You don’t need to be a genius to know that even though drugs are largely illegal people take them anyway, and take them in large quantities. We aren’t advocating for you to go out and take drugs, but if you do- know the law.
This post takes into account the law in Victoria, in other states the law will be different.
1- LET’S START WITH THE BASICS.
In Victoria a ‘drug’ means a drug of dependence under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (Vic) (DPCSA). All of your regular party drugs are considered to be ‘drugs of dependence’ even if you’re just using them recreationally.
2- IT’S ILLEGAL TO USE DRUGS IN VICTORIA.
It’s also illegal to have them (posses), grow them (cultivate), sell or exchange them, to distribute them (traffic); or to plan (conspire) to do any of these things; (s4(1) (DPCSA). All you need to do is go to a music festival anywhere to know that people will still do this anyway. Just know that if you do any of these things it is an offence punishable by law.
Isn’t illegal as such, nevertheless, the police can confiscate anything you’re using to chrome if you’re under 18 or if they think you are going to help someone under 18 to chrome. (Div 2 Part IV, DPCSA)
4- THE DECISION TO TAKE DRUGS IS YOURS.
If you choose to do so always look after yourself and your mates particularly in busy places. Check in with each other and make sure everyone is still doing ok. If they’re not call an ambulance or find a first aid officer if you’re at a festival. The Victorian Ambulance Service WON’T dob you in to the police. They’re there to help you. Use them if you need them, and be honest with them. Tell them what you’ve taken (if you know), how much and when. They’re good people.
5- SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT POSSESSING DRUGS “FOR PERSONAL USE” IS NOT ILLEGAL.
Not true, both possession and use of drugs is illegal. If you get found with a small stash you may just get a formal warning or a fine, specially if it’s your first time. This is all up to the discretion of the police officer that spoils your party, so play nice with them- even if you don’t want to, particularly if you don’t want to.
6- SERIOUSLY, PLAY NICE WITH THE POLICE.
Remain calm and be courteous. If the police stop you, you must give them your real name and address. They have the right to ask you these questions, there are big penalties for lying about who you are and where you live.
On the flip side you are entitled (and should) ask them their name, their rank and their regular police station; they should also show you some proof they are a police officer. Always be polite, you don’t want them to think you’re an upstart even if you’re just enforcing your rights. You’re not in the most powerful position here so just remain cool, calm, collected.
7- NORMALLY THE POLICE CAN’T SEARCH YOU WITHOUT A WARRANT, BUT….
Unless they have a reasonable suspicion that you have drugs, equipment to make or use drugs like pipes or bongs, on you, your car or property. They need to have reasonable suspicion, and they need to tell you that they have a reasonable suspicion if they do search you.
If they find anything on you they have the power to seize and destroy it so you’ll need to give it up. (s82, DPCSA)
The police in Victoria can designate special areas where they can stop and search anyone going through there for weapons without a warrant or even suspicion. Even though they are looking for weapons, like knives, they can obviously confiscate any drugs you might have.
8- WHAT THE POLICE CAN AND CAN’T DO
You can be arrested by anyone without a warrant. Yep, not just the police,but also a bouncer, a train cop, protective service cops, even another citizen can arrest you as long as they actually catch you committing an offence and they truly believe they need to arrest you to protect the public, themselves or to make sure you appear in court. (s 48,Crimes Act 1958 (Vic))
9- IF THE POLICE ASK YOU TO GO ANYWHERE…
Ask them first if you are under arrest. If you are under arrest the police usually have to tell you and why- even if it’s just in general terms. They don’t always have to tell you you’re under arrest, for example if you’re running away from them.
The police can’t arrest you just to question you and unless you are under arrest do not follow the police anywhere.
10- DRUNK AND DRUG DRIVING
If the police ask you to go to a police station for a drug test this doesn’t mean you are under arrest, and you don’t have to take the test if you don’t want to. The police can’t force you to take the test but refusing to take the test is against the law and you may be charged with an offence. If you are charged with refusing to take a drug/alcohol test you will have to explain to a magistrate in court why you refused. They don’t usually take these sorts of explanations lightly.