Bills to legalise the personal use of cannabis will be simultaneously introduced in three Australian state parliaments.
The Legalise Cannabis Party will introduce legislation into the upper houses of the NSW, Victoria and West Australian parliaments to legalise the personal possession and use of cannabis for adults. While QLD parliament won’t be part of the initial discussion I can’t imagine they will be far behind (especially if the bills are passed).
Legalise Cannabis NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham says it’s the first time in Australian legislative history the same bill will be introduced in three state parliaments on the same day.
“It’s time to take cannabis supply and quality control out of the hands of organised crime and make the needs of the community, patients and consumers a priority,” he said.
The legislation would make it legal for adults to possess and share cannabis and for a household to grow up to six plants.
“Prohibition has failed, cost taxpayers billions, choked our courts unnecessarily,” Mr Buckingham said.
“It’s now time for sensible and responsible cannabis law reform, which the majority of Australians now support.”
The proposed changes would not allow people under 18 to access cannabis or allow people to drive while impaired by cannabis.
In 2020 the ACT became the only jurisdiction to decriminalise the personal use of cannabis, allowing adults to grow up to two cannabis plants per person and four per household.
The ACT legislation is the model for the changes being proposed.
More than 700,000 arrests have been made in Australia for cannabis-related offences since 2010, with the cannabis black market estimated by police to generate $8 billion a year to organised crime groups.
Legalise Cannabis Victoria MP Rachel Payne said cannabis laws disproportionately criminalised young people, indigenous people and culturally diverse communities.
“These laws currently cause real harm to marginalised groups, and we should as a society come together to do something about it,” she said.
“It’s time our governments reformed outdated laws, in line with community expectations.”
The legislation is unlikely to be debated until later in the year.