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Should Australia Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use?

17 April 2018

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called to completely end the prohibition of marijuana use in Australia, describing it as an "unmitigated disaster".

A push by the Australian Greens to legalise cannabis looks set to fail, after being rejected by the Turnbull government.

Senator Di Natale said nearly seven million Australians had tried or used cannabis, with consumption and drug possession-related arrests both on the rise.

The creation of a coffee-shop culture in Ireland might be what is needed to incentivise cannabis-takers to use the drug in a regulated environment, he said, stating that his party has looked at other jurisdictions, such as the US States of Colorado and California, where such moves have been successful. "Nearly 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".

Greg Hunt accused the Greens of proposing an idea that "risks the health of Australians".

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"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 risky black market".

"We see recreational use of cannabis as a health issue not a criminal issue".

Senator Di Natale pointed to a recent poll showing 55 per cent of Australians believed cannabis should be regulated and taxed like alcohol or tobacco.

Numerous the party's proposed rules for recreational marijuana are similar to those that already apply to the sale of tobacco and alcohol products.

Anyone who buys cannabis would need to show ID to prove they're over 18, and all advertising of cannabis products would be banned. 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. The policy would impose strict penalties for anyone caught selling weed on the black market, and for anyone caught driving under the influence.

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He added that people are taking cannabis regardless of whether its legal or not and that the current system is "feeding gangland culture".

GST would apply to all cannabis sales.

'I'm excited by the approach of the Trudeau Government as there is a strong emphasis on keeping initial prices of legal cannabis down to collapse illicit markets, ' he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten said his party had no intentions of supporting the policy, but said more should be done to make it more accessible for medicinal use.

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Should Australia Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use?