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Party Policy

Legalisation and Regulation of Cannabis.

Cannabis must be treated in the same way as alcohol and tobacco. A legal and regulated cannabis market requires:

  • An immediate moratorium on all arrests of cannabis consumers
  • Reforms allowing consumers and/or carers to grow cannabis in their gardens or indoors.
  • All historical personal-use cannabis criminal records to be expunged.
  • Reform of drug driving laws where impairment, not presence, is tested.
  • Road Safety laws to be amended to allow for a defence for medicinal users.
  • A state-based licensing system covering all commercial operations including production, manufacturing, and retail / dispensing.
  • An amnesty period for current grey-market growers to transition to become licensed producers with ongoing support provided to boutique growers, small producers, and compassion clubs. Subsidies to incentivise start-ups and not-for-profits.
  • State-regulated affordable testing facilities available for producers, growers, and consumers. Such services to be reasonably priced, easy to access with all restrictions currently hampering testing to be lifted.
  • A unified independent cannabis authority overseeing personal-use cannabis and hemp production to include end-users and those experienced in cultivation and production in decision-making processes.

Health

Cannabis and hemp are known for their health benefits and since they have been removed from our diet, we have seen an explosion of diseases such as cancer, dementia and autoimmune conditions that were once relatively rare. 

Reintroducing cannabis into our daily diet as a measure to prevent ill-health could reduce the long-term burden on the health budget.

  • Legalisation will enable affordable access to safe cannabis therapeutics via home-grow and licensed dispensaries. A licensed dispensary model would enable small and medium sized licensed growers to enter the market.
  • Introduce public health education and awareness programs about the preventative benefits of cannabis and hemp as a plant-based diet and medicine.
  • Introduce cannabis clinics attached to dispensaries with trained clinicians advising customers on ‘strains’ and products when cannabis is recommended by a doctor to treat their condition.
  • Offer workshops for patients about growing cannabis for food and medicine, educating them on all aspects of safely making their own medicine, including information on production, dosing and administration routes.
  • Introduction of supervised and recorded N1 trials that would speed up the evidenced based data available, through monitoring and evaluating cannabis’ effectiveness in treating different conditions.
  • Patient’s licences would ensure cheaper rates to medical users on a doctor’s recommendation.
  • For patients who prefer the established pharmaceutical model, a more patient-friendly approach regarding access to and affordability of cannabis products is needed. This could include the establishment of a state based compassionate access scheme subsidising corporate medicine, as proposed by the Barriers to Medical Cannabis Inquiry in March 2020.
  • State revenues from cannabis sales can be directed to improving the public health system through better nurse to patient ratios and increased funding for specialised mental health on-the-job training for nurses in mental health specific care facilities.
  • Ensure doctors working in public hospitals are free from harassment by bureaucracy if they to choose to prescribe cannabis to in or out-patients in a public hospital.
  • Products would be dispensed and subsidised through hospital pharmacies.
  • As recommended by the Federal Inquiry into Barriers to Medical Cannabis – targeted education and public awareness campaigns need to be developed and implemented to reduce the stigma around medicinal cannabis within the community.

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Policing, and Justice

The war on drugs has been an abject failure worldwide. Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted on “harm minimisation” policies that have failed to reduce demand or supply. They have instead created harm. Cannabis offences have ruined the lives of too many young people in Australia. Growing and using a natural plant for personal use should not be a crime. We should be treating ‘buds like beer’.

  • Addressing inconsistencies in cannabis ‘crimes’ sentencing. Legalising cannabis for personal use will eliminate wasteful spending on cannabis related minor crime resulting in better use of police resources taking pressure off the court system.
  • The legal consumption of cannabis will reduce anti-social behaviour and domestic violence often fuelled by alcohol abuse.
  • On the whole, cannabis users are less inclined towards violence. Given the freedom of choice, we expect anti-social behaviour, fuelled by alcohol and ice, would decrease with legalisation.
  • Current drug driving laws are NOT about road safety and have had little impact on reducing the road toll. False positives are ruining lives as livelihoods. Presence does not equal impairment. There needs to be a defence created for medical use.
  • Cannabis is a less HARMFUL choice as a recreational substance and taking it off the street creates demand for other more dangerous substances such as ice and heroin.

