Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. Picture: AAP.
Greens Leader Richard Di Natale has called for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use, warning that Australia’s approach to drugs has been an “unmitigated disaster”.
Senator Di Natale said that almost seven million Australians had tried or used cannabis socially, but warned that just having a small amount in possession could result in an individual receiving a criminal record.
He argued that regulating cannabis production and distribution would reduce the risks and help undermine criminal syndicates while also raising hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the government coffers.
Under the policy, the Greens would establish a new agency to issue licenses for the production and sale of cannabis as well as the monitoring and enforcement of licence conditions. It would purchase cannabis from producers and then sell “plain packaged product to retail stores to ensure quality and consistency”.
Advertising would be prohibited under the proposed shake-up and “strict penalties” would be imposed for the sale of “black market” cannabis.
The Greens have also advocated for the imposition of GST as well as federal excise on the sale of approved cannabis products.
“We need to get real about cannabis,” Senator Di Natale said. “The war on drugs has failed. Governments around the world are realising that prohibition of cannabis causes more harm than it prevents. It’s time Australia joined them and legalised cannabis for adult use”.
Announcing the Greens’ plan to legalise cannabis this evening, Senator Di Natale said it accounted for most illicit drug arrests across Australia but noted that consumption continued to increase. argued that prohibition had failed.
“Prohibition has failed,” he said. “As a drug and alcohol doctor, I’ve seen that the ‘tough on drugs’ approach causes enormous harm. It drives people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a dangerous black market”.
“The Greens see drug use as a health issue, not a criminal issue. Our plan to create a legal market for cannabis production and sale will reduce the risks, bust the business model of criminal dealers and syndicates and protect young people from unfair criminal prosecutions”.
A spokesman for Senator Di Natale told The Australian: “Just like nearly 7 million Australians, Richard has tried cannabis and, yes, he did inhale”.
Senator Di Natale called on the other political parties to join the Greens in committing to legalise adult cannabis use and won the backing of the President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, Alex Wodak.
Dr Wodak said that banning cannabis had not reduced its availability but had distracted police from pursuing more serious crimes and “helped make some criminals rich”.
“Regulating cannabis will give government more control and increase government revenue, which can be used to fund drug prevention and treatment,” he said.
The new agency being proposed by the Greens would be called the Australian Cannabis Agency and it would also be charged with monitoring a new regulatory regime.
In a policy statement issued tonight, the Greens have said that up to six plants could be grown for personal use, but the Australian Cannabis Agency will impose strict penalties for the sale of unlicensed or black market cannabis, the sale of cannabis to under age consumers and other breaches of license conditions.
The Australian Cannabis Agency would act as the single wholesaler for cannabis — purchasing cannabis from producers and selling on plain packaged product to retail stores to ensure quality and consistency.
All sales staff would be required to “undertake a responsible sale of cannabis (similar to RSA) course” and take mental health and first aid training.
Originally published here: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/prohibition-has-failed-greens-call-for-legalisation-of-recreational-cannabis/news-story/bd5dbcbccefa032c18ade62d7b083437