21 Oct 2010

PNG police officer wants tougher penalties for marijuana

10:25 am on 21 October 2010

A senior police officer in Papua New Guinea says tougher penalties are needed to combat the worsening marijuana problem.

Police in Eastern Highlands province are reportedly confiscating about 200-thousand US dollars worth of marijuana every month from travellers using the highway between Lae and Madang.

The Assistant Police Commissioner for the Crimes Division Raphael Huafolo has confirmed that an international drugs syndicate is operating between Papua New Guinea and Australia.

He says that's contributing to the increasing availability and demand for marijuana in PNG, which the police do not have the manpower or resources to contain.

The Assistant Commissioner says the current sentence for growing, selling, possessing or consuming marijuana is not tough enough

"The legislation is very very weak. The maximum penalty you can get is two years, so that is the problem."

Raphael Huafolo says marijuana may be a factor in some serious crimes in the country including rape and murder.