In yet more good news for the humble Australian weed enthusiast, with the NSW Greens promising to introduce a private members bill that will legalise weed in the state in the first 100 days of the next parliament.

At this stage, the bill would include provisions allowing people to grow up to six plants each for personal use, allow people over the age of 18 to purchase weed from stores, make it legal to smoke weed wherever you can smoke cigarettes, and establish the NSW Cannabis Agency.

The Greens estimate that, if successful, the bill would generate $200 million a year in revenue for the state government, through a combination of “licencing fees, GST and savings on criminal justice spending“. They intend for that money to be invested back into public infrastructure like schools and hospitals, specifically promising $75 million allocated to drug and alcohol treatment programs across the state, and $25 million to prevention and harm reduction programs in high schools across the state.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said that legalisation is past due:

It makes no sense to treat the consumption of cannabis as a crime.

“We are wasting millions each year and missing out on licencing revenues that the state desperately needs. It’s time we stopped taking such a backward approach to a drug that over one third of Australians have used.

“Each year thousands of people needlessly come into contact with police and the courts for using a drug that’s legal in many other places around the world.

“We regulate and licence alcohol at a state level and it’s about time we did the same for cannabis.

“No one is saying that cannabis is without any harmful effects, however making it illegal does not magically make it safer, in fact it does the opposite.

“By making cannabis legal consumers can be certain of the concentration and quality of the product they are using, can be assured it meets minimum health standards and can be given accurate information about its likely effects.

“It’s time for a common sense approach that would generate revenue that we can spend on harm minimisation and prevention as well as public infrastructure like schools, hospitals, parks and libraries.”

While the election is yet to happen, the bill passing would likely require the support of both Labor and the Greens. Historically, the Labor Party has not been particularly enthusiastic about supporting cannabis legalisation measures, but ACT Labor has provided in-principle support to a private members bill (put forward by ACT Labor MLA Michael Pettersson), and it is likely that the ACT will have legal weed before the year is out. (It’s worth noting that the ACT’s legislation will most likely not include a retail model.)

Image: Getty Images / Daniel Munoz