Wouldn't legal regulation increase rates of drug use? Can we afford that?

There is no link between strict enforcement of prohibition and levels of use. In Portugal, for example, there has not been any dramatic rise in use since decriminalisation 20 years ago.

More importantly, deaths from drug use have decreased significantly.

Legal regulation will not only help to identify problematic use, thereby preventing harm, but it will also remove the compounding effect that criminalisation has on vulnerable people.

Instead of asking whether we can afford a new system, we should consider how we can justify the current loss of life and the costs of the current system.

The Queensland Productivity Commission's cost-benefit analysis found that decriminalising the use and possession of cannabis would save about $850 million, rising to $1.2 billion if the Government chose to fully legalise and regulate the supply of "lower-harm drugs such as cannabis and MDMA".

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