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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Recruiting experienced analytical chemists and healthcare and harm reduction volunteers

The Loop Safety Testing is recruiting experienced analytical chemists and healthcare and harm reduction volunteers in Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

Join a local team of volunteer organisers. They have been working hard over the past few months, getting ready to launch in Australia.

 

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Unharm and Uniting join forces for a talk with Portugal’s ‘Mr Decriminalisation’

It’s a Tuesday night and Sydney is completely sodden, and yet a steady stream of punters flows into and eventually fills St Stephen’s Uniting Church. After several years of collaboration behind the scenes, this is Uniting’s first time out in public with Unharm.

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Doubling down on drug dog debacle

At a major event in Sydney this weekend, police will prevent people from entry on the basis of an 'indication' by a drug detection dog. In the past NSW Police have said that an ‘indication’ can be basically anything.

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It's about us

Reporting on the National Ice Taskforce consultations in late December, 2015 the minister Fiona Nash wrote that ‘from Lismore to Geraldton, police said the same thing: “We can't arrest our way out of this… We need help from the whole community.’

Community is often invoked as the solution to drug-related problems, but what is it and who is included? It can be an amorphous concept until alienation brings it into focus.

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