Culture

The Greens Have Overhauled Their Illicit And Recreational Drug Policy

Their new platform calls for a harm-reduction approach, and may well lead to the legalisation of recreational cannabis.

The Greens have abandoned their blanket opposition to the decriminalisation of illicit drugs, and may well back the legalisation of recreational cannabis, in a major piece of policy reform that they hope will generate conversation about Australia’s badly broken drug laws.

Under their new platform, voted for by party members at their annual conference in Perth on Saturday, the Greens will focus on harm reduction strategies, with party leader Richard Di Natale saying “it’s time to recognise this is a health problem not a law and order one.”

“We have to have an open, honest conversation about this and stop pretending we’re winning this war – we’re losing and losing fast,” Senator Di Natale told Fairfax. “We have to recognise that locking up people who use drugs is totally counter-productive. What it does is it creates an environment where people who want to seek help don’t do it because they have to admit to doing an illegal activity.”

According to the party’s new platform, “the legal framework for drugs and other substances used for non-medical purposes should be informed by evidence of the extent and nature of the harm likely to be caused. Education is a vital tool in reducing both harm from and demand for drugs, including legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco.”

The Greens will push for the introduction of an independent national body that would assess the potential harm of drugs on a case-by-case basis. “Of course this invites a conversation both within our party and within the country around cannabis,” said Di Natale.

The party will also call for pill testing, medically supervised injecting facilities across the country, and a needle exchange program in prisons. However Di Natalie stressed that they were not pushing for the legalisation of harder drugs such as ice or heroin.

Feature image via Wikimedia