A former police commissioner has written to the promoters of Groovin The Moo, encouraging them to implement a pill-testing trial at the festival’s 2018 Canberra leg.
Last week, former Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Mick Palmer wrote to promoters of the festival, the ABC reports.
“I am delighted to see the progress being made towards improving the safety of attendees at the festivals and similar events through supporting drug pill testing in the ACT,” Mr. Palmer wrote.
“I sincerely hope that as promoters you allow a trial to proceed.”
Mr. Palmer’s letter comes after the University of Canberra threw its support behind the proposed trial. Its also follow a Victorian parliamentary committee releasing a 680-page report, which included support for emergency services (but not punters) being able to test pills at Victorian festivals.
Mr. Palmer says authorities are not condoning drug taking, but evidence from similar trials overseas showed that young people got rid of their drugs once they were told what was in them.
Once upon a time, Palmer was at the helm of ex-Prime Minister John Howard’s ‘tough on drugs’ policy, but has since changed his tune.
“The vast majority of people who use drugs are very decent young Australians who do it for recreational purposes. We’ve got to recognise that reality,” he says.
Now an advocate for Harm Reduction Australia (which supports the pill-testing trials), Mr. Palmer also thinks the current illicit drug policy “fails on almost every counts”.
In a statement to Music Feeds, Cattleyard Productions, the promoters behind Groovin The Moo, say, “Cattleyard Promotions is currently participating in consultation with all stakeholders.”
Groovin The Moo 2018 will take place between April and May.