than being charged with minor drug offenses.  According to the Australian Institute of Criminology,

[i]n line with the National Illicit Drug Strategy, Australian states and territories have introduced initiatives to divert some drug users away from courts and the criminal justice system.  There are two main streams of diversion: directly to treatment or education programs or the issuing of an infringement or on the spot fine.  Infringement systems are legislatively based, while some treatment diversion systems rely on restricting the discretion of police to arrest, rather than legislation.[4]

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that

[p]olice and court drug diversion programs expanded markedly in Australia from 1999 when the Australian, state and territory governments established the Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative (IDDI).  Supported by Australian Government funding and a national framework, the IDDI enabled new and/or expanded drug diversion programs to be set in place in all states and territories and led to the ‘development of a more systematic approach to diversion.’[5]

Separate from the National Drug Strategy and related initiatives, the federal Parliament enacted legislation in February 2016 that provides for the legalization and regulation of medicinal cannabis products.[6]  It includes a national licensing system for the controlled cultivation of cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes.  In effect, the legislation will mean that “a patient with a valid prescription can possess and use a medicinal cannabis product manufactured from cannabis plants legally cultivated in Australia, where the supply is appropriately authorised under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and relevant state and territory legislation.”[7]  To date, Victoria,[8] New South Wales,[9] and Tasmania[10] have taken action to provide people in those states with the ability to access medicinal cannabis products that have been produced in accordance with the federal law.  The Queensland government has also introduced a bill on the subject.[11]

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II.  State-Level Decriminalization of Minor Drug Offenses

As noted above, three Australian jurisdictions have decriminalized certain minor drug offenses, particularly related to cannabis possession, while others have diversion programs that allow people to avoid conviction for such offenses if they attend specific programs. [12]  The relevant legislation and policies of each state and territory are outlined below.

A.  Australian Capital Territory

Under the Simple Cannabis Offence Notice (SCON) system of the Australian Capital Territory a person may “possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis, OR one or two cannabis plants (excluding all hydroponically or artificially cultivated cannabis plants) for personal use only.”[13]  A fine of AU$100 (about US$75) applies to such offenses, which are called “simple cannabis offences.”  It is possible to pay the fine online.[14]  If the fine is paid within sixty days, “no criminal record will be recorded.”[15]  As possession of any amount of cannabis remains illegal, police have the discretion to issue a SCON or charge an offender with a criminal offense.[16]

The SCON system was introduced in 1992.[17]  Originally, the amendments to the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 (ACT) allowed up to five cannabis plants to be dealt with by way of a SCON,[18] but this was reduced to “one or two” by amending legislation passed in 2004, which also excluded artificial or hydroponic cultivation from the simple offense.[19]  In 2013, the Act was amended to increase the allowable amount of cannabis that may be subject to a SCON from twenty-five grams to fifty grams.[20]

In 2014, the Canberra Times reported that around five hundred notices had been issued for simple cannabis offenses in the preceding five years.[21]  A spokeswoman for ACT Policing said that the notice system streamlined police procedures and reduced court time, and that “[a]dditional benefits beyond the avoidance of a court experience and possible criminal conviction for the offender are perceived to be a reduction in the contact between the average user and the criminal element involved in dealing drugs.”[22]  Furthermore, she said that the system reduced the time and resources police spend on minor offenses, allowing them to focus on the cannabis black market.  According to the news report, those issued with a notice can choose to attend a drug assessment and treatment program rather than paying the fine.[23]

The ACT also operates Diversion Service programs “aimed at diverting people arrested and/or charged with drug or alcohol related offences out of the judicial system into the health system.”[24]  This includes Police Early Diversion, where police officers refer persons apprehended for possession of small amounts of illicit drugs to the Alcohol and Drug Program Diversion Service for assessment and subsequent treatment referrals.[25]

