The Federal Government has rejected the Greens plan to legalise marijuana, with Health Minister Greg Hunt calling it a “gateway drug” which will inevitably lead users to use ice and heroin – a claim which will certainly be news to the gentle stoners of Australia.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called to completely end the prohibition of marijuana use in Australia, describing it as an “unmitigated disaster”. This would be well above and beyond the current legislation around cannabis products, which more or less constitutes extremely limited medical use in certain states like New South Wales and Victoria.
Basically, this Vine is what Di Natale wants:
Calling upon Di Natale to retract his policy statement, Hunt fell back on standard prohibitionist tropes.
“Marijuana is a gateway drug. The risk of graduating to ice or to heroin from extended marijuana use is real and documented,” Hunt told reporters. “We do not believe it is safe, responsible or something which should be allowed.”
He further commented that he didn’t care about the possible tax revenue, and didn’t want to put the mental health of Australians at risk. It’s definitely a point he needs to rebuke: in Colorado, considered one of the most successful models of marijuana legalisation, the state government pulled in nearly $250 million in tax in 2017 alone from legalised marijuana sales.
Health Minister @GregHuntMP on the Greens pushing to legalise cannabis: This has two major consequences: the first is the risk of physical and mental health problems, and the second is that marijuana is a gateway drug.
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) April 17, 2018
Under the Greens plan, marijuana would be legalised, with an agency established to regulate licensing and sales, and monitor the conditions of the industry. It would also make this agency the single wholesaler for the drug, selling on to licensed retailers. Individuals would be permitted six plants for their own personal use.
Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, welcomed the Greens policy in a statement:
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.
There you have it, though, folks. Greg Hunt: a little nerdlet who doesn’t want to make that sweet, sweet green legal for us all.Image: AAP