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Home > Bulletin No. 26: Models for the decriminalisation of the personal use and possession of drugs.

Ritter, Alison and Hughes, Caitlin and Shanahan, Marian (2018) Bulletin No. 26: Models for the decriminalisation of the personal use and possession of drugs. Sydney: Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW.

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There have been, and continue to be, many calls to reform the drug laws in Australia. Some of the reform proposals concern the legalisation of currently illicit drugs, and the establishment of a regulated market. Other calls are for the removal of criminal penalties for personal use and possession of drugs (without creating a legal regulated market). In the latter, supply of illicit drugs remains a criminal offence, but illicit drug use itself or possession of quantities of illicit drugs for personal use is no longer a criminal offence. These latter reform options are referred to as “decriminalisation”.

There are a number of different models of decriminalisation, and indeed, when there are calls for ‘decriminalisation’ there might not be a shared understanding of what that means, and which model is under consideration.


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