B.  New South Wales

While New South Wales has not decriminalized cannabis possession, which is an offense under the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 (NSW),[26] police in the state have “official discretion to caution adults for minor cannabis offences, and to caution people under 18 for minor offences involving any prohibited drug.”[27]  The Cannabis Cautioning Scheme has been in place since 2000.[28]

Under the official police guidelines for the Cannabis Cautioning Scheme, if an adult is found in possession of less than fifteen grams of cannabis, or using cannabis, or in possession of smoking implements, police officers can use their discretion to issue an official caution, rather than charging the person with an offense.  Such cautions are issued on the spot and the person will be provided with information about the legal status of cannabis and the harms associated with cannabis.  The person’s name and address is also recorded in the police computer system.  If the person receives a second caution, he or she is “referred to a compulsory drug education session.”[29]

In order to qualify for a caution, the person must

  • admit the offence
  • have no criminal history for drug offences (including possession), sexual assault or other offences involving violence
  • have received no more than two cannabis cautions previously
  • establish their identity (normal checks on identity will be carried out)
  • satisfy the police that the cannabis is for personal use only
  • have no other charges that must be determined in court anyway. (For example, if the police find a few grams of cannabis in the pocket of a person charged with stealing, both the theft charge and the drug possession charge will go to court.)[30]

People under the age of eighteen may be issued a caution for minor offenses involving cannabis and other drugs, including cannabis cultivation.  The cautioning system “is part of a range of alternative systems under the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) to divert young people from courts and prisons.”[31]  Under this legislation, the following drug offenses can be dealt with by way of a police caution:

  • possession of 15 grams of cannabis or less
  • possession of smoking implements
  • cultivation of no more than five cannabis plants
  • possession of no more than one gram of heroin, cocaine or amphetamine
  • possession of no more than 0.0008 grams of LSD
  • possession of no more than 0.25 grams of ecstasy
  • use of a prohibited drug.[32]

To be eligible for a caution, the young person must admit the offense and there must be no other offenses that would require the person to go to court.  Police must accept that the drugs are for personal use rather than supply.  Different from the adult caution system, juvenile cautions are issued by a police officer or other official about a week after the offense, rather than on the spot.  There are no limits on the number of cautions that can be issued, although police always have the discretion to bring charges.[33]

The Drug Court of New South Wales was the first to be trialed and evaluated in Australia.  The Court has sentencing discretion to require an offender to participate in an ongoing rehabilitation program under court supervision.  If the offender agrees to the program, any penalty imposed by the Court is suspended and the person’s completion of the program is taken into account in determining the final sentence.[34]

C.  Northern Territory

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act (NT), police in the Northern Territory have discretion to issue infringement notices to adults found in possession of up to fifty grams of cannabis plant material, one gram of cannabis oil, ten grams of cannabis resin or cannabis seed, or two non-hydroponic plants.[35]  A person served with an infringement or “on the spot” notice is subject to a fine of AU$200 (about US$150) and has twenty-eight days to pay the fine in order to avoid a criminal charge.[36]  Infringement notices were introduced through legislation enacted in 1996.

Persons under the age of seventeen may not receive infringement notices and will instead be prosecuted in court.[37]

The Northern Territory also participates in the national Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative through two main programs: the NT Illicit Drug Pre Court Diversion Program (NTIDPCDP), which is overseen by the Department of Health and NT Police, and the Court Referral and Evaluation for Drug Intervention and Treatment Program (CREDIT NT), which is overseen by the Department of Justice and operated by the Magistrates Court.[38]  The NTIDPCDP commenced in 2002 and is “available to first time offenders for use and possession of any illicit substance.”[39]  CREDIT NT is “a bail program which provides support for defendants with substance abuse problems by providing access to drug treatment and rehabilitation, accommodation and other supports.”[40]

D.  Queensland

The Queensland police service operates a drug diversion program where people arrested or questioned for a minor drug offense have an “opportunity to receive professional help to quit using drugs, rather than going through the normal court process and getting a criminal record.”[41]  The diversion program was established by legislation enacted in 2000.[42]  The Queensland Police website states that

