Report into legal cannabis short-sighted

Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm has described the decision by a Senate committee to recommend against passage of his Bill to remove Commonwealth restrictions on recreational cannabis as short-sighted.

"An estimated 35 per cent of Australians admit to having used marijuana at some point in their lives, so it is pretty clear the policy of prohibition is not working. The committee’s decision is based on the flawed assumption that continuing with prohibition will achieve something," he said.

"The Parliamentary Budget Office estimates legalisation would contribute an additional $300 million in GST revenue each year. We also know it would free up police and court resources for more important matters."

Senator Leyonhjelm introduced his Removing Commonwealth Restrictions on Cannabis Bill in the Senate in May this year. In June the Senate agreed to hold a public hearing and called for submissions.

"The inquiry heard no evidence that justified a recommendation for my Bill to not be passed, in fact the evidence confirmed that the status quo is untenable," Senator Leyonhjelm said.

"The Liberal Democrats believe public policy on drugs should not be based on disapproval, but on harm minimisation. It is disappointing that the Greens, a party which now has a policy based on the same approach, did not actively participate in the inquiry given my Bill is the first of its kind."

"Nobody is saying that cannabis totally innocent, but recreational marijuana certainly has a cleaner rap sheet than alcohol.

"More and more countries have recognised this and it’s about time Australia caught up with the rest of the world."

The report is online here:

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