Drug Decriminalisation for the ACT: An Interview With Labor MLA Michael Pettersson



Led by the Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT, Fair Treatment has been calling on the jurisdictions of NSW and the ACT to decriminalise drug use and personal possession since late 2018. This health-based campaign has the backing of over 60 legal, medical and civil society organisations.

And now, ACT MLA Michael Pettersson is acting on the very same issue.

The Labor backbencher last week released the draft consultation of his Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021, which seeks to remove criminal sanctions for those in the capital territory found to be in possession of an amount of an illegal drug deemed personal.

The private member’s bill contains a table of illicit substances with a corresponding amount listed as personal.

MDMA carries a 0.5 gram quantity. A 2 gram limit pertains to cocaine, amphetamines and heroin. While 2 grams also relates to the psychoactive ingredient within magic mushrooms.

Much like the Simple Cannabis Offence Notice scheme that saw possession of that substance decriminalised in the ACT from 1992, the new scheme sees a person found with a personal amount of a listed drug issued with a fine – a civil sanction – rather than charged with a criminal offence.

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