Well we have had something of a win. Yesterday afternoon the ACT Assembly enacted legislation that will extend a modest degree of decriminalisation to drugs like Crystal Methamphetamines (Ice), Heroin and Cocaine cocaine. The legislation which was passed by the Labor Greens Government was vehmently opposed by the Liberal Opposition in classic drug war language evoking fear of the ACT being flooded with ice, drug tourism and organised crime. The importance of the legislation which is a cautious advance on long standing diversion practices and traffic like expiation notice systems enacted in many jurisdictions and supported by all political parties, lies in the embrace of the term decriminalisation that no other government in Australia has ever been prepared to touch. Its value lies principally in its symbolic value and the robust acknowledgement of the need for a health focused approach: we have a Government prepared to venture down a track away from labelling drug users a criminals.
In short, we are not there yet but yesterday the ACT legislature gave a firm nudge in the right direction. It’s a positive prelude to Monday’s remembrance ceremony to which everyone is invited or view streamed on Facebook. (See previous blog for details)