[m]ost drug offences in Queensland involve possession of small amounts of cannabis.  A court appearance without appropriate health interventions has not been successful in reducing cannabis use or drug related offences.  The PDDP [Police Drug Diversion Program] offers people apprehended for a minor drugs offence with an opportunity to receive professional help through early intervention and prevention, to address their drug use, before proceeding through the normal court process and incurring a criminal record.[43]  

The program is available for people caught with up to fifty grams of cannabis or in possession of a smoking implement.[44]  Only one offer of diversion is permitted.  The person must not have committed another indictable offense related to the drug offense and must not have been previously sentenced to a term of imprisonment under certain provisions of the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 (Qld)[45] or convicted of an offense involving violence.  The person must also admit having committing the minor drug offense.  A child who has been previously cautioned for a minor drug offense must be offered the diversion program.[46]

The person is given and asked to sign a form titled “Minor Drugs Offence Diversion (Agreement to Attend and Requirement to Comply),” requiring him or her to attend and complete a Drug Diversion Assessment Programme (DDAP) with an approved Queensland Health service provider.[47]  The DDAP session, which takes about two hours, includes an assessment of the person’s drug use, involving questions about how often he or she uses drugs and any problems that may influence that usage, and education on the “health effects of illicit drug use and the legal consequences of continued use.”[48]  The provider will then work with the person to develop a plan to help stop him or her using illicit drugs.  This might include the provision of information about, and referral to, a voluntary treatment program for drug dependence.  The person is encouraged to take a friend or family member to the session.[49]

“Court diversion” is also available for persons who appear before the Magistrate’s Court or Children’s Court on charges involving certain minor drug possession offenses.[50]  People under seventeen years of age will be given the chance to attend a drug education and information session in order to avoid conviction, while adults will be asked to sign a document in which he or she agrees to be of good behavior for a period of time and to attend a drug education and information session.[51]  Examples of minor offenses for which an adult may qualify for court diversion include fifty grams of cannabis, one gram of heroin, one gram of methadone, one gram of amphetamine, one gram of cocaine, and three tickets or tabs of LSD.  The full list of what is considered minor amounts for different drugs is provided by regulations.[52] 

E.  South Australia

Under South Australia’s Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA), minor offenses involving personal possession of small amounts of cannabis, cannabis resin, or smoking equipment may be dealt with by way of an on the spot fine.[53]  Such fines, or “expiation fees,” are applied to “simple cannabis offences” by way of an expiation notice given under the Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA).[54]  The limits under the Act are one hundred grams of marijuana, twenty grams of resin, one non-hydroponic plant, or cannabis smoking equipment,[55] and the fines range from between AU$150 (about US$112) and AU$300 (about US$224) depending on the offense,[56] with a person having sixty days to pay in order to avoid being charged with an offense.[57]

The infringement notice and fine system first came into effect in 1987,[58] making South Australia the first Australian jurisdiction to decriminalize possession of minor amounts of cannabis.

South Australia Police also operate the Police Drug Diversion Initiative, with Drug and Alcohol Services SA responsible for statewide coordination of the program and supporting health workers in administering the program.[59]  Under the Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA), a police officer must refer a person who is alleged to have committed a simple drug possession offense to a nominated assessment service.[60]  For adults, this applies to all illicit substances other than cannabis (to which an expiation notice applies) and for children aged ten to seventeen years it applies to all drugs.[61]

F.  Tasmania

According to a 2014 Tasmanian government report,

[t]he Tasmanian Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative (IDDI) program (Police Diversion) is a discretionary police diversion program aimed at eligible drug offenders who are at the early stages of contact with the criminal justice system.  The Tasmanian component of the Police diversion program provides for the diversion of offenders apprehended by Tasmania Police officers for the use of small quantities of illicit drugs (mainly cannabis) to drug treatment services.  The Tasmanian framework uses existing police discretion and ‘Commissioners Instructions’ to allow Tasmania Police officers to divert eligible offenders to education, assessment and treatment.  The level of diversion is proportional to the nature of the offence.[62]

