AIVL’s Melanie Walker on Coming Drug Decriminalisation and Treatment Access


ACT Labor MLA Michael Pettersson has yet again set his sights on reforming the Canberra community. This time it’s in the form of just introduced legislation that would see the decriminalisation of the personal possession and use of illicit substances in the capital territory.

The bill lists the most widely used illegal drugs in the ACT with an accompanying weight signifying what’s deemed an amount for personal use. If a person was found in possession of such an amount – instead of arrest and charge – they’d be fined and referred to a health professional.

On Wednesday, the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT praised the proposal. It stated that the system is evidence-based and moves towards treating people who use drugs with the dignity and respect they deserve, when it comes to dealing with what’s ultimately a health issue.

Pettersson introducing drug law reform legislation into ACT parliament is somewhat auspicious, as his last such bill saw the legalisation of the personal possession and use of cannabis in the ACT in early 2020. And twelve months on, people are beginning to sing the praises of the new system.

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