Personal Use

  • Treat personal use of cannabis by adults similar to alcohol – plain packaging, age restrictions on use, no advertising.
  • The medical cannabis delivery system is a postcode lottery. Creating options for home-grow and a supply chain will give MORE patients access to affordable whole plant medicine and a better quality of life.
  • Legalisation will reduce the financial burden on the court system and free up police to investigate real crime.
  • Personal-use cannabis would promote international tourism and create jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries.
  • Home-grow and regulated dispensaries could wipe out the dependence on the black market (as long as products are not overtaxed).
  • Revenue generated from recreational sales via a state-based tax would aid post COVID recovery, rather than benefiting criminal elements and organised crime.

Economic

  • Encourage farmers to cultivate hemp as a major renewable, sustainable agricultural resource that can feed people and value added industries will create jobs. Hemp will both complement and reduce the need for the more unsustainable and inefficient crops.
  • Growing hemp for seed can double the income at the farm gate as a primary food crop and the refuse left behind after harvest (average 8 tons per acre) can be used as second-generation feedstock for making methanol.
  • Existing infrastructure can be easily and cheaply converted to produce clean power without interruption to production, guaranteeing local jobs for those already in the industry with minimal re-skilling needed. The power produced will help Australia become energy secure.
  • The Federal government has an Emission Reduction Fund of around $200 billion available to all states for projects to produce low emission electricity. Major political parties are already onside with biofuel production.
  • Hemp farming and associated bio manufacturing industries such as plastic and building materials would create jobs and economic growth in all sectors.
  • Introduce start up assistance packages for the production and manufacture of hemp-based products and encourage new and innovative industries
  • Legalising cannabis will allow boutique cannabis growers to produce ‘strain’ specific varieties for dispensary sales for medical and social use. Manufacturing of balms, edibles, vaporising products and fresh food would allow ‘smaller players’ to enter that marketplace and create jobs.

Environment

Hemp has some impressive environmental credentials. It grows faster than most weeds, negating the need for herbicides and it is fairly pest resistant. Two crops can be grown per season. It is an excellent crop for carbon sequestration, and it can be used to make a strong and pest-resistant building material called hempcrete that continues to absorb carbon dioxide as it cures.

We need urgent measures to stop plastic pollution. Our lives and future depend on it. Bio-plastic materials offer significant advantages for the environment. As they are not made from fossil fuels, they do not produce carbon dioxide when decomposed. In addition, most of them are biodegradable. Everything indicates that they could be an especially important part of solving the climate crisis. Hemp is increasingly being recognised as having tremendous potential in our natural ‘toolbox’ of promising crops for bioplastics.

  • Plastic waste chokes the planet. Petrochemicals are found in a wide array of household items, from plastic wrap and rubbish bags to plastic bottles. Hemp based plastics decompose in months rather than decades.
  • Bio futures is one of the opportunities that will support future economic development, open the door to new investment and grow employment in regional areas.
  • Bio products offer a renewable and environmentally beneficial alternative to existing conventional chemical and fossil fuel refining processes.
  • Transitioning to biofuel power stations would lower emissions and create a carbon neutral cycle and thus reduced greenhouse gasses.
  • Responsible mining would be encouraged for export. Reducing our own dependence on mining will protect our water tables from contamination.

Human Rights Issues

  • Legalising cannabis would remove it from the criminal justice system. Treating cannabis as a crime has resulted in human rights violations disproportionately affecting the most marginalised sectors of society
  • Dignity is a fundamental principle of human rights. No drug law, policy, or practice should undermine or affect the dignity of any person. Police strip searches looking for cannabis intended for personal use violate that right and are a form of torture. These must be outlawed especially in public places where people are enjoying their right to freedom.
  • Legalising cannabis would help to address the discrimination being experienced by those who are financially disadvantaged by their medical condition, which precludes them from obtaining expensive, imported, legal medical cannabis products and leaving many to face criminal charges.
  • All Australians have the right to access safe, effective, and affordable cannabis medicine. A compassionate access scheme could be put in place for patients, but legalising cannabis would eliminate the need to do this and the cost of implementing and maintaining.
  • Prohibition denies us the right to autonomy and self-determination over what we take into our own body. This intrusion into bodily integrity is a human rights violation.
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