The youth justice legislation and police policy also allow police to issue informal and formal cautions to young people in relation to drug possession and use.  If a formal caution is issued, “attendance at a health diversion can be mandated.”[63]

In addition, the Magistrates Court of Tasmania operates a Court Mandated Diversion program that allows magistrates to divert eligible offenders into drug treatment.  The program commenced as pilot in 2007.  Under the program, “[f]ollowing a plea or finding of guilt, eligible and suitable individuals can be diverted into drug treatment through sentencing to a Drug Treatment Order (DTO) where a Magistrate will continually review the individual’s progress on the order.  A DTO is an intensive community based sentence that has a custodial sentence attached.”[64]  To be eligible for a DTO a person must be over eighteen years of age, have entered guilty pleas or been found guilty of the relevant offenses, be facing a penalty of imprisonment, have a demonstrable history of illicit drug use that contributed to the offense(s), and be willing to participate in supervised treatment.[65]

G.  Victoria

Victoria has not decriminalized cannabis.  However, police in Victoria are able to issue a caution (Cannabis Caution) to individuals over the age of seventeen who are caught with a small quantity of cannabis (less than fifty grams), provided it is the person’s first or second offense and he or she admits to the possession.[66]  A police officer may refer a person to attend an education session to learn about the effects of cannabis and how to stop taking the drug.[67]  The Cannabis Caution program was initiated in 1997.[68]  A caution is available for possession and use offenses under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic).[69]

People caught with small amounts of other drugs, and who admit to having the drugs, may also be given Drug Diversion by the police.  This program, which was first piloted in 1998,[70] requires the offender to attend two appointments at a drug treatment agency in order to avoid a criminal record.  To be eligible for the Drug Diversion program a person must be over ten years of age, have been arrested for a small amount of illicit drugs other than cannabis, admit the offense, and not have any more than one previous cautioning notice (including a Cannabis Caution).[71]  People are not eligible for either a Cannabis Caution or for diversion if they are trafficking, are involved in other offenses at the time, have a prescription drug without a prescription, or do not admit the offense.[72] 

Drug offenses are tried in a separate court, the Drug Court, which has different sentencing options.  This includes the availability of suspended prison sentences for two years while a person undertakes a Drug Treatment Order.  Persons subject to such an order must undergo regular testing, attend drug and alcohol counseling, see a case manager and clinical adviser, and come before a Drug Court Magistrate on a regular basis.[73]  Other programs include the Children’s Court Clinic Drug Program, which “provides early intervention drug treatment for young people appearing in the criminal division of the court who have demonstrated substance misuse.”[74]

H.  Western Australia

Western Australia introduced civil penalties for certain minor cannabis offenses in 2003 (effective from 2004),[75] but this law was overturned in 2010 (effective from 2011).[76] 

Since 2011, Western Australia Police have operated a Cannabis Intervention Requirement (CIR) program under which offenders aged fourteen years or over who are caught with less than ten grams of cannabis and/or a smoking implement with traces of cannabis can be given a CIR.  The CIR can be resolved by the person attending a Cannabis Intervention Session within twenty-eight days.  These one-hour sessions are run by approved drug counselors and aim to increase awareness about the laws and health effects associated with cannabis use, as well as encouraging discussion and changes in behavior.  If the person does not attend a session, the alleged offense will be prosecuted.[77] 

An adult can receive only one CIR while a younger person aged fourteen to seventeen years can be given two CIRs.[78]  A young person who commits a third minor cannabis offense will, where appropriate, be referred to a Juvenile Justice Team, rather than being charged.[79]  The program does not apply to offenses involving possession or cultivation of cannabis plants, or possession of cannabis resin, cannabis oil, or other cannabis derivatives.[80]

