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Radical drug decriminalisation legislation to go before Victorian Parliament

Neil Mitchell
Article image for Radical drug decriminalisation legislation to go before Victorian Parliament

The Andrews government will not support radical drug decriminalisation legislation set to go before State Parliament next week.

Under the proposed laws, people caught using or in possession of small amounts of illicit drugs would avoid a criminal conviction.

Instead, they’d be diverted to treatment or health programs.

The Bill will be introduced by upper house crossbench MP Fiona Patten on Wednesday.

“Sending a person who has an acute drug problem … to prison, that actually doesn’t address the problems,” she told Neil Mitchell.

Ms Patten says evidence from other countries proves decriminalisation reduces the harms caused by drug use.

“We’ve looked at the evidence from jurisdictions like Portugal which did this well over 20 years ago and it’s had incredibly good results. The harms of drugs in their society have been reduced, and this also leaves the police the time to focus on what they want to focus on, which is serious crime,” she said.

“There’s probably not a great deal of change in the use but there’s a great deal of change in harm.

“We’ve got government saying we need more early intervention, we need more diversion, and this is what this Bill does.

Press PLAY below to hear Fiona Patten make the case for drug decriminalisation

But, speaking at a press conference this morning, Treasurer Tim Pallas said the state government will not support the Bill.

“Our view is, of course, those alternative pathways are already available,” he said.

Mr Pallas said the legislation would send “confusing” messages to the community.

Press PLAY below to hear why the state government won’t support the Bill

Neil Mitchell
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