New laws allowing life sentences for methamphetamine traffickers came into operation on 18 September 2017 in Western Australia.

WA has been labelled the ‘ice’ capital of Australia. In both 2016 and early 2017, wastewater treatment facility tests found that WA was using approximately $2 billion worth of methamphetamine a year, and meth abuse has been described as out of control and responsible for increases in violence and crime in the State.

In fact sadly, it was reported in March 2017 that on a global scale, Australia ranks second behind Slovakia as the country with the highest use of methamphetamines among 18 countries with comparable wastewater treatment facility testing. Clearly, it is a national scourge.

Methamphetamine is the highest consumed illicit drug tested across all of Australia. The WA Parliament recognised the seriousness of the State’s drug scourge and passed the Misuse of Drugs Amendment (Methamphetamine Offences ) Act 2017 in August this year. This Act amends the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 to introduce some of the harshest criminal penalties in Australia to deal with methamphetamine traffickers.

The amendments, which came into operation on 18 September 2017, increase the maximum penalty for being caught with 28g or more of methamphetamine from 25 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.

Other changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act include:

  • Increasing the maximum penalty for ‘conspiring with another’ to commit a methamphetamine trafficking offence from $75,000.00 or 20 years imprisonment to life imprisonment.
  • Introducing a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for attempting to commit a methamphetamine traffic offence.
  • Introducing a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment for inciting another to commit a methamphetamine trafficking offence, or for becoming an accessory after the fact.

Should you or someone your know ever require any legal advice in relation to drug offences or any other criminal offences, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced lawyers at Lynn & Brown Lawyers.


About the authors:

This article has been co-authored by Claudia Giovannini and Jacqueline Brown at Lynn & Brown Lawyers.  Claudia is currently studying law at UWA and hopes to be admitted as a Perth lawyer in or about 2018.  Jacqui is a Perth lawyer and director, and has over 20 years’ experience in legal practice and practices in family law, mediation and estate planning.  Jacqui is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and a Notary Public.


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