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Bill to legalise cannabis in Australia could finally be introduced to parliament

Rachel Lang

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| Last updated 

Bill to legalise cannabis in Australia could finally be introduced to parliament

The Australian Greens have big news for people Down Under looking forward to legalised cannabis: it could happen very soon.

As in, real soon. Like, possibly this year.

NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge revealed the party has obtained legal advice that removes legislative barriers preventing cannabis from being legalised nationwide.

"Legal advice obtained by my office shows that the Greens can pass a bill to legalise cannabis nationally," Shoebridge said in a social media statement.

"All state legislation criminalising its legal use, possession, and sale can be overridden. We could legalise cannabis across the country this year."

Shoebridge added: "If you are an adult and want to chill out with cannabis, you should be able to without the threat of police, violence or imprisonment - without worrying whether you could be sent to prison for smoking a joint with friends."

At the moment, cannabis is criminalised in most states and territories, with the exception of the very mellow people in the Australian Capital Territory, who can posses and consume it for recreational and personal use only.

To change those laws, it was previously believed that reform could only occur on a state-by-state basis... until now.

And there is a want for it.

According to the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 60 per cent of Sydneysiders are keen to have cannabis legalised.

The same report claims that a mere 22 per cent of Aussies think using the drug should carry a criminal offence.

So, without want for a better term, the Greens reckon that it's high time we follow the lead of Canada, Jamaica, and the United States and start the process to legalisation.

Credit: Wavebreak Media ltd / Alamy
Credit: Wavebreak Media ltd / Alamy

A spokesperson for the Greens told news.com.au the party had consulted constitutional law expert Patrick Keyzer to determine if federal law can trump state law when it comes to the cultivation, licensing and sale of cannabis.

Keyzer told the Greens that a pathway to legalising cannabis would fall under the Commonwealth’s power to regulate plant variety rights under section 51 of the constitution.

Before that can happen, a framework to 'create a legal national market for cannabis' would also need to occur.

“Once this occurs, all state and territory laws contrary to the use of cannabis under the commonwealth laws (being the current state criminal sanctions) would cease to have effect,” the spokesperson said.

Although the NSW Greens Senator said federal legislation could theoretically be turned around by the end of 2021, creating a national framework and regulative policy may take some working through.

So don't be hopping the fence to cut the end off of your neighbour's hose just yet.

But, if you're waiting with bated breath for legalised cannabis use, a solution may be on its way soon.

Featured Image Credit: Kseniya Ragozina / Alamy. Tomás Llamas Quintas / Alamy.

Topics: Drugs, Australia, Politics, News

Rachel Lang
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