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Inside The Green’s Plan to Legalize Cannabis in Australia

Inside The Green’s Plan to Legalize Cannabis in Australia

Thousands of Australians support legalising cannabis, backing the Greens' plan that could generate an additional A$28billion in revenue over nine years.

Ellen Ransley for NCA Newswire and Jesse Hyland for Daily Mail Australia

11 August 2023 at 14:30:00

This report from the Daily Mail.

Greens Justice spokesman David Shoebridge handed down his Legalise Cannabis Report on Friday, 11 August 2023, after nearly 9000 survey responses, dozens of official submissions and many phone calls, social media conversations, and 'real life conversations' in response to a draft bill.

His next step is to present the Bill to the Senate, strengthened by the responses, which will present a model to legalise the drug with a single national market, allowing for home growth and prioritising co-ops and small business involvement.

The Bill would also move to install a 15 per cent tax rate, in addition to standard GST, which according to Parliamentary Budget Office costings based on the current rate of A$13 a gram would generate A$28billion in tax over nine years.

The respondents told the Greens that a reasonable tax rate that didn't force up prices would keep people away from the illicit market. Instead, the Greens say the tax rate attached to a legal market would halve the cost over the decade.

Senator Shoebridge said the wide consultation – in which almost all of the respondents supported legalising cannabis despite only about a quarter being current recreational consumers of the drug – painted a clear picture that Australia should move to legalise the drug.

Senator Shoebridge said the myriad of responses had strengthened the Bill, culminating in a model that would provide a plan for safe access and end over-policing.

'Using the collective wisdom of almost 10,000 respondents, we know the Greens will be tabling the most popular and effective possible bill to legalise cannabis for the whole country,' he said.

'We have made improvements around labelling, storage, manufacturing, advertising, penalties and more as a result of this consultation process.

'It's not enough to just decriminalise cannabis. The community is demanding a comprehensive plan for legislation … From what we've heard in this consultation, I believe this model – with the improvements people have asked for – provides the right plan to create a single, legal national cannabis market.'

Senator Shoebridge said there was an 'extraordinary level of excitement and engagement with this plan'.

'People are on standby to speak with their local MPs around the country to push for this to become law,' he said.

'With political courage and public support, we can make this law.'

The report said the responses had made 'clear' that smoking was unlikely to be the primary method of consumption, with edibles, oils and tinctures very popular in responses.

'The need to be able to make these at home for personal use was identified as a shortcoming with the (original) Bill,' the report said.

Two thirds of respondents said a cannabis cafe would be the ideal place to buy and consume the drug.

There was overwhelming support to remove big pharma, alcohol and tobacco producers from the cannabis market – but Senator Shoebridge said the role of people involved in medical marijuana would prove vital to a rollout of legalised recreational use.

More than half of respondents indicated that if it were to become legal for individuals to grow a limited number of plants at home for self consumption, they would do so.

It has also been legal for people to grow two plants per person and smoke it at home for personal use.

According to 2019 government data, 36 per cent of Australians aged 14 and over had used cannabis in their lifetime.

More than 40 per cent support the legalisation of the drug for personal use, a figure that has doubled since 2013.

Though the states have consistently said no to legalising cannabis, Mr Shoebridge said he had received constitutional law advice that showed the federal government had the power to override the states and legalise marijuana in Australia.

Since 2020, the ACT has allowed adults to possess up to 50g of dried or 150g of fresh cannabis.

It has also been legal for people to grow two plants per person and smoke it at home for personal use.

Medicinal cannabis was legalised in Australia in 2016.

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