The CIR program is legislated under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (WA)[81] and the Young Offenders Act 1994 (WA).[82] 

A further program, which is also part of the WA Diversion Program, is the Other Drug Intervention Requirement.  This initiative “provides assessment and treatment for adults and juveniles for simple possession of illicit drugs.  There is emphasis on positive action (not necessarily prosecution) including diversion from the judicial system and referral to treatment services.”[83]  A person issued an Other Drug Intervention Requirement notice must attend three intervention sessions within forty-two days; if necessary, ongoing support may be made available.  The program is primarily for adults who have no previous drug convictions, and a notice can only be issued once.[84] 

In addition, Western Australia has both an adult and children’s drug court,[85] and “[c]ourt diversion programs are available to most offenders appearing in court who have drug-related problems, depending on the seriousness of the offence.”[86]

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Prepared by Kelly Buchanan
Chief, Foreign, Comparative, and
International Law Division I
July 2016


[1] See Serious Drugs, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP),https://www.cdpp.gov.au/ crimes-we-prosecute/serious-drugs (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/9RRP-JXJH; Drug Manufacture, CDPP, https://www.cdpp.gov.au/crimes-we-prosecute/serious-drugs/drug-manufacture (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/B5YF-448S; Drug Possession, CDPP,https://www.cdpp.gov.au/ crimes-we-prosecute/serious-drugs/drug-possession (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/P7AF-27WV; Drug Trafficking, Selling and Cultivation, CDPP, https://www.cdpp.gov.au/crimes-we-prosecute/serious-drugs/drug-trafficking-selling-and-cultivation (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/TP3Z-9KYQ; Importing and Exporting Drugs or Precursors, CDPP, https://www.cdpp.gov.au/crimes-we-prosecute/ serious-drugs/importing-and-exporting-drugs-or-precursors (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/DL7R-BNMA.

[2] National Drug Strategy, Australian Government, National Drug Strategy,http://www.nationaldrug strategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/home (last updated Nov. 24, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/Z3EG-WGSR.

[3] Draft National Drug Strategy 2016–2025, Australian Government, National Drug Strategy,http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/Publishing.nsf/content/draftnds (last updated Sept. 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/WN8X-ZK2N.

[4] Australian Responses to Illicit Drugs, Australian Institute of Criminology, http://www.aic.gov.au/crime_ types/drugs_alcohol/illicit_drugs/diversion.html (last modified Apr. 30, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/SGJ7-9EDX.  

[5] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment and Diversion from the Australian Criminal Justice System 2012–13, at 4 (Bulletin 125, Oct. 2014), http://www.aihw. gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129549012, archived at https://perma.cc/A6HQ-CN8M.

[6] Narcotics Drugs Amendment Act 2016 (Cth), https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2016A00012, archived at https://perma.cc/AQ2Q-C8JZ.

[7] Press Release, Susan Ley, Historic Medicinal Cannabis Legislation Passes Parliament (Feb. 24, 2016), http://www.health.gov.au/internet/ministers/publishing.nsf/Content/health-mediarel-yr2016-ley013.htm, archived at https://perma.cc/PM6Z-YHE3.

[8] See Medicinal Cannabis, Health.Vic, https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/drugs-and-poisons/medicinal-cannabis (last visited June 23, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/Q4ZZ-UQGJ.

[9] See Terminal Illness Cannabis Scheme, New South Wales Government, http://www.nsw.gov.au/tics (last visited June 23, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/XME4-MSF5; Press Release, Pru Goward, NSW Welcomes Progress on National Scheme for Controlled Cultivation of Medicinal Cannabis (Feb. 10, 2016), http://www.health. nsw.gov.au/news/Documents/20160210_00.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/4W82-U4JC.

