A FORMER heroin addict who is the son of Australian Democrats founder the late Don Chipp, will launch a new political party aimed at ending Australia's "war on drugs".
Greg Chipp, 57, said his party, Drug Law Reform Australia, was not pro-drugs, but would push for a debate on harm minimisation and for the decriminalisation and regulation of cannabis.
Mr Chipp said politicians had failed to deal with the issue and it was time for a change to help addicts.
"We are in favour of regulating and taxing the use of marijuana, and then putting those dollars back into health services for those poor people who become addicted," he said.
"Addicts would be treated as having a health problem."
He said treating cannabis like alcohol would result in tight regulation, and sales at pharmacies could be considered.
He said harder drugs would be treated differently.
Mr Chipp, who lives in Caulfield, said Drug Law Reform Australia would remain a single-issue party, but more detailed policies would be released closer to the election.
The idea of changing laws with regard to some drugs shot to prominence last year when the eminent Australia21 group called for an end to the war on drugs because it had failed to reduce harm. It failed to get traction with either major party.
Mr Chipp's addiction to heroin led to him being convicted in 1996 of defrauding Medicare of more than $20,000.
He said he wanted to show people in the throes of addiction that they could recover and make a contribution to society.
"I believe the Australian public is much more receptive to reasoned argument than the major parties give them credit for," he said.
But the launch of Drug Law Reform Australia has angered some anti-drug campaigners.
Director of The No-Way Campaign, Darren Marton, said Australia had never had a war on drugs and harm minimisation was introduced to legalise drugs.
"Our greatest thinkers and leaders across the land can't even come up with any real solutions to combat under-age drinking, and the ever increasing challenge we face with alcohol," Mr Marton said.
"Introducing cannabis and other illicit drugs into the mix, and to be made readily available, will make alcohol look like a tea party."
March 2nd 2013
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