The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Council of Tasmania has brushed off the police minister's stance on illicit drugs.
On Friday, the council announced their support for the global illicit drug decriminalisation campaign Support. Don't Punish.
When asked if the Tasmanian government would consider decriminalising illicit substances, Police Minister Mark Shelton was blunt.
"Illicit drugs are illegal for a reason," Mr Shelton said.
"They destroy lives and line the pockets of criminals. Let me be clear - there is no safe use of illicit drugs.
"Just yesterday Tasmania Police seized approximately 1 million street 'deals' of methylamphetamine out of the hands of [the] vulnerable.
"This demonstrates our commitment to reducing harm caused by illicit substances in the community."
Council CEO Alison Lai said Mr Shelton's attitude was simplistic and did not address why they are advocating decriminalisation.
"That simplifies a very complex issue," Mrs Lai said.
"Yes the drugs are illegal because they are dangerous. Under a decriminalisation approach it still remains illegal to sell or manufacture or traffic those substances."
She stressed the ATDC is not advocating legalisation.
"We absolutely still need to have law enforcement for manufacturing and trafficking of these substances."
Mrs Lai said the ATDC is advocating a harm-reduction and health-focused approach to how Tasmanians found in possession of those substances are treated.
"We are clearly focusing on the individuals, the average person using an illicit substance," Mrs Lai said.
"If they happen to find themselves in a situation where police find them in possession of a small amount, if it is for personal use, the very first response a police officer should have is a health response."
Mr Shelton did say Tasmania Police has health responses for small amounts of personal-use drugs.
"Tasmania Police takes a harm minimisation approach for possession of small amounts of personal-use drugs and these offenders are diverted to a health-based intervention," Mr Shelton said.
However, Mrs Lai pointed out that is only in relation to the use of cannabis, the use of which has been legalised in jurisdictions such as the ACT, Canada and many American states.
"If someone is found with heroin, ecstasy or methamphetamine... in most cases the individual is facing a possession charge," she said.
Visit atdc.org.au/decriminalisation for information.