[10] Press Release, Will Hodgman & Michael Ferguson, Tasmania Takes Action on Medicinal Cannabis (Apr. 23, 2016), http://www.premier.tas.gov.au/releases/tasmania_takes_action_on_medical_cannabis, archived at https://perma.cc/FYA8-HETN.

[11] See Medicinal Cannabis in Queensland, Queensland Government, https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/ all/medicinal-cannabis/queensland/ (last updated May 6, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/C8SF-CCZK

[12] See generally Cannabis and the Law, National Cannabis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC), https://ncpic.org.au/professionals/publications/factsheets/cannabis-and-the-law/ (last updated Feb. 19, 2013), archived at https://perma.cc/9AZQ-ASWG; Jennifer Ogilvie & Katie Wills, Police Drug Diversion in Australia, Criminal Justice Bulletin (NCPIC, Mar. 2009), https://ncpic.org.au/media/1941/police-drug-diversion-in-australia.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/7KBS-A3V6.

[13] Cannabis Laws in the ACT, ACT Government, Access Canberra, https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/ app/answers/detail/a_id/1874/~/cannabis-laws-in-the-act (last updated Feb. 22, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/AD75-UDZDSee also Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 (ACT) ss 162, 171(1) & 171A, http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/alt_a1989-11co/current/pdf/alt_a1989-11co.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/UJQ5-FMCD

[14] Simple Cannabis Offence Notice, ACT Government, Access Canberra,https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/ scon/simple-cannabis-offence-notice-scon/ (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/EF6Y-8A9A.

[15] Cannabis Laws in the ACT, supra note 13.

[16] Simple Cannabis Offence Notices, ACT Government, Access Canberra,https://www.accesscanberra. act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/1939 (last updated June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/M6AU-LKQH; Drugs and the Law, ACT Policing,https://www.police.act.gov.au/safety-and-security/alcohol-and-drugs/drugs-and-law (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/Q5DJ-EF56.

[17] Drugs of Dependence (Amendment) Act 1992 (ACT) s 3, http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/1992-52/19920918-4655/pdf/1992-52.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/6C7P-AJ5Q.

[18] Id.

[19] Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Act 2004 (ACT) sch 1 pt 1.3, http://www.legislation.act.gov. au/a/2004-56/20050306-16279/pdf/2004-56.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/T8QZ-T2XF.

[20] Crimes Legislation Amendment Act 2013 (No 2) (ACT) pt 9, http://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2013-50/20131210-56740/pdf/2013-50.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/DN23-N2AG.

[21] Henry Belot, More Than 480 People Fined for Cannabis Possession Since 2009, Canberra Times(Aug. 31, 2014), http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/more-than-480-people-fined-for-cannabis-possession-in-act-since-2009-20140825-1082x4.html, archived at https://perma.cc/74HG-C92V.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Diversion Services, ACT Health, http://www.health.act.gov.au/our-services/alcohol-and-other-drugs/diversion-services (last updated June 22, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/3TDW-JVDS.

[25] Id.

[27] Steven Bolt, Diversion From the Criminal Justice System, Drugs and the Law – Hot Topics (State Library of New South Wales, Find Legal Answers, 2015),http://www.legalanswers.sl.nsw.gov.au/guides/hot_topics/ drugs/diversion.html, archived at https://perma.cc/77AY-U5LT.

[28] Cannabis Cautioning Scheme, NSW Police Force, http://www.police.nsw.gov.au/community_issues/drugs/ cannabis_cautioning_scheme (last updated June 20, 2014), archived at https://perma.cc/J54P-BGJ2See also Press Release, Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, Cannabis Cautioning Scheme Evaluation (Sept. 23, 2014), http://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_media_releases/2004/bocsar_mr_r54.aspx, archived at https://perma.cc/6TCZ-BFFP.

[29] Bolt, supra note 27.

[30] Id.

[32] Bolt, supra note 27.

[33] Id.

[34] Id.  See generally For Participants, Drug Court of NSW, http://www.drugcourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/ dc_participants.aspx (last updated Jan. 29, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/5M73-GBPL.

