Let’s legalise Cannabis!
Here's how we do it.
The Australian Greens are moving ahead with the first national plan to legalise cannabis.
Senator David Shoebridge, on behalf of the Greens, has obtained constitutional law advice that shows how the Federal Parliament can legalise cannabis for adult use across the country.
The world is rapidly moving away from the damaging criminal and policing approach to cannabis. Australia risks being left behind if we wait for piecemeal reform through the states and territories that may well leave millions of Australians behind.
Using the national reach of the Federal Parliament we can legalise it, everywhere all at once, and bring in billions of dollars of much needed new public revenue at the same time.
We’ve got a mandate for change, a Federal Parliament that’s not tied to bad old state-based cannabis laws and Greens in the balance of power in the Senate. This is the best chance we have ever had so let’s get on with it
Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions about legalising cannabis. You can also read more about the constitutional advice received on this bill & the potential revenue from legalising cannabis.
- How much will it cost? Is this all about money?
The best cost estimates we have from the Parliamentary Budget Office suggest initial prices will be around $13 a gram, a price that is not dissimilar from current street price in many places.
The good news is that even with a cannabis sales tax and GST the price per gram steadily declines as the scheme operates, down to around $7 a gram after 5 years.
Even with these low costs, a 15% tax rate would deliver a total of $28 billion over 9 years, and a 25% tax would deliver over $36 billion. This is money we can invest in health, education and other public services.
- Won’t people still keep buying on the black market?
We believe we have the model right so the cost isn’t prohibitive and access is regulated but not overly restricted. The Parliamentary Budget Office predicts that under this model 95% of the people currently buying cannabis through illegal sources will switch to buying from their local cannabis cafe instead. This is based on exactly what happened in Canada.
The other advantage of this is that billions of dollars are removed from organised crime.
- Who will be able to get cannabis?
Adults aged 18 years and over.
- Can I grow it at home?
Of course! Our bill provides for up to 6 plants to be grown at home without a licence and without tax for personal use.
If you want to personally grow more than this it will need to be through a licensed co-op and not in a residential neighbourhood.
- Who will be growing and selling?
Our model focuses on allowing cannabis to be grown by not-for-profit organisations, individuals and small businesses. There is an explicit prohibition on big pharma, big tobacco and big alcohol being involved in the industry.
- Where will I be able to buy cannabis?
Cannabis will be available from specialty cannabis cafes. Those running and serving these will have accredited training in responsible service of cannabis. Products will be able to be consumed on site or as take away.
Online sales will be strictly limited to prevent stockpiling, access by minors and onselling. There will be regional limits to avoid concentration of the industry into a small number of large sites in capital cities and instead promote a decentralised approach to the industry.
We recognise the issues with combining cannabis and alcohol and therefore don’t believe it’s appropriate it is sold from the same premises.
- What forms will cannabis be available in?
Our bill doesn’t create a limitation on the forms cannabis may be consumed in, we anticipate it would be available to buy through cannabis licensed sellers in forms including bud and flower, concentrates, beverages, and edibles like brownies and gummies.
We expect that following global trends there will be a strong move away from smoking as the primary way cannabis is consumed which will further limit the health impacts of this form of consumption.
- Where will I be able to use cannabis?
Cannabis consumption will be possible at cannabis cafes and in private homes. Purchased cannabis will be required to be stored safely and away from any children.
Consumption of cannabis in public spaces by smoking or vaping will be limited according to existing rules that apply for tobacco.
- What about the health impacts?
The data we have suggests there will be no massive increase in the number of people consuming cannabis so we consider it unlikely there will be a significant increase in adverse health consequences.
The most significant change will be making cannabis a properly regulated product that will be uncontaminated with other substances, and the ability to seek medical assistance and help with addiction problems without fear of legal sanction.
- Will this change medicinal cannabis?
This scheme does not change the current medicinal cannabis schemes around the country. However it will almost allow people who need to access cannabis for medical reasons and cannot afford the extremely high prices in the current market, to have far cheaper legal access to the product and therefore put significant downward pressure on the cost of medical cannabis.
- What about drug driving?
Anyone who is driving impaired by any substance should not be on the road. The current drug driving tests only test for the presence of a small number of illegal drugs. In the case of cannabis the test is for the smallest detectable presence of cannabis even in circumstances where it is known that the amount would have zero impact on safe driving. This is obviously wrong, the test needs to focus on impairment not presence.
Our State Greens MPs are working to fix these broken laws. This cannot be done through this bill but the passage of the bill will put even greater pressure on state Parliaments to fix the broken drug driving laws.
- What about work drug tests?
These would need to be changed through a separate piece of legislation. Certainly we recognise that, as with roadside tests, the workplace tests should be at a level that represents impairment not mere presence of trace amounts of a drug in a person’s system days after consumption
- Will this wipe previous cannabis convictions?
We recognise the serious injustice faced by the many people who have a past criminal conviction for cannabis use. It is not within the scope of this bill or the Federal Parliament to wipe these convictions but we absolutely support moves to do this at a State level and will continue to work to get this done. Once we legalise cannabis, the pressure to correct these wrongs will rapidly build.
- Can we legalise it nationally, or do we need to wait for the states?
The latest constitutional advice on legalising cannabis is clear – we don't have to wait for patchwork law reform in the states and territories, the federal parliament can just legalise it.
Sound good to you?
We need your help.
Countries around the world have have been working to legalise cannabis for year. Germany has recently committed to legalising cannabis, joining Canada, Uruguay,
South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, Malta and at least 19 states in the United States where recreational cannabis use is already legal.
There's absolutely no reason why we can't do the same here in Australia. But it's going to take all of us.
Join the campaign we’ll keep you updated on our progress, as we take our campaign to universities, neighbourhoods and Parliament House.