The Australian Greens have announced their proposal to fully legalize marijuana in the country. Obviously this would require passage through the full government, which they don’t control, but it is a good first step. Also the timing at the beginning of 4/20 week can’t be a total coincidence. They have their eye on the ball.
According to The Guardian, people would be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use. It also would create a new government agency to act as the wholesaler of cannabis products.
Cannabis would be taxed and regulated much like alcohol and tobacco. It would be sold to adults by licensed shops and get a federal excise and GST tax.
The policy was announced by Richard Di Natale on Monday.
In a statement, Di Natale, says this treats "drug use as a health issue, not a criminal issue,” is a rational response to the “failed” policy of prohibition and helps with harm minimization in regards to drugs.
“It drives people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a dangerous black market,” Di Natale, a former doctor, said. “Our plan to create a legal market for cannabis production and sale will reduce the risks, bust the business model of criminal dealers and syndicates and protect young people from unfair criminal prosecutions.”
This is significant because this is the first time that a party with significant support in the federal government has taken the stance to legalize marijuana in Australia. In 2016, the labor government enacted a medical marijuana plan, but the Greens say it does not go far enough, especially with policies that block the importation of cannabis productions.
Will it go anywhere? It seems unlikely right now. The Health minister does not seem too receptive to the idea, calling marijuana a gateway drug, but maybe it the government lit one up, it would have a better chance.