Ex-WA premier wants radical drug reform

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Former West Australian Prime Minister Geoff Gallop has called for the decriminalisation of all drug use after becoming the first Australian member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The Rhodes scholar decriminalized the possession of cannabis for personal use in WA in 2004, but the laws were repealed by the Liberals in 2011.

He says he supports evidence-based policies that are humane for drug users and reduce harm to the wider community, such as needle exchange programs and injection centers, but suppliers should still be prosecuted.

“How is it possible to turn a drug user into a criminal in some way, what is a health problem for many of them?

“Where we are pragmatic and reasonable, we get good results,” Professor Gallop said on ABC radio on Tuesday.

In a statement, the former Labour leader said it was important for Australia to learn from the experiences of other countries.

“There are jurisdictions that have moved to decriminalise personal drug use, prioritise health and rights or even legally regulate some substances, and they have not experienced the subsequent expansion of drug use predicted by opponents,” he said.

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Mette Frederiksen is a The Washington Newsday correspondent. With her coverage of general science, NASA and the interface between technology and society, Frederiksen has been in the Science Desk's Technology Beat since joining Washington Newsday in 2018.

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