Queenslander residents just got a bit safer, as four more cannabis growers are arrested. The four individuals, two women and two men, have been charged with 19 drug-related offences, after Queensland Police crackdown on drug use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The arrests were made by the Upper Mt Gravatt Tactical Crime Squad, who carried out multiple search warrants on May 27th. Across the South Brisbane District, police were able to seize $35,000 in cash, large quantities of MDMA, heroin and prescription medications. They also raided a hydroponic setup, confiscating several live cannabis plants.
However, most dangerously, police seized three kilograms of dried cannabis in total. According to our weed prices, this dangerous stash would be worth between $54,000 and $75,000.
The Upper Mt Gravatt Tactical Crime Squad is extremely pleased to provide this outcome to the South Brisbane community.
However, while Queensland Police celebrate these arrests, the state has a growing problem. Between 2012 and 2018, Queensland’s annual rate of imprisonment per hundred thousand rose by nearly 50%.
As you can imagine, this is a big, dangerous problem. Full prisons aren’t just dangerous – they are also extremely costly. Queensland’s government is currently spending over $1 billion on their prisons every year. As the number of inmates they house increases, that number will also increase. Specifically, to 3.9 billion, which is how expensive housing just 4,000 more prisoners will be.
It’s 2020, and Queensland prisons are literally overflowing, as they are housing 130% of the inmates they are designed for. Even worse, over 30% of inmates are there for minor offences – including cannabis possession.
While most of these inmates are in prison for less than twelve months, they’re being kept in high-security cells, costing over $600,000 per person, per year. Queenslanders who enter prison under drug charges aren’t even being rehabilitated, as rehabilitation programs are only offered to inmates who are in prison longer than twelve months. Not only is this expensive, but it’s also pointless.
While Queensland is looking into giving different penalties to people who commit a crime without a direct victim (i.e. drug crimes), this process will take years to complete. In the meantime, it would be cheaper, easier, and quicker to de-criminalise and then legalise cannabis. In fact, legalising cannabis would earn Queensland the Queensland economy over $1.2 billion per year. Between the exploding cost of imprisoning cannabis-cultivators and the cannabis-loving python from earlier this month, Queensland Police must be asking themselves: is criminalizing cannabis really worth it?