Reason Party leader Fiona Patten will present her case for drug decriminalisation to Parliament today, with a proposed legislation that calls for people who are caught with a small amount of illicit drugs to be sent to mandatory drug rehabilitation and education centres instead of facing criminal charges or fines.
If the person complies with the mandatory referral, it would not be recorded on their criminal history.
Both state Premier Daniel Andrews and opposition leader Matthew Guy have not supported the bill.
Patten met with Premier Andrews yesterday to further discuss a trial for the new legislation. Leading candidates for the geographical area to trial the proposal are St Kilda or a regional town such as Bairnsdale.
In a statement on her website, Patten says she believes that the legislation is “about saving lives and reducing harm caused by drugs”.
“It is about treating drug use as a health issue with a health solution, not a criminal one,” she wrote.
“We should not only accept corroborated evidence but listen to experts.”
According to Patten, this proposal would provide $349.3 million to the Victorian economy.
Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas said that he has “no plans to decriminalise” drugs.
“It is clear that we do have in place diversion programs for the possession of small quantities of drugs. We’ve spent a lot of time going after those who manufacture and market in volume … illegal drugs,” he said.
The Prime Minister himself has not addressed the bill, however Liberal Party members have also opposed it.
Since Portugal decriminalised drugs in 2000, governments in Norway and Oregon have followed the Portuguese model.
Photo: Heap of medical pills in white, blue and other colors by Volodymyr Hryshchenko available HERE and used under a Creative Commons licence. The photo has not been modified.