Greens propose full legalisation of cannabis

          Marijuana-based drug gets positive review from US agency

NATION-WORLD Marijuana-based drug gets positive review from US agency

Just in time for 4/20.

The Australian Greens have proposed that the country should fully legalize the sale and use of recreational cannabis.

A costing by the Parliamentary Budget Office for independent senator David Leyonhjelm found the budget would be boosted by $259 million over the 2015-16 forward estimates if Australia legalised cannabis, due to a reduction in law enforcement costs and an increase in GST takings.

"Governments around the world are realizing that prohibition of cannabis causes more harm than it prevents", Greens party leader Richard di Natale said in a speech Monday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

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People would be able to legally smoke dope, grow six plants of marijuana in their backyard and buy the drug at stores under a controversial Australian Greens policy.

"We need to leave room for the gardaí to tackle real drug trafficking problems with hard drugs, and not criminalise proven medical treatment", said Ms O'Reilly. "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". The Coalition and Labor parties, the major parties in Parliament, supported recent legislation to legalize medical cannabis, but have shied away from supporting full recreational use.

Senator Di Natale said nearly seven million Australians had tried or used cannabis, with consumption and drug possession-related arrests both on the rise.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation policy manager Geoff Munro said "the risk was that it would lead to increased use and increased harm, particularly people who are most vulnerable to negative effects".

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"It drives people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a risky black market", Senator Di Natale said.

Numerous the party's proposed rules for recreational marijuana are similar to those that already apply to the sale of tobacco and alcohol products. "Responsible sale of cannabis" training will be mandatory for dispensaries, and health warnings and strain information would be on the plain packaging. The policy would impose strict penalties for anyone caught selling weed on the black market, and for anyone caught driving under the influence. Currently, residents of the ACT can have up to two cannabis plants.

The vice president of the Australian Medical Association Tony Bartone said the AMA did not support the personal use of cannabis and had "significant reservations" about the proposal to allow people aged over 18 to use the drug. The Greens claim the policy would raise "hundreds of millions of dollars" that could be funnelled into mental health, drug treatment and drug education services. We need drug law reform to build political will.

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