Ice, MDMA, heroin and other drugs could be decriminalised in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) under drug reforms proposed by a state politician.
Labor Member of the Legislative Assembly Michael Pettersson has indicated his intention to introduce an amendment to a state law that would mean being caught with small amounts of certain drugs would no longer be a crime.
Instead of being arrested, those caught would be fined $100, would have their substance confiscated, and sent to a health program.
Drugs included under this proposal include up to .05 grams of MDMA, 2 grams of cocaine, 2 grams of heroine, 0.002grams of LSD and 2 grams of psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms.
Anyone caught with more than these amounts would charged as they are right now.
Pettersson, who proposed a bill to decriminalise cannabis in the ACT that was re-written and then passed, said he believes the state should start treating drug use as a public health problem.
“We know that the ‘just say no’ approach doesn’t work. It doesn’t deter people from using drugs, nor does it do anything to tackle the often serious and complex reasons behind why a person consumes drugs in the first place,” he wrote on Facebook.
Pettersson also released a draft of his proposed amendments on Facebook for feedback.
The amendment is set to go to a Legislative Assembly committee next year, with the intention of being put to a vote by the end of 2021.
Fellow Labor politician and Chief Minister of the ACT Andrew Barr said he supported the introduction of Pettersson’s bill.
“This is an important public policy debate,” he wrote on Facebook. “I’m pleased Michael has put this on the legislative agenda for 2021.”
And while the ACT Greens enthusiastically supported the move, Canberra’s Liberals have yet to take a position on the drug decriminalisation.
“When it comes to drug reform there are so, so many stakeholders that we need to consult,” Opposition leader Elizabeth Lee said.
But as Labor and the Greens hold a majority between them, the changes could go through if all their representatives support the changes.