Push for pot

PIC: File

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has announced his party's plan to legalise cannabis.

The Greens leader yesterday announced the party's plan to legalise cannabis for adult use.

The Greens’ plan would redefine cannabis as a legal substance in a regulated market and will redirect resources into treatment.

People would be allowed to grow six plants in their own homes for personal use.   

Dr Di Natale said Australia's current approach to drugs was a disaster and it was 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,” he 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.

Prohibition has failed. Using cannabis remains illegal, but this has not stopped Australians from using it."

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.

Strict penalties would apply to anyone caught for the sale of unlicensed or black market cannabis, the sale of cannabis to under age consumers and other breaches of license conditions.

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,” he said. 

“Regulating cannabis will give government more control and increase government revenue, which can be used to fund drug prevention and treatment.”

Dr Di Natale said the push to legalise cannabis would change the conversation from criminal to health.

“Cannabis accounts for most illicit drug arrests across Australia and each year cannabis consumption and arrests are growing," he said. 

“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."

The Greens said 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.

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