Grange asks Ferguson to clear up smoking fines
Jerome Reynolds, Staff reporter
Opposition Member of Parliament Olivia Grange has raised concern that the penalties for breaching the smoking ban outweighs the fine for smoking ganja.
According to Grange, the regulations unfairly target users of a legal substance.
Grange says, "Mr Minister ... how can we arrest and introduce such draconian measures, for a substance that is legal, when there is an illegal substance where people only pay just maybe $100 or $500 for a fine, isn't that confusion?"
Grange says this is a serious gap which needs to be closed.
Despite a proposal to bring down the fine, the opposition MP says the anomaly in the law needs to be rectified.
Under the regulations persons could be fined up to $50,000 for a first offence and up to $500,000 for a second breach.
A company that breaches the regulations can be fined up to one million dollars.
Yesterday the health minister Dr Fenton Ferguson reiterated that fines for breaching the smoking ban are to be reduced but he did not state the proposed figure.
Ferguson said violators will no longer face a prison term.
He stressed that tobacco smoking is a serious public health issue and ban will help to create a smoke-free environment.
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