The ACT is set to decriminalise possession for a whole bunch of illicit drugs, including ecstasy, coke, heroin and ice. So if you’re found with drugs within the “personal possession” limit, you’ll face a fine instead of prison time. We love to see a shred of progressive policy making.

The government’s announcement is a response to Labor’s Michael Pettersson’s drugs reform bill. He introduced the bill in 2021 and it essentially argues that drug use is a health issue not a criminal issue.

According to Canberra Weekly, there’ll be an alternative to paying the fine called the Illicit Drug Diversion program.

In a media release, the ACT Government said it will still take a “strong stance” against drug dealers rather than users, and that illicit drugs are “harmful”.

Originally, Pettersson proposed decriminalisation would include up to two grams of cocaine, ice, heroin, speed, methadone, methylamphetamine and psilocybin. His OG proposal also included possession of up to 0.5 grams of ecstasy and 0.002 grams of LSD.

The ACT government won’t change the quantity of drugs under “personal possession”. It’s also removed methadone from the list of drugs as it’s regulated as a pharmaceutical.

Pettersson described drug use as a “public health problem” and highlighted the change as a step “towards harm minimisation”, per Canberra Weekly.

The territory’s Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith echoed the idea that drug use is a health issue.

We know from research and evidence around the world that criminalising drug users does not reduce drug use and that treating drug addiction as a health issue improves outcomes for everyone in the community,” she said.

“The ACT has led the nation with a progressive approach to reducing the harm caused by illicit drugs, through diversion, health treatment and reducing the stigma for those most vulnerable and at risk in community and this commitment continues our approach in line with community expectations.”

The ACT’s also the only state-slash-territory which has decriminalised weed. Look, I know we shit on Canberra a lot but I’m seriously considering a cheeky house move at this news.

It’d be fkn great to see this change implemented throughout the country. Let’s have widespread pill testing and medically supervised injecting rooms too, please.

Image: Getty Images / Katâ Pristupa / EyeEm