Prohibition has failed
Cannabis consumption in Australia goes up every year, with more than a third of Australians having used it at least once.
Equally, arrests associated with the consumption of cannabis continue to rise, with huge amounts of public resources being poured into policing and other ineffectual punitive measures.
Quite simply, the system is not working. People who choose to consume cannabis are forced to buy it from an unregulated market and consume a product of unknown strength and quality. They also risk a criminal record for possessing only a small amount of cannabis – particularly if they’re not white.
The Greens will end the disastrous ‘war on drugs’ by creating a tightly regulated legal market for cannabis. We’ve seen the success of this approach in places like Uruguay, Canada, Spain, and many states of the US, and it’s well past time we joined them in treating cannabis use as a health issue – not a criminal one.
The Australian Cannabis Agency
To regulate this newly created market, the Greens would establish the Australian Cannabis Agency to issue licences for cannabis production and sale. This agency would also act as the single wholesaler of legally accessible cannabis, carry out a program of monitoring and enforcement of premises of production and sale, and conduct ongoing review and monitoring of the regulatory scheme to ensure it is functioning optimally.
We would also establish retail stores to sell cannabis. These stores would require ID to enter, ban sales to anyone under the age of 18, sell only plain packaged cannabis (with visible health warnings), and require staff to undertake a responsible sale of cannabis course.
Our plan also allows the growth of up to six plants at home for personal use for people aged over 18.
Protecting cannabis users
We know that some people experience negative impacts to their mental health as a result of taking cannabis.
That’s exactly why we need to move drug policy in Australia towards a health-based approach, and to bring the production and sale of cannabis into a tightly regulated market. Harm reduction is absolutely central to our plan.
We need to ensure people have access to information about the quality and strength of the product they are buying, which would be facilitated by the Cannabis Agency.
We also need to make it easier for people who need support to access the services they need – including by making mental health care free under Medicare.
Bringing cannabis into the light
As long as cannabis is illegal, its production and supply remains entirely underground. The ‘war on drugs’ approach has done nothing to stop or even reduce cannabis use in Australia, so the huge law enforcement response to illegal cannabis supply is an expensive failure.
Legalising cannabis will redirect these wasted resources to the things that matter, like health education and harm reduction. It will also create a commercial market that will generate countless jobs in the production, cultivation and distribution of cannabis products.
We’re building something big, and this is only the beginning. Get involved with our campaign to legalise it today and help us change Australia’s drug laws for the better.