Marky pon­ders

Aus­tralia… where no good weed goes un­pun­ished. Is it fi­nally time to change the law to al­low ac­cess to all? Emma Markezic says yes

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Contents -

THING THAT PIQUED MY IN­TER­EST THIS MONTH

I just spent a big ol’ chunk of time in the US of A. And as of­ten hap­pens when you’re a tourist in a strange land, those Amer­i­cans had ques­tions. Only these days it’s gone from ‘Do you guys re­ally ride kan­ga­roos to school?’ to ‘Are you guys re­ally not al­lowed to smoke weed?’ Yep, it’s a thing. And when we’re less pro­gres­sive on the mat­ter than a coun­try that still en­forces the death penalty, I think we may have a prob­lem. Just sayin’!

BUT WE’RE MAKING PROGRESS, RIGHT?

Sort of. Only last year our govern­ment, in its eter­nal wis­dom, made it le­gal for those with chronic med­i­cal con­di­tions to use mar­i­juana at all. Back in Fe­bru­ary, the

fed­eral govern­ment an­nounced it was go­ing to loosen laws sur­round­ing the sup­ply of medic­i­nal mar­i­juana so pa­tients would have quicker ac­cess to it – ba­si­cally, making it le­gal to grow it in our own back­yard in­stead of im­port­ing it from overseas. Even then, most peo­ple take it as oil – can­cer pa­tients aren’t smok­ing joints on the ho­tel bal­cony. But it’s a start. Of course, what you re­ally want to know is: When can we smoke it for fun?!

THE SHORT AN­SWER IS…

The cur­rent pre­dic­tion is that we’ll have recre­ational cannabis within five years. But we’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to get there. In the US, it’s le­gal in Alaska, Cal­i­for­nia, Colorado, Ore­gon, Maine, Mas­sachusetts, Ne­vada and Wash­ing­ton – rep­re­sent­ing around a quar­ter of the en­tire US pop­u­la­tion. Over there, these is­sues are voted for and changed on a state level. The prob­lem we have Down Un­der is that these sort of things are largely a na­tional de­ci­sion. And any­thing that has to go through the fed­eral sys­tem in­evitably takes longer and is much harder to green light. Aussie states and ter­ri­to­ries could go it on their own but the laws would be lim­ited to how you are sen­tenced for get­ting caught with the stuff. Even then, there are a bunch of fed­eral laws – like driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs – that would re­main in force.

IF YOU WEED BE­TWEEN THE LINES…

This means de­crim­i­nal­is­ing mar­i­juana isn’t go­ing to be a sim­ple mat­ter. We won’t just tick a box on a bal­lot and get lit that af­ter­noon. Even once the is­sue gets some air time in Par­lia­ment House, there will be a bunch of other reg­u­la­tions to also be con­sid­ered un­der the um­brella law, cov­er­ing things like trans­port, stor­age, tax, ad­ver­tis­ing… the list goes on. The best way to ex­pe­dite the process? Use the bu­reau­cracy that’s get­ting in the way. Look into the work of the Help End Mar­i­juana Pro­hi­bi­tion Party or be­come a mem­ber of the Aus­tralian Drug Law Re­form Foun­da­tion. The best way to hash brown­ies is get­ting your voice heard. Play your cards right and you’ll be va­p­ing at your gay best friend’s wed­ding in no time. Democ­racy: it’s also a thing. Not even the haters can dis­agree with that.

Fol­low Emma on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram @marky­knows­best.

MARKY THINKS IT’S TIME TO IN­VITE MARY JANE TO THE PARTY.

THE LEAFY PLANT HAS BE­COME A SYM­BOL OF A CHILLAXED LIFE.

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