Reason Party leader Fiona Patten will introduce a bill to the Victorian parliament next week calling for illicit drugs to be decriminalised in the state.

Under the proposal, people believed to have used or possessed a drug of dependence would be issued with a mandatory notice by the Victorian police and referred for drug education or treatment. Compliance with a notice would lead to no finding of guilt nor a criminal record.

Patten: the war on drugs has failed

Patten said the move was about saving lives and reducing drug-related harm.

“Current drug law is killing innocent people and causing untold other harm, wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars, fuelling organised crime, and squandering scarce health and law-enforcement resources, and the members of the Victorian parliament know it,” she said.

“That’s not an assertion, it’s a fact proved by domestic and international experience.

“Failure to make this change would be wilfully ­ignorant to the point of negligent, because so many lives ­depend on it,” Patten said, adding the war on drugs was one of the most disastrous public policy failures in modern history.

Treasurer Tim Pallas has already signalled the government will not support the move.

In August 2021, a parliamentary inquiry chaired by Patten called on the government to investigate the impact of legalising recreational cannabis among other recommendations. It is due to respond this month.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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