Greens Leader Dr Richard Di Natale will today announce the party’s plan to legalise cannabis for adult use. Dr Di Natale said our current approach to drugs in this country is an unmitigated disaster and that it is time for real reform.
“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,” Dr Di Natale said.
“We need to get real about cannabis. Almost seven million Australians have tried or used cannabis socially but right now just having a small amount of cannabis in your possession could get you a criminal record.
“Cannabis accounts for most illicit drug arrests across Australia and each year cannabis consumption and arrests are growing.
“Prohibition has failed. Using cannabis remains illegal, but this has not stopped Australians from using it.
“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.
“In a poll last year, 55% of Australians said they believe cannabis should be taxed and regulated like alcohol or tobacco.
“The Greens’ plan to legalise cannabis for adult use is a major step forward for drug law reform in Australia. This is an important and necessary reform supported by the majority of Australians.
“I call on political parties of all stripes to join the Greens in committing to just legalise it.”
President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation Dr Alex Wodak 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.
“Regulating cannabis will give government more control and increase government revenue, which can be used to fund drug prevention and treatment.”
The Greens’ plan will redefine cannabis as a legal substance in a regulated market and will redirect resources into treatment. The plan will establish an Australian Cannabis Agency to issue licenses for production and sale of cannabis, monitor and enforce license conditions and review and monitor the regulatory scheme to ensure it is functioning properly.
Under the reform up to six plants can 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 plan is expected to raise in the order of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the Federal Budget, part of which would fund treatment, education, and other harm reduction programs.
Find out more about the plan at http://drugs.org.au