The New South Greens have introduced a bill into the upper house that would legalise the personal use of cannabis throughout the state.
Greens MP Cate Faehrmann introduced the Legalise Cannabis Bill on Wednesday, arguing that “prohibition is not working.”
It has not reduced cannabis use. It has not reduced harm. It has not reduced the amount of cannabis available on the black market. But it has made a lot of criminals very rich.
During her speech in Parliament (which is impressively researched), Faehrmann also argues that cannabis prohibition is a “phoney war” that wasted billions of dollars, fuelled police corruption and produced a “thriving” criminal market. Which is evident by Vietnam’s vast cannabis criminals networks across Australia.
According to a statement on the NSW Greens website, the bill would regulate cannabis like alcohol or tobacco. This would net the state an extra $200 million in revenue annually, from GST, licensing fees and savings on policing cannabis.
Under provisions laid out by the bill, households of two people or less could grow 6 cannabis plants and households of three people or more could grow 12 cannabis plants.
The possession and sale of cannabis would also be legalised for people over the age of 18. However, stores selling cannabis would not be allowed to advertise cannabis or operate within 200 metres of a childcare centre or school.
To use cannabis commercially, organizations would need to apply for a cultivation, distribution or social-club license (designed for community groups of less than 45 people).
All cannabis products would also be regulated and labelled with health warnings. Proceeds from cannabis sales would also be directed into social services.
Going forward, the state would also set quality standards for growing and producing cannabis commercially.
The Greens have also been encouraging NSW citizens to email state Premier Gladys Berejiklian and opposition leader Jodi McKay about the issue. According to a counter on their website, over 2,380 emails have been sent.
Although efforts have been made to legalise cannabis at a national level, these were most recently shot down in 2019, with Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt describing cannabis as “primarily the responsibilities of the states and territories.”
If the bill passes in NSW, the state will become the second jurisdiction in Australia to permit the personal use of cannabis – after the ACT decriminalized cannabis in January 2020.
The cannabis legalisation bill will be debated this year.