Personal drug use should be decriminalised and drug abusers should be rehabilitated rather than imprisoned, the Australian Sex party says.
Launching the party's revolutionary drug law policy in Sydney on Tuesday, party president and Victorian Senate candidate Fiona Patten said the Sex Party would push for the decriminalisation of personal drug use if it won a seat in federal parliament.
The policy calls for the decriminalisation, not legalisation, of possession and consumption of drugs for personal use, up to a quantity of up to 14 days' supply for one person.
It also seeks to legalise the use of cannabis for specific medical uses and the prescription of heroin to registered users.
Drug trafficking and dealing would remain a criminal offence, as would the supply of drugs to a minor, Ms Patten said.
A similar policy was introduced in Portugal about ten years ago, she added.
"And oh my God, the world didn't end for Portugal," Ms Patten said.
"In fact, drug use has declined in that country.
"People seeking health services for drug addiction and drug abuse has tripled and it's been a phenomenal success."
Bond University criminologist Paul Wilson welcomed the Sex Party's policy, but said it didn't go far enough.
"We have to shift the paradigm from using the criminal justice system, using the war on drugs, over to an education and health system," Professor Willson said.
"These proposals are not all that radical.
"The current war on drugs has utterly failed.
"We've tried it here for 50 years, let's move towards the Portuguese model."
Illegal drug abuse cost Australia about $3.8 billion a year, Prof Wilson said.
"I don't think (the policy) goes far enough, but I do think it's a radical shift in the way we look at illegal drugs in this country."
Ms Patten said she believed the party was connecting with voters.
"The Australian Sex Party is first and foremost a civil liberties party, but it's also about getting government intervention out of people's lives, allowing adults to make those decisions for themselves," she told AAP.
"So whether it's censorship, whether it's same-sex marriages, whether it's sexuality or whether it's drugs, we believe that this is about adults making decisions for themselves."
Ms Patten said she was hopeful of winning a place in the Senate.
"From the comments and feedback we're getting I think we are hitting a nerve out there," she said.
"I think the stars and planets will need to be aligned, but we're an unknown entity and who knows in the privacy of that polling booth how many people are going to vote for sex."
August 10, 2010