It’s not often The Australian Tribune agrees with the Greens — but there’s a time and a place for everything.
This week the Greens called for the full legalisation of cannabis in Australia to all adults.
The war on drugs just isn’t working. We’ve already seen this happen with the prohibition of alcohol in America from 1920–1933. And now we are seeing in the prohibition of marijuana.
In fact, it has done quite the opposite. Creating unimaginable problems and misery in the wake of policies that are failing to stop the flow of drugs. And made a few criminals very rich along the way.
This war on drugs has fuelled the growth of big government control and expansion of government powers. Especially in areas such as surveillance.
It would do good to recognise that every instance in which a government takes and uses power, there’s the chance we as individuals have lost a degree of freedom.
And this is where our agreement with the Greens proposal stops. While legalisation is a good thing — the greens approach isn’t.
They are pushing for a very tightly government controlled system. Granting the government complete control over the only wholesaler. Again, we have seen this in the sale and pricing of tobacco..
Senator David Leyonhjelm has come out in support of the Greens. The parliamentary budget office has also found the budget would be boosted by $259 million over the 2015–16 forward estimates, if Australia legalised cannabis. This is due to decreases in law enforcement costs and an increase in GST Takings.
Similar figures have proved true for Colorado, earning more than $260 million in tax revenue in 2016 after it sold more than $1.7 billion worth of marijuana, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Canada is also leading the way in the legalisation of marijuana. They are cracking down on dealers targeting minors and drivers under the influence. And are set to become the first G7 country — and the second in the world after Uruguay, in which cannabis is legal to use across the land.
The Trudeau government is proposing a highly restrictive plan to reduce the role of criminal organisations in the marijuana market and limit access and availability to youth.
Biggest supplier of cannabis?
Meanwhile, the Australian government is planning to become the world’s biggest supplier of medical cannabis.
And yes, many may have fears and opinions of the use of cannabis.
For example, Geoff Munro, the Alcohol and Drug foundation policy manger said ‘the risk was that it would lead to increased use and increased harm, particularly people who are most vulnerable to negative effects.’
However, US hospitals in the states that have legalised medical marijuana, failed to see a predicted influx of pot smokers, and in a surprising twist actually treated fewer opioid users.
Hospitalisation rates for painkiller dependence and abuse fell on average 23% after the introduction of medical marijuana. Overdoes dropped 13% on average, and qualms that an increase in marijuana hospitalisations were groundless.
Yuyan Shi, a public health professor at the University of California, San Diego and author of the study found in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, stated:
‘Instead, medical marijuana laws may have reduced hospitalizations related to opioid pain relievers’.
Studies are showing that the legalisation of marijuana does not relate to an increase in hospitalisation. But instead, it may lead to fewer drug overdoses and less painkiller abuse.
With the legalisation of marijuana, sufferers of chronic pain and illnesses may have better quality of life.
Yet the NLP and ALP are still ignoring this issue. And with the legalisation of marijuana to potentially have some push back from the media, you can expect the major parties will try and put this issue on the backburner for a few more years yet. With hopes they’ll witness the debates from the safety of retirement.
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