[36] Id. ss 20D, 20C(d) & 20E; 2 Department of Health (Northern Territory), The Bush Book, ch. 1, “Cannabis and the Law in the NT,” http://www.nt.gov.au/health/healthdev/health_promotion/bushbook/ volume2/chap1/cannabis.htm#CannabisandtheLaw (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/YR9A-R2D9.

[37] 2 The Bush Book, supra note 36, ch. 1.

[38] Other Substances: Illicit Drugs, NT Department of Health, http://www.health.nt.gov.au/Alcohol_and_Other_ Drugs/Other_Substances/index.aspx (last reviewed Aug. 2009), archived at https://perma.cc/9LP2-8VZJ.

[39] Northern Territory Parliament, Ice Select Committee, Northern Territory Response to Questions on Notice 6 (June 19, 2015), http://www.nt.gov.au/lant/parliamentary-business/committees/ice/Answers_to_Questions_ Taken_on_Notice_NT_Police_Service_Public_Hearing_19_June_2015.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/YN9Z-LRTS.

[40] Department of Justice, Media Guide: Northern Territory Courts – Supreme Court and Magistrates Court 8 (May 2011), http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/ntmc/media/documents/Media_Guide.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/8BM4-GZ9J.

[41] Drug Offences, Queensland Government,https://www.qld.gov.au/law/crime-and-police/types-of-crime/drug-offences/ (last updated July 29, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/PPC2-VF2USee generally Prevention and Treatment for Alcohol and Drugs, Queensland Health, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/public-health/topics/ atod/prevention/default.asp (last updated Sept. 29, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/X4PS-TG6D.

[42] Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) s 379 (“Additional case where arrest for a minor drugs offence may be discontinued”), https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/P/PolicePowResA00.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/XX8V-CGRP

[43] Police Drug Diversion Programme, Queensland Police, https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/drugs/pddp/ (last updated Aug. 25, 2014), archived at https://perma.cc/88DX-VHW7.

[44] Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000 (Qld) sch 6 (definition of “minor drugs offence”).

[46] Id. s 379.  See also Police Drug Diversion Program, Legal Aid Queensland, http://www.legalaid.qld. gov.au/Find-legal-information/Criminal-justice/Diversion-and-referral-options/Police-drug-diversion-program (last visited June 21, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/2MQF-HZX9.

[47] Queensland Police, Queensland Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative: What Do I Need to Know About the Police Drug Diversion Program? 1 (2013), https://www.police.qld.gov.au/programs/drugs/pddp/ Documents/pdp_offender.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/L6JY-PGHL.

[48] Id. at 2.

[49] Id.

[50] See Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld) ss 15B–21, https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/ CURRENT/P/PenaltASenA92.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/DU53-9UJP; Youth Justice Act 1992 (Qld) pt 7 div 3, https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/Y/YouthJustA92.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/SF4C-WQU2.

[52] Penalties and Sentences Regulation 2015 (Qld) regs 5 & 6 & sch 1, https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/ LEGISLTN/CURRENT/P/PenaltASenR15.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/L6TU-CFB8

[55] Id. ss 33K(2) & 33L(2); Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014 (SA) reg 15, https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/R/CONTROLLED%20SUBSTANCES%20%28CONTROLLED %20DRUGS%20PRECURSORS%20AND%20PLANTS%29%20REGULATIONS%202014/CURRENT/2014.236.UN.PDF, archived at https://perma.cc/KL34-LWED.

[56] Controlled Substances (Controlled Drugs, Precursors and Plants) Regulations 2014 (SA) sch 5.

[57] Expiation of Offences Act 1996 (SA) s 16(3)(b).

[58] Controlled Substances Amendment Act 1986 (SA) (see Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) at p. 82, regarding insertion of section 45A).

[60] Controlled Substances Act 1984 (SA) s 36.

