ALA calls on Government to take evidence-based approach to drug policy

6th Sep 2021

The Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021 proposed last week should be tabled and voted to committee so that an evidence-based approach can be used to inform drug policy in Tasmania, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).

“We welcome the support we have received for this Bill and strongly urge the Government to allow the issue to be debated and discussed further,” said Mr Fabiano Cangelosi, spokesperson, ALA. “There are many other organisations and individuals in Tasmania who are convinced that our drug laws need reform. This issue deserves detailed review and debate by our politicians.”

The ALA has drafted the Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021 to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 to decriminalise the non-commercial cultivation, possession, and use of small quantities of cannabis. The Health and Community Services Union and the Prisoners Legal Service have written a joint letter to politicians supporting the Bill (read here).

“Introducing and debating this legislation would show that the Government recognises that drug use is complex and is frequently linked to financial hardship, mental illness, poor educational opportunities, abuse and other social issues,” said Mr Cangelosi.

“The criminalisation of drug use just exacerbates these problems, which are often both causes and symptoms of substance abuse.

“Studies show that decriminalising or legalising drugs does not increase use but instead allows an increased focus on health and social support for users.

“Globally, there is increasing recognition of the need to keep non-violent drug users out of the criminal justice system and it is time that Tasmanian laws reflected this awareness.”

Read the Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021 here. Read the ALA’s drug law reform report ‘Doing More Harm than Good’ here.

Tags: Tasmania Health, medicine and law drugs