Greens leader Richard Di Natale's backs cannabis decriminalisation

Greens leader Richard Di Natale's backs cannabis decriminalisation

"[The legal issues] drive people away from getting help when they need it and exposes them to a unsafe black market", he continued.

The minor party wants to redefine cannabis as a legal substance, with licences issued for its production and sale.

Recreational cannabis use would be legalised in Australia under a radical Greens plan to create a "tightly regulated" market and generate hundreds of millions of dollars in Federal tax revenue.

He says seven million Australians regularly use cannabis, and all they're doing is feeding the mega profits of criminal syndicates and criminal gangs.

"As someone who was a drug and alcohol doctor, I've seen how damaging the tough on drugs approach is to people", Senator Di Natale said. Legal weed would be sold to adults via licensed shops, and would be subject to both sales and excise taxes.

Neither the Coalition nor Labor have ever considered adopting such a proposal - while supporting medicinal cannabis - and the move is a significant escalation of the Greens drug policy, which previously focused on harm minimisation and getting treatments on Medicare. "People most likely to come to notice of police are Indigenous people, homeless people, people who suffer mental health and other health related problems, including people like Vietnamese vets".

Influential medical bodies including the Australian Medical Association and Alcohol and Drug Foundation said they were concerned about the policy, which goes much further than the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

"We have considerable concerns about the risk for the young brain and the possibility of bringing on psychosis, especially in the younger age group".

"The courts are clogged with people [on drugs charges]", he said.

All over the world, more and more drug-aware citizens are subscribing to the belief that marijuana use should be treated as a public health issue, rather than a criminal issue.

'In a poll previous year, 55 per cent of Australians said they believe cannabis should be taxed and regulated like alcohol or tobacco'.

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. Currently, residents of the ACT can have up to two cannabis plants. The country's medical marijuana program has been growing very slowly, and the Labor party has accused the government of blocking cannabis imports and otherwise delaying the program's progress. The Australian Greens have promised this bill will be in parliament by the end of 2018.

Prior to tonight, the Greens supported increased access to medical marijuana, but stopped short of endorsing recreational use.

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