Monday, 21 January, 2019

Greens Release Marijuana Plan

Noto via Unsplash Noto via Unsplash
Bennie Garza | 17 April, 2018, 07:05

Neither the Coalition nor Labor have ever considered adopting such a proposal - while supporting medicinal cannabis - and the move is a significant escalation of the Greens drug policy, which previously focused on harm minimisation and getting treatments on Medicare.

The Green Party is also calling for people to have access to cannabis-based medicines, to be used under a supervised system, similar to what operates in Germany, and for individuals to be allowed grow up to two cannabis plants in their own home for personal use.

"Using cannabis remains illegal, but this has not stopped Australians from using it", Di Natale said.

A costing by the Parliamentary Budget Office for independent senator David Leyonhjelm found the budget would be boosted by $259 million over the 2015-16 forward estimates if Australia legalised cannabis, due to a reduction in law enforcement costs and an increase in GST takings.

The centrepiece of the Greens' new policy is the establishment of the Australian Cannabis Agency, which would regulate and tax the sale of cannabis, and become the sole wholesaler of cannabis to small retailers.

Prolonged use of cannabis can cause dependence, depression and psychological effects, especially if a person has a predisposition to schizophrenia.

"It drives people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a unsafe black market", Senator Di Natale said.

"Governments around the world are realising that prohibition of cannabis causes more harm than it prevents", Senator Di Natale said. "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".

Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, welcomed the announcement.

'Banning cannabis hasn't reduced its use or availability yet it has distracted police from following up more serious crimes, harmed a lot of young people and helped make some criminals rich, ' Dr Wodak said.

Cannabis is being used as a "medical treatment" in some circumstances, while others smoke it for recreational purposes the same way some people "like a glass of wine in the evening", meaning it is time the drug was decriminalised.

Cannabis is legal in Spain, Uruguay and nine states in the United States, including California.

Senator Di Natale pointed to a recent poll showing 55 percent of Australians believed cannabis should be regulated and taxed like alcohol or tobacco. The country's medical marijuana program has been growing very slowly, and the Labor party has accused the government of blocking cannabis imports and otherwise delaying the program's progress.

"We need to get real about cannabis".

He said the UBI would ensure that all Australians had access to an adequate level of income, social services, healthcare, education and housing.


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