[61] Police Drug Diversion Initiative (PDDI), Centacare, http://centacare.org.au/service/police-drug-diversion-initiative-pddi/ (last visited June 23, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/XQT9-2SDC.

[62] Tasmanian Government, Review of Drug Use and Service Responses in North West Tasmania 11 (Nov. 2014), http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/177534/Review_of_Drug_Use_in_NW_Tasmania.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/7V69-BB36.

[63] Guidelines for Managing Drug-Related Incidents in Tasmanian Schools 2015–2019 (Memorandum of Understanding Between Tasmanian Police and Tasmanian Schools and Colleges) 12 (2015), http://www.police.tas. gov.au.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Managing-Drug-Related-Incidents-in-Tasmania-Schools-Guideline-MoU-2015-2019-A14.100800.pdf, archived at https://perma.cc/2XAF-PKC9.

[65] Court Mandated Diversion: How to Enter the Program, Department of Justice, Community Corrections Service, http://www.justice.tas.gov.au/communitycorrections/court_mandated_diversion/enter_the_program (last modified May 5, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/E334-SKXE.

[66] Drug Possession, Victoria Legal Aid, https://www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/find-legal-answers/criminal-offences/drug-possession (last updated May 11, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/R9DF-N828.

[67] Victoria Police, Young People, Alcohol, Drugs and the Law 6 (2010), https://www.police.vic.gov.au/ retrievemedia.asp?Media_ID=56941, archived at https://perma.cc/5ZKQ-TY95.  See also Forensic Services, Health.Vic, https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/alcohol-and-drugs/aod-treatment-services/forensic-aod-services (last visited June 22, 2016), archived at https://perma.cc/3ANG-DPV2.

[68] Victorian Department of Human Services, Evaluation of the Drug Diversion Pilot Program 1 (Sept. 1999), https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/Api/downloadmedia/%7BC08C67F6-2B39-4C1B-931D-405C66C1C2CD%7D, archived at https://perma.cc/8WMB-A8BW.

[70] Evaluation of the Drug Diversion Pilot Program, supra note 68, at 1.

[71] Forensic Services, supra note 67.

[72] Young People, Alcohol, Drugs and the Law, supra note 67, at 6.

[73] Id. at 7.

[74] Forensic Services, supra note 67.

[77] Illicit Drugs and the Law, Western Australia Police, https://www.police.wa.gov.au/Your-Safety/Alcohol-and-drugs/Illicit-drugs-and-the-law (last updated Nov. 5, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/DMS7-AD4NSee also Drugs and Alcohol: The Law, Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office, http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/Drugsandalcohol/Thelaw.aspx (last updated July 15, 2014), archived at https://perma.cc/6R57-WGWL.

[78] Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office, Cannabis Laws in Western Australia 4 (2011), http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/DesktopModules/Bring2mind/DMX/Download.aspx?Command= Core_Download&EntryId=521&PortalId=0&TabId=211, archived at https://perma.cc/243V-2U5A.

[79] Id.

[80] Id. at 3.

[83] Id.

[84] Other Drug Intervention Requirement, Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office, http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/Informationandresources/WADiversionProgram/OtherDrugInterventionRequirement.aspx (last updated Sept. 30, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/94MX-X8KL.

[85] Drug Court, Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office, http://www.dao.health. wa.gov.au/Informationandresources/WADiversionProgram/DrugCourt.aspx (last updated Oct. 7, 2011), archived at https://perma.cc/9SMK-A3VU; Drug Court, Department of the Attorney General, Court and Tribunal Services, http://www.courts.dotag.wa.gov.au/D/drug_court.aspx?uid=5227-1163-1055-5774 (last updated Sept. 1, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/WF4Q-L7KH.

[86] WA Diversion Program, Government of Western Australia Drug and Alcohol Office, http://www.dao.health.wa.gov.au/Informationandresources/WADiversionProgram.aspx (last updated July 6, 2015), archived at https://perma.cc/MQ64-8FWF.