Drug Law Reform – Research


There have been a number of inquiries, reviews and commissioned research in Western Australia (WA) concerned with the adequacy of existing policies and potential reforms to manage problems attributable to the use of alcohol and other drugs.

Details of reviews that have been undertaken in WA since the early 1970s are listed elsewhere in the website.

There are links to extracts of text from some reports from these investigations to make it more readily available and accessible. Statistical data that was used in conjunction with these sources has also been extracted and compiled as tables and graphs for similar reasons.

The information available on this page had in some instances been produced to underpin cannabis law reform, as well as with other drug law reforms, that were conducted in WA over the period since the 1990s in WA.

It should be noted these reports do not contain up-to-date information and should therefore be considered as primarily for historical value or research interest.

Unpublished research

These short unpublished papers are listed because of potential historical interest. It should be noted the information in these papers is not current and more recent research should be consulted.

Task Force on Drug (1995) Drug law enforcement statistics

This is an extract from Chapter 5 from the Interim report of the Task Force and includes State drug charges and seizures for the period 1985 to 1994 by drug type, Federal drug charges and seizures for 1992 to 1994, are group breakdown by gender and region for 1992/1993, drug charges dealt with by the Children’s court for 1985 to 1993 and a breakdown by ANCO drug offence codes for 1985 to 1993.

Click here to view or download a PDF (70k) version of this publication.

Select Committee on the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 (1997) Analysis of drug offences and offenders 1990 – 1996

This is an extract from Chapter 4 of the Interim report of the Select Committee, of the text of a detailed analysis, of commissioned research undertaken by the Crime Research Centre for the inquiry.

Click here to view or download a PDF (110k) version of this publication.

Swensen (2011) Cannabis arrests: Australia and other jurisdictions – 2004

It provides information about cannabis arrests and all drug arrests in each Australian jurisdiction and the United Kingdom for the year 2004/2005 and New Zealand and the United States for 2004. (Only cannabis arrests for the US data were readily available for 2004.)

Click here to view or download a PDF (238k) version of this publication.

Swensen (2009 Hydroponic cannabis and potency

This paper was prepared in September 2009. It discusses developments at that time in the WA, SA and the ACT infringement schemes in relation to hydroponically cultivated cannabis and amendments in 2006 in New South Wales (NSW) which created new offences and increased the penalties applicable to hydroponically cultivated cannabis.

Click here to view or download a PDF version [299k] of this paper.

Swensen (2008) A study of convictions for drug offences in WA, 2002 – 2006 

This paper was written in June 2008 and contains an analysis of summarised data to understand and identify trends in drug related convictions recorded in the lower courts in WA over the five year 2002 – 2006.

The paper provides both annual and quarterly breakdowns of counts of convictions for charges laid under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981 in relation to Section 5 offences (offences concerned with premises, implements & utensils), Section 6 offences (offences concerned with prohibited drugs) and Section 7 offences (offences concerned with prohibited plants). 

Within each of these three categories of offences, the paper also includes a breakdown of the number of charges by gender, age group, type of court, drug group and conviction outcome. 

Click here to view or download a PDF version of this paper [508k]