Australia’s current approach to illicit drugs policy is not working. Despite determined efforts by successive governments, prohibition based policy has been largely in-effective in reducing harm or the supply of drugs. I believe that we need to find a new way. Not only to reduce harm, but to reduce the impact of illicit drugs across the whole community.
Drug law reform should distinguish between high-end production and trafficking (as a law enforcement matter) and use and personal possession (as a health issue). We should progress towards the decriminalisation of drug use, regulation, and where possible, taxation of lawful drug supply. I am not alone in taking this policy position – former Police Commissioners, State Premiers and many others support this approach to drug reform.
Reducing the role of the criminal illicit drug market and the allocation sufficient funds to health and treatment options are fundamental to achieving this reform.
This concept is not novel. We can be guided by other jurisdictions including New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, Colorado and Washington which already benefit from harm minimisation approaches.
It is for this reasons that I initiated the parliamentary inquiry into drug reform.
The Committee will inquire into, consider and report, no later than 9 March 2018 on:
1) The effectiveness of laws, procedures and regulations relating to illicit and synthetic drugs and the misuse of prescription medication in minimising drug-related health, social and economic harm; and
2) The practice of other Australian states and territories and overseas jurisdictions and their approach to drug law reform and how other positive reforms could be adopted into Victorian law.
Read more about the current inquiry into Drug Law Reform: http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/lrrcsc/inquiry/421
Read my recent press release: Australian law enforcement experts agree: decriminalise and regulate drugs
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