ALA proposes legislation to decriminalise cannabis use in Tasmania
2nd Sep 2021
International and interstate examples of success, growing public support and the clear failure of current laws to stop drug use means the time is right for drug law reform in Tasmania, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA).
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.
“We need to legalise and regulate drug use in Tasmania to save lives,” said Mr Fabiano Cangelosi, spokesperson, ALA. “The ‘war on drugs’ has been lost and people are dying because of the failures of our system.
“Introducing 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.
“The criminalisation of drug use just exacerbates these problems, which are often both causes and symptoms of substance abuse.
“We have argued for many years that the possession and use of illicit substances should be decriminalised and preferably legalised. However, there is now increasing evidence from a range of countries, and from the ACT, to show that this approach will work.
“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.
“The evidence is there and it should give confidence that, in Tasmania, we can safely reform our approach to drug use and possession. In fact, the quicker we move from the current emphasis on law enforcement to a focus on the broader health and social issues associated with the harmful use of drugs, the more lives that can be saved.”
Read the ALA's report into drug law reform 'Doing More Harm than Good' here.