The NSW Bar Association, Greens MP David Shoebridge, and other top lawyers are pushing a public health-driven plan that would see the use and possession of ice and other drugs decriminalised in the state.
It’s a move that has prompted lots of attention and found its way to the desk of conservative shock jock Alan Jones.
The Bar Association – a professional body of lawyers in the state – submitted its findings to the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into the drug Ice in May.
“It is the position of the Association that consideration should be given to decriminalisation of the personal acquisition, possession, and use of illicit drugs, with increased focus on treatment and hard reduction measures,” reads submission.
The Bar Association argues that while consumption of drugs remains harmful, current criminalisation of the drug may be resulting in greater harm to people and the society as a whole.
Production, trafficking, and supply would all still be criminalised under the Bar’s plans, with the association preferring an increase in funding for harm minimisation and treatment. A tribunal of lawyers and experts to make orders would also be introduced.
It’s a system similar to the famous approach taken by Portugal, which decriminalised drug use in 2001, and even conservative shock jock Alan Jones was on the radio this morning prodding at the potential reality of a NSW with decriminalised drug use.
Woaaah. Alan Jones this morning talking about decriminalisation of drug use: “I never thought I would say this but everything we have done to date has failed. Everything. So something different has to be done. Sensible people have to look at changing the system.“ https://t.co/P6BQWnyYl9— Michaela Whitbourn (@MWhitbourn) June 25, 2019
“It’s very interesting isn’t it because there are any number of surveys that suggest that the drug that causes the most damage is alcohol and it certainly is decriminalised,” he told listeners on Wednesday morning.
All I’m saying is everything we have tried to date has failed. What should we be doing? The current system isn’t working.”
“Someone’s gotta break this cycle, what we’re doing at the moment is not working.”
“If someone is producing the stuff on an industrial scale and then going out there to young people and saying ‘if you like it you use it and you can sell it’… and then they become in their own mind they know they’ve become criminals.”
“What we’ve got to do is to somehow cut this thing off at the source. So how do we deal with this whole issue of production and supply?
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge backed the Bar Association’s move.
“The Bar Association knows, as do I, that our courts and prisons are overwhelmed by the war on drugs,” he told PEDESTRIAN.TV in a statement.
“We know this war is lost, it doesn’t make us safer, it doesn’t fix addiction, and it empowers organised crime.”
“It’s nice to see these hard truths finally being told.”