The Greens party wants to make cannabis legal for Australians over 18 to use both medically and recreationally. The plan is posed as a bid to take money out of the hands of the criminal underground who sell the drug.
Senator Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens, argued that the proposal would not lead to any widespread sale and use of marijuana. He said that there would be strict regulation on the production and sale of any legal cannabis.
Mick Palmer, former commissioner for the Australian Federal Police, has thrown his support behind this policy.
As outlined by the plan, there would be a special agency created to work as the single official wholesaler of marijuana in Australia. This agency would also be responsible for creating and issuing licenses to prospective retailers and producers.
Senator Di Natale said in a TV interview that in his experience as a doctor for drugs and alcohol he has seen “how damaging the tough on drugs approach is”. He said that Australia needs to remove the drug and its profitability from the hands of organised crime and give it to health professionals instead.
He said that Australia needed a “much more tightly controlled” as well as a more “regulated” environment.
The Greens have prompted Australians to consider the success of Spain, Uruguay and the USA in legalising marijuana and seeing a drop in drug-related criminality. The Greens also argued that the tax revenue generated from legal marijuana would be significant.
According to the plan, there would be very harsh penalties for anyone who sold marijuana to someone under 18. Adults would be permitted to cultivate up to 6 plants in their own homes for personal usage.
Senator Di Natale went on to say that it was more harmful in the long run to continue prohibiting cannabis and told Australia it should “get real”. He said that “nearly 7 million” people in Australia choose to use marijuana.
He said that it was unfortunate that the choice to use marijuana could land someone with a criminal history and in turn affect their ability to get a job. He also said that instead of everyone using an illegal product that has no quality controls, it should be legalised to that only adults ever get a safe amount of a pure substance as prescribed by a health professional.
Not everyone agrees with the Greens plan, with the Australia Medical Association ruling out its support for the policy despite disclaiming that it agrees with harm minimisation.