The possession of small amounts of illicit drugs such as heroin, Ice and MDMA will soon be decriminalised in the ACT.
It comes as the Territory Government moves ahead with proposed changes to help reduce the number of people that use drugs ending up in court.
ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith said Illicit drugs remain harmful and the ACT Government will continue to take a strong stance against drug dealers.
Thresholds for trafficking offences will not change and the Government and ACT Policing will continue to work to reduce supply and prosecute dealers and traffickers through the justice system.
“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.”
“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.”
Police will retain discretion to respond to the circumstances of specific situations, having a range of options available including fines, diversion or cautions as appropriate.
They will also still be able to prosecute people for other offences that occurred at the same time as the drug possession offence.
“This legislation is part of our broader suite of policies developed in partnership with experts, people with lived experience and our alcohol and other drug sector to support those most in need to get they help and services they need when they need them.”
To ensure Canberrans can access the help they need when they need it, the ACT Government invests more than $22 million each year in specialist alcohol, tobacco and other drug treatment and support services in the Territory.
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