For some time now, Dunne’s been talking up the merits of Portugal’s drug laws, where every drug is decriminalised – albeit with a caveat: If you’re caught with less than 10 days of any drug – cannabis, heroin, methamphetamine, or anything in between – you won’t be prosecuted. Instead, you’ll be fined or sent to treatment.
Rather than creating a free-for-all, Portugal saw its people’s drug use slump: in the 1990s, one in every 100 people in Portugal was addicted to heroin; since then, overall drug use has dropped 75 per cent.
Dunne wants to see that replicated in New Zealand.
“I think the full Portuguese solution, personally, might be the way for us to go long term. That might be where we head,” he says.
This seems sensible to me. Several US states have legalised also and so far there seems to be no evidence of increased ill effects.