The Greens have vowed to legalise cannabis and regulate cannabis in the next term of Parliament if elected at the upcoming NSW Election.
Citing other nations such as South Africa, Canada, Thailand and Mexico, the party says the move has the potential to draw more than $28 million in revenue within the next decade.
Greens MP and drug law reform spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says cannabis is a safer alternative to legalised drugs such as tobacco and alcohol.
“It’s time to legalise cannabis in NSW. More than one in three of us have used cannabis in our lifetimes and more than two million Australians use cannabis each year,” she said.
“Prohibition has well and truly failed and governments all around the world are finally accepting this fact. We’ve seen legalisation in 21 US states, Canada, Uruguay, South Africa and Mexico and the sky hasn’t fallen in.
“People are risking criminal records just because their drug of choice has been deemed illegal because of a moral crusade started before I was born. The fact is cannabis poses much less harm to individual users and to our society compared to alcohol, tobacco and many prescription drugs.”
The move to decriminalise cannabis also requires regulation, Ms Faehrmann admits.
“I will introduce a bill to legalise cannabis as a priority after the election. The Greens bill would ensure that cannabis products are labelled in terms of the strain and levels of THC and CBD and include health warnings,” she said.
“At the moment most people have no idea of the strength of the cannabis they are buying on the black market and whether or not it’s laced with other drugs.
“A regulated cannabis market would protect young people because, unlike drug dealers, cannabis stores will be required to check ID and refuse service to those under 18.”
The federal Parliamentary Budget Office has estimated that legalising cannabis with a 25% licensing fee could bring in $9 billion in revenue over a decade.
For NSW that means more than $6.5 billion in revenue and $2.4 billion in GST.
In Canada, the legal cannabis market contributed $8.26 billion to the country’s GDP (as of July 2019).
Ms Faehrmann says the move would also free-up policing for more serious crimes.
“Every year thousands of people are being charged for drug driving after testing positive to THC even though the effect had worn off long before they got behind the wheel,” she said.
“Our plan will not only create a legal defence for medicinal cannabis patients but reform the entire Mobile Drug Testing program to test for impairment instead of mere presence.
“Instead of billions of dollars going into the pockets of organised crime, our bill would enable the sale of cannabis to be regulated and taxed, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially billions, would be diverted to our health system, including drug rehabilitation and harm reduction.”
The Greens Plan:
- Legalise and regulate cannabis for adults in NSW
- Reform Mobile Drug Testing to test for impairment instead of presence
- Generate up to $9 billion in revenue over a decade for NSW
- Allow households to grow up to 12 cannabis plants
- Regulate cannabis products to reduce harms with health warnings, CBD/THC content labelling and prohibitions on advertising
- Establish a NSW Cannabis Authority to regulate the cannabis market with the aim to reduce the harms caused by cannabis and prevent the dominance of the industry by large corporations
- Allow for cannabis social clubs of at least 5 people which can grow 12 plants per member up to 200 plants
- Extinguish past cannabis convictions
For more NSW State Election 2023 stories:
- Greens unveil plan to rescue regional housing
- Labor promises better access to Wickham Park
- Nationals take aim at Labor over Hunter Power project delays
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