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Cannabis Policy Reform History Made In Australia


Australian cannabis reform efforts reached a historic milestone this week with Greens Senator David Shoebridge introducing the Legalising Cannabis Bill 2023. The measure would permit the “adult recreational use of cannabis across the country.”

Senator Shoebridge’s legalization measure marks the first time that a bill has ever been introduced to Australia’s Federal Parliament that would, if approved by both chambers, legalize adult-use home cultivation and commerce across the nation.

“With just a sprinkling of political courage and collaboration mixed with a truckload of common sense we can make this law and end the war on cannabis.” Greens Senator and Justice Spokesperson Senator Shoebridge stated about the measure in a press release.

“It’s time to stop pretending that consumption of this plant, consumed each year by literally millions of Australians, should still be seen as a crime. Everyone knows that it is not a matter of if we legalise cannabis in Australia, it’s a matter of when, and today we’re taking a huge step forward. The Greens are here to get this done, and we’ll be working hard to get the numbers to make this law.” Senator Shoebridge also stated.

“It’s time to seize the many opportunities that legalisation poses. This includes the $28 billion in public revenue that legalisation can bring in in the first 9 years of operation. This is the chance for tens of thousands of quality green jobs, new small businesses, enriched regional economies and the boon for tourism that will come with establishing a totally new legal industry.” Senator Shoebridge added.

“It is the opportunity to regulate the quality, strength and safety of a product that millions of Australians are already using, and it’s the chance to radically reduce harm, by stopping 80,000 Australians a year from being caught up in the criminal justice system for possession of cannabis. Using the collective wisdom of thousands of contributors who shared their knowledge and experience with us, we are introducing a solidly founded bill that maps out the way to legalise cannabis across Australia.” Senator Shoebridge concluded.

The formal introduction of the measure comes on the heels of the Greens announcing “unprecedented engagement” for a public survey the party conducted focused on the legalization measure.

“A total of 8,916 individual responses on our survey were received and we received 38 detailed submissions in response to our consultation paper. This is in addition to thousands of calls, social media messages and real life conversations.” the Greens stated in a press release about the survey.

“The results show an extremely strong level of support for legalising cannabis with a single national cannabis market that allows for home grow and prioritises co-ops and small business involvement. Respondents told us they don’t want an overly corporatised scheme and how it is important to ensure any tax rate doesn’t force up prices and drive people back into the illicit market.” the press release also stated.

Below are “improvements” made to the bill during the public consultation process:

  • Quality and labelling to set out labelling requirements for cannabis and cannabis products including safety and dosage information, strength and chemical composition
  • Penalties – we will amend the bill to provide a clear requirement for serious or repeated breaches of licence conditions to result in serious consequences for the licence holder – not just employees.
  • Home grow and production – we will amend the bill to explicitly allow people to make products like brownies or gummies at home for personal use, we will also explicitly require that grow at home cannabis not be accessible to the public.
  • Young people – we’ll add a new requirement to store cannabis where it’s not readily available to minors and give the regulator the capacity to impose other safe storage if needed like child safe containers for edibles for example.
  • Advertising – we will make clear that the ban on advertising won’t stop cafes and dispensaries from point of sale advertising or having an authorised online presence.

“Using the collective wisdom of almost ten thousand respondents we know the Greens will be tabling the most popular and effective bill possible to legalise cannabis for the whole country. We have made improvements around labelling, storage, manufacture, advertising, penalties and more as a result of this consultation process.” Greens Senator David Shoebridge stated about the consultation.