Infringement versus conviction: the social impact of a minor cannabis offence in South Australia and Western Australia
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Quantitative data is reported from a study of 68 South Australians who had received an infringement notice or 'cannabis expiation notice' (CEN) and 68 West Australians who received a criminal conviction for a minor cannabis offence not more than 10 years ago to compare impact of the infringement notice and the conviction on their lives. The majority of both groups saw themselves as largely law-abiding, had respect for the law in general and had positive views regarding cannabis. However, more of the convicted group, compared to the infringement notice group, reported negative employment consequences (32% vs. 2%), further problems with the law (32% vs. 0%), negative relationship consequences (20% vs. 5%)and accommodation consequences (16%vs. 0%)as a result of their apprehension. While neither conviction nor infringement deterred subsequent cannabis use for the vast majority, the negative social impacts of conviction were far greater than those resulting from an infringement notice. The findings have implications for the legislative options for regulation of cannabis possesssion and use. [Lenton S, Humeniuk R, Heale P,Christie P.Infringement versus conviction: the social impact of a minor cannabis offence in South Australia and Western Australia.
Originally published in Drug and Alcohol Review 2000 19 (3) pp. 257-264
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