Senator David Shoebridge from the Greens has introduced a legalisation bill in Australia that would allow adults to buy and smoke cannabis at Amsterdam-style cafés, or to grow it at home for private consumption. The bill would allow Australian adults to grow up to six plants at home for personal use, and there would be no upper weight limit for possession. The legislation further proposes the establishment of the Cannabis Australia National Agency (CANA), which would regulate the quality, distribution, sales and taxation of cannabis. Licensed cannabis cafés would be allowed to sell buds and cannabis products such as brownies, whilst allowing customers to smoke weed onsite, as long as it is not a nuisance to the public. Although the bill explicitly prohibits advertising cannabis except for certain forms of ads displayed at places where it would be sold, it does establish a coherent national scheme for the legalisation of cannabis. The legislation would override any state or territory laws that prohibit the use and possession of cannabis. Serious offences under the bill would attract penalties of two years’ imprisonment, 2000 penalty points, or both. Despite its limitations, this legislation by the Greens is a step forward for the legalisation of cannabis in Australia. Over the past few years, several countries including Canada, Mexico and Thailand have legalised cannabis use, and there are several others where cannabis has been decriminalised. While there are some genuine concerns around the legalisation of cannabis, the pros far outweigh the cons. If it is regulated effectively, legalising cannabis would lead to significant revenue for the government, which could be invested in public services such as education and healthcare. Legalisation would also reduce the burden on the criminal justice system, eliminate the expense of enforcing cannabis prohibition and reduce the burden on the courts. Furthermore, legalisation of cannabis would create a vast new legal industry and businesses, which can create jobs for many Australians. Overall, legalising cannabis would be a step forward for Australia, and this bill proposed by the Greens could lead to a positive outcome.
As a disclaimer, the opinions expressed in this article don’t reflect those of High Thailand.