29 November 2023, 5:30am
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Today the Victorian Upper House will debate the Legalise Cannabis Victoria Bill to regulate adult use of cannabis.
Prohibition of cannabis is failed policy, with more than one third of Victorian adults having accessed cannabis. The time has come for a safer health-centered approach to cannabis, which is why leading economies around the world are moving to legalise adult cannabis consumption.
The Regulation of Personal (Adult Use) of Cannabis Bill would legalise the personal adult consumption of cannabis (but not in public), allow the possession a small quantity of cannabis by adults, and allow adults to grow up to 6 plants at home (with a limit of 6 plants per household). This bill will also allow sharing between adults, which is expected to significantly reduce the role of organised crime. Importantly, the Bill will not allow people under 18 to access or be supplied with cannabis.
Cannabis reform is long overdue in Victoria. Experts from the public health and criminal justice sectors have been calling on the government to support this critical reform.
Victorians continue to spend up to $1.2bn on the illegal cannabis market per annum according to the Parliamentary Budget Office.
Since the introduction of similar cannabis reform in the ACT, arrests for cannabis offences have decreased by 90% and there has been no reported increase in cannabis use.
Along with sector-wide calls for change, community sentiment can no longer be ignored: 78% of Australians believe cannabis use and possession should not be a crime, which is a central theme of this Bill.
It is time for change. It is time to regulate cannabis in Victoria.
Quotes attributable to Legalise Cannabis Victoria MP, Rachel Payne:
I want the Victorian Premier to be brave in her response to this bill and put an end to the injustices faced by the tens of thousands of adults who consume cannabis in this state.
Legalise Cannabis Victoria were elected to Parliament to spearhead this important health-led reform. This Bill is the beginning of that change.
Quotes attributable to Legalise Cannabis Victorian MP David Ettershank:
This reform is intended to remove the stigma faced by those most impacted by the criminalisation of cannabis use and possession.
Maintaining the criminalisation of cannabis maintains the criminalisation of tens of thousands of Victorians. And the worst affected are our first nations brothers and sisters and our most marginalised communities.
Quotes attributable to National Criminal Justice Spokesperson from the Australian Lawyer’s Alliance, Greg Barnes SC:
Criminalising the use of cannabis has been a monumental failure – there has been no decrease in use as a result. Wasting court, police and lawyers’ time and resources with cannabis charges needs to end.
Politicians who oppose this Bill are sanctioning failed prohibition policies and continuing the scandalous waste of resources on law enforcement.
Ms Payne and Mr Ettershank are available for comment.