An evaluation of the impact of changes to cannabis law in WA on cannabis use, the drug market, law enforcement, knowledge and attitudes, and cannabis-related harms

  • Research program: Harm reduction policy and strategies
  • Project status: Completed
  • Start date: March 2002
  • Expected end date: September 2005
  • Completion date: November 2010
  • Funded by: NDLERF
  • Lead organisation:

This project comprises a pre-post evaluation of changes to legislation and regulations for minor cannabis offences as a result of recommendations of the Western Australian Community Drug Summit held by the WA Government in August 2001. The WA Government endorsed the Summit's recommendations on 27 November 2001 and the Cannabis Infringement Notice (CIN) Scheme came into effect on March 22, 2004.

The evaluation is investigating: police implementation of the changes; drug market effects; impact on regular cannabis users, population prevalence, knowledge and attitudes regarding cannabis and the law; effect on school children; and effect on apprehended cannabis users.

Funding has been granted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Research Fund (NDLERF) to do the pre-phase (year 1) only. A separate application will be made to fund the post phase (year 3) at the completion of the first phase. It is expected that year 3 data collection will commence at least 18 months after the introduction of the proposed cannabis scheme in WA.

Expected outcome: As the first prospective pre-post evaluation of the implementation of a prohibition with civil penalties scheme for minor cannabis offences this comprehensive study will provide useful data to guide considerations as to the implementation of such schemes elsewhere.

Name & Contact Details Role Research Program Location
  • Co-investigator: Anna Ferrante, Curtin University
  • Project staff: Francoise Chanteloup, Curtin University
  • Project staff: Fiona Farringdon, Curtin University
  • Project staff: Adam Sutton,

Lenton, S. and Allsop, S. (2010). A tale of CIN – the Cannabis Infringement Notice scheme in Western Australia. Addiction, 105, (5), pp. 808-816. [RJ692] Abstract

Fetherston, J. and Lenton, S. (2007). Effects of the Western Australian Cannabis Infringement Notice Scheme on public attitudes, knowledge and use: a comparison of pre- and post change data. National Drug Research Institute, Perth. ISBN: 1 74067 564 9 [T177] Download PDF

Lenton, S. (2007). Reforming cannabis penalty regimes to reduce harm. Matters of Substance. [UJ150]

Chanteloup, F., Lenton, S., Barratt, M., J. and Fetherston, J. (2005). Effects of the Western Australian Cannabis Infringement Notice Scheme on regular cannabis users regarding attitudes, use, and drug market factors – Baseline, Year 1. National Drug Research Institute, Perth. ISBN: 1740674057 [T139] Download PDF

Farringdon, F. and Lenton, S. (2005). Effects of the Western Australian Cannabis Infringement Notice Scheme on the attitudes and drug use of school children – Baseline, Year 1. National Drug Research Institute, Perth. ISBN: 140674081 [T162] Download PDF

Fetherston, J. and Lenton, S. (2005). Effects of the Western Australian Cannabis Infringement Notice Scheme on public attitudes, knowledge and use – Baseline, Year 1. National Drug Research Institute, Perth. ISBN: 1740674065 [T138] Download PDF Abstract

Lenton, S., Chanteloup, F., Fetherston, J., Sutton, A., Hawks, D., V., Barratt, M., J. and Farringdon, F. (2005). An evaluation of the impact of changes to cannabis law in WA – Summary of the Year 1 findings. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra. [M55] Download PDF

Sutton, A. and Hawks, D., V. (2005). The Cannabis Infringement Notice Scheme in Western Australia: a review of policy, police and judicial perspectives. Drug and Alcohol Review, 24, (4), pp. 331-336. [RJ480] Abstract