The University of Canberra has given the green light for an Australian-first pill testing trial at next month's Groovin the Moo music festival.
The decision brings the pilot one step closer to reality, after a proposal for last year's Spilt Milk festival was cancelled by the promoter just weeks before the event.
Rumours of federal sabotage swirled around the trial, which had been planned on Commonwealth land by the STA-SAFE consortium with the backing of ACT police and health authorities.
Groovin the Moo, an all-ages event, will come to Canberra in late April at the university, which controls the land under a lease.
On Thursday, a spokeswoman for the university said it was "open to supporting" the trial, providing "the main stakeholders and relevant authorities are all in agreement".
Gino Vumbaca, of the consortium, said all that remained for the trial to go ahead was the approval of the festival promoter, Cattleyard, and "official permission" from the ACT government.
"We're still in talks with the promoter about this, but we've learnt our lesson from last time, we've got all our paperwork in order, we've met every requirement, so we're confident."
A spokeswoman for ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris confirmed the government was considering a new proposal put to them by the consortium earlier this year to hold the trial at Groovin the Moo.
"The ACT Government supports a controlled trial of pill testing, conducted by an independent consortium, as was proposed for the Spilt Milk Festival last year," she said.
"[We are] committed to minimising the harms associated with recreational and illicit drug use and will continue to pursue harm reduction measures."
Emergency doctor and consortium member David Caldicott said the only substantial difference to the trial this time around would be the venue.
"I think that says a lot about the real reasons the Spilt Milk [proposal] was rejected last year," he said.
A spokeswoman for Cattleyard Promotions said the company was still "participating in consultation with all stakeholders".
Mr Vumbaca said the trial was widely supported by the community, "especially parents", and did not endorse drug use.
"We're living in the real world, we know some people going to festivals will experiment with drugs and we need to make sure they are safe.
"Only last week, there were [a number] of suspected overdoses at [a rave] in Fyshwick...No one wants that four am call from the emergency department."
Dr Caldicott said pill testing had been shown to save lives overseas and Canberrans should feel proud they could soon be on "the very cutting edge" of drugs policy in Australia.
The trial has been more than two years in the making, he said, after long consultation with the ACT government eventually saw the territory change its stance on drug testing.
"They really deserve kudos for being open to the science on this and allowing themselves to be persuaded by it," Dr Calidcott said.
"But I think the politics over the next month will be fascinating."
If approved, volunteer chemists and peer support workers will run a tent at the festival to test drugs for free, alongside the support of authorities.
"They'll be able to not just identify the drug but put it in context, they can say 'this will do this to you'," Dr Calidcott said.
Volunteers will also conduct a survey of drug users, allowing for data collection on a "largely invisible" consumer group, while an evaluation of the pilot will be conducted by an independent researcher.
In October, just days after the Spilt Milk trial won ACT government approval, Canberra Liberal Jeremy Hanson wrote to his federal counterparts urging them to intervene by "giving directions" to the National Capital Authority, which controls the land on which the festival was held.
While the NCA denied any political intervention at the time, ACT Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury accused Mr Hanson of sabotaging the trial by "calling up his mates on the hill".
Federal health minister Greg Hunt has previously said the Commonwealth did not support pill testing on principle, but the trial was a matter for the territory.