Small steps toward decriminalisation may still be possible if NSW Premier can tamp down moral panic

The NSW government seemed to be making progress on the Ice Inquiry when a cabinet leak late last year revealed plans to depenalise personal possession. However, misreporting by the media ignited moral panic that quickly shut down the conversation. There is still opportunity for a small but positive step toward decriminalisation if we can keep an eye on this issue while it’s still live in cabinet. 

 

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Politicians use this technique to win arguments - here’s how to get around it

Prohibitionist politicians have been trying to hijack recent discussions about decriminalising drug use in NSW. Police Minister David Elliott is a good example, and there’s a risk that politicians like him could derail the better intentions of their more moderate and sensible colleagues.

 

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'There is no stereotype': I became an ice addict at the age of 63

I have been the chief executive of several companies and before that was a general manager of the NSW Legal Aid Commission. I am blessed with good health, a loving wife, successful children and staggeringly beautiful grandchildren. And for a short time, from the age of 63, I was an ice addict.

When acquaintances asked me if I wanted to try a pipe of "Tina", I didn’t know what they were talking about. I had never tried drugs, was a social drinker and non-smoker. They were high performing, successful people who were smoking methamphetamine to stay awake and work harder, longer hours. I was exhausted and stressed and before long, I joined them.

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Politicians must find their nerve on sensible drug reform in Australia – not give in to moral panic

Reports the NSW government was considering removing penalties for personal drug use were met with the usual backlash.

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No more arrests for personal drug use - what does decriminalisation look like?

Uniting NSW.ACT has released a landmark discussion paper setting out in detail their proposal for how the laws should be changed to decriminalise drug use. We spoke with Head of Advocacy at Uniting, Emma Maiden, to find out how this paper plans to bring about policy change.

 

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Once upon a time, MDMA was legal - so what changed?

MDMA is being used therapeutically in research trials around the world. And here in Australia, a major government body - the Queensland Productivity Commission - has recently called for the legalisation of MDMA for recreational use. 

 

Currently, there is no country in the world where MDMA is legal, but this wasn’t always the case. MDMA has a history that dates back to its creation in 1912, including a time when it was being sold legally in bars and clubs.

 

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Will Queensland's Labor government adopt recommendations for drug reform?

Last week, the state with the most drug arrests in the nation voted in Labor’s Anastacia Palaszczuk for a third term. This will be the government to determine drug policy in Queensland for the next three years. With the Queensland Productivity Commission (QPC) supporting comprehensive drug policy reform, what does the election result mean for the future of drug policy in the Sunshine State?

 

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Over 46 per cent of New Zealanders voted to legalise cannabis in landmark referendum

On October 17, New Zealanders took to the polls to vote on a landmark referendum for the legalisation of recreational cannabis. While the preliminary results showed 46.9 per cent voted for cannabis to be legalised, the bill won't be presented to parliament unless the remaining votes can swing a majority. An estimated 17 per cent of votes are yet to be counted, with final results being released on 6 November. 

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What does the ACT election result mean for drug policy?

Voters in the most progressive Australian jurisdiction on drug policy went to the polls on Saturday to re-elect the Labor-Greens coalition, with final seats being tallied in the coming days.  Recent years in the ACT have seen the first pill testing services and the legalisation of homegrown cannabis, among other reforms. Let’s take a look at what the recent election result means for drug policy in the territory.

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Campaigning for medicinal MDMA and magic mushrooms to be legal in Australia

Organisations in Australia are currently campaigning to make it easier for doctors to prescribe MDMA and psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms). Clinicians and researchers have long been exploring the benefits of these substances for helping those with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite their therapeutic properties, MDMA and psilocybin are banned in Australia, preventing much-needed treatment for people struggling with these illnesses.

In August, Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) opened submissions for the rescheduling of psilocybin and MDMA to provide better access to these psychoactive substances for clinical therapies. One organisation campaigning for the rescheduling is Mind Medicine, who lodged the nations first proposal to the TGA. With submissions recently reaching the cut off date - could psychoactive therapy soon be on the cards?

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