The Australian Greens are proposing to decriminalise cannabis, declaring the war on drugs has failed.
The Greens have today laid out their plan to once and for all, legalise cannabis in Australia, bringing us up to speed with Spain, Uruguay, nine of the United States, and - depending on how this year pans out - potentially both Canada and New Zealand as well.
'The plan will establish an Australian Cannabis Agency to issue licenses for production and sale of cannabis, monitor and enforce license conditions and review and monitor the regulatory scheme to ensure it is functioning properly, ' he said. "It's time Australian joined them and legalised cannabis for adult use".
The Greens' policy notes that 35% of Australians have used cannabis, according to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare statistics, and there were 79,643 cannabis related arrests in 2015-16, up 6% from 2014-15.
Up to six plants could be grown for personal use and strict penalties would be imposed on selling cannabis to minors or without a licence. Illicit drugs were responsible for 2.3% of the disease burden, of which cannabis accounted for only 7%.
"As someone who was a drug and alcohol doctor, I've seen how damaging the tough on drugs approach is to people", the Greens leader told Channel Ten.
"We've got to take this out of the hands of criminals and dealers, [and] we've got to make sure it's within the hands of health professionals".
'Banning cannabis hasn't reduced its use or availability yet it has distracted police from following up more serious crimes, harmed a lot of young people and helped make some criminals rich, ' Dr Wodak said. "Nearly seven million Australians have tried or used cannabis socially but right now just having a small amount of cannabis in your possession could get you a criminal record", said Di Natale.
But despite these concerns, the AMA is still convinced that cannabis prohibition has been a failure.
Individual Australian territories criminalized recreational cannabis use between the 1920s and 1950s, but many of these territories decriminalized minor cannabis offenses in the early 2000s.
It would then be able to tax the sale of legal weed, generating millions for the Federal Budget and injecting that back into harm reduction programs.
Alex Wodak, president of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, welcomed the announcement.
"Regulating cannabis will give government more control and increase government revenue, which can be used to fund drug prevention and treatment".
Senator Di Natale pointed to a recent poll showing 55 per cent of Australians believed cannabis should be regulated and taxed like alcohol or tobacco.
Just in time for 4/20.
The slow-moving nature of legalising medicinal marijuana and the current state of criminalisation is also putting vulnerable people in danger, with those who use medicinal marijuana forced onto less effective drugs once the law steps in.