ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has urged his cabinet colleagues to look at other places pill testing could take place, after the Spilt Milk music festival pulled out of an Australian-first trial.
The Safety Testing Advisory Service at Festivals and Events consortium was due run free testing of illicit drugs at the November 25 festival but the festival promoter backed out with six weeks to go because of a dispute over paperwork.
Pill testing advocates have set their sights on Groovin the Moo next May as the next possible trial site but Mr Rattenbury suggested moving the trial to a different location.
"The Dutch have moved beyond pill testing at festivals and they actually run a permanent operation out of health centres," Mr Rattenbury told Fairfax Media.
"They run them two nights a week from 5.30pm to 8.30pm and they've developed a culture where people get organised and come and get their pills tested when they expect to take them on a weekend.
"They've found that's a more reliable model, that people know to come and over a number of years they've created an expectation that sees people avoiding risks.
"I observed a session and I guess that for me really enforced my views of how effective this can be, I saw the staff challenging young people about taking drugs, about why they needed to take drugs to have a good time."
Mr Rattenbury said his experience ran contrary to how the Canberra Liberals had characterised pill testing.
The Liberals legal affairs spokesman Jeremy Hanson has previously said such a scheme would encourage dealers to "peddle drugs to our kids".
Mr Hanson even wrote to his federal counterparts raising concerns about the trial, which would have taken place on Commonwealth land.
"Contrary to what the Liberals are suggesting taking place, there wasn't any condoning of what was happening [at the Netherlands health centre]," Mr Rattenbury said.
Asked if trialling pill testing out of a chemist or health centre would make it more palatable to opponents, Mr Rattenbury said "it isn't going to make a difference".
"They're just opposed to it outright as they see it as some kind of condoning whether it's a regular fixture or not," Mr Rattenbury said.
"Obviously there's an advantage in having it in a more permanent location, it becomes a reliable and understood thing.
"It's not only at festivals that young people take party drugs, they'll do it on a Saturday night, they'll do it on a friend's birthday, they'll do it on various occasions so having that opportunity permanently obviously increases the opportunity for people to go for that harm minimisation strategy."
However Mr Hanson accused Mr Rattenbury of wanting "pill testing on every street corner".
"No doubt the [territory's] coat of arms will go on it," Mr Hanson told the Assembly.
"The last thing we want to do is give people false confidence about drugs cooked up in someone's bathtub."
Health minister Meegan Fitzharris said international evidence had shown a "purely punitive approach to drugs doesn't work".
She likened the Liberals approach to drug policy to that of the Philippines and said pill testing could reduce harm in places where drug use was prevalent.
Spilt Milk was to be the first Australian music festival where official pill testing would take place.
The ABC reported some Spilt Milk festivalgoers resorted to DIY pill testing kits after the trial was shelved.
Mr Rattenbury described the situation as "untenable".
"We can provide them with much better, safer options by allowing pharmaceutical grade machines to be used in these pill testing processes," Mr Rattenbury said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.