Fiona Patten’s Reason Party drug policy will bring a colossal $349.3 million in revenue to the Victorian economy, and save hundreds of millions more in health and productivity savings.
Leader of the Reason Party, Fiona Patten MP, has been a strong advocate for drug law reform in Victoria from a health perspective, but costings by the Parliamentary Budget Office released today show her policies make financial sense too.
Fiona Patten’s Reason Party is planning to decriminalised personal drug use and legalise cannabis.
Costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office show that the legalisation and regulation of cannabis would result increase the state’s budget by $204.6 million over the forward estimates. Adopting the Portuguese model of decriminalising personal drug use would save $168 million from the state budget. Implementing both these policies together would generate $349.3 million of revenue for Victoria.
Ms Patten said “Legalisation of cannabis is a no brainer. Currently it is easier for our children to buy cannabis than cigarettes, and the revenue is going straight to criminals. Legalisation will not only change that, but it will also bring an extra $204.6 million in revenue and improve health outcomes. Let’s take this money out of the hands of criminals and use it to build a better Victoria.”
Community support for legalisation is widespread, with over 45% of Australians aged 18-39 believing that it should be legal.1
As part of the Inquiry into Drug Law Reform, Ms Patten travelled to Portugal to look at the impact of decriminalisation of drug use.
Ms Patten said “I am a big advocate of reform that treats problematic drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one. We keep trying to arrest our way out of the war on drugs and it is simply not working. We need to shift our focus to treatment, which will save lives and save money.”
Fiona Patten MP recently met with Sir Richard Branson at The Fair Treatment event. During the conference Branson said “The war on drugs has been an abject failure for 60 years- as a businessman I would have closed it down 59 years ago.”
Fiona Patten’s Record on Drug Law Reform:
– Ms Patten initiated, and was part of the committee, on the largest inquiry into drug law reform in Australian history.
– Ms Patten’s private members bill was instrumental in convincing the government to trial a Medically Supervised Injecting Centre in North Richmond. On the announcement of the trail Premier Daniel Andrews said “I want to thank Fiona Patten for her leadership and courage on this issue. It is fair to say we would not be here without the work that she has done”.
– In 2016 Ms Patten was the first Australian politician to move a bill to legalise cannabis in Victoria
There are three separate costings referred to in this media release. Firstly the costing of legalising cannabis, secondly the costing of decriminalisation and finally the costing of implementing both policies simultaneously.
- NDSHS 2016 Illicit Use of Drugs Report https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/2016-ndshs-detailed/contents/table-of-contents