A moratorium on drug offences is needed to keep all Tasmanians safe during the COVID-19 public health emergency says the Australian Lawyers Alliance.
But the government says illicit drugs are illegal for a reason and it does want to encourage their use.
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ALA Tasmania president Fabiano Cangelosi said police resources should not be used to deal with minor matters, such as drug offences, but should instead be directed towards facilitating public health outcomes.
"We are aware of many people in our community who are finding it very difficult to follow the COVID-19 public health orders because they simply don't have anywhere to live, or because they have a drug dependency and are fearful of prosecution or being forced into a medically-unsupported withdrawal while in quarantine," Mr Cangelosi said.
"The Tasmanian government could improve the effectiveness of our lockdown by announcing a general amnesty on prosecution for possession and use of controlled drugs for those who disclose to police or health workers they are drug users.
"There is urgent need to reduce the number of people coming into contact with the criminal legal system during this health crisis and taking this important step would help."
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Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management Mark Shelton said illicit drugs destroyed lives and lined the pockets of criminals.
"Tasmania Police aims to stop serious offenders who traffic drugs and police will continue to pursue this strategy," Mr Shelton said.
"Tasmania Police already takes a harm minimisation approach for possession of small amounts of personal-use drugs and these offenders are diverted to a health-based intervention as part of the Illicit Drug Diversion Initiative.
"There is no safe use of illicit drugs and the last thing we want to be doing at the moment is encouraging people to do things that are unsafe."