Cloud over Greens’ push for le­gal pot

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

A PUSH by the Greens to le­galise cannabis ap­pears up in smoke af­ter the Turn­bull Gov­ern­ment and fed­eral Op­po­si­tion re­jected the plan.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called for re­forms to the ex­ist­ing pro­hi­bi­tion, say­ing the coun­try’s ap­proach to il­licit drugs was an “un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter”.

But Health Min­is­ter Greg Hunt called on the party to with­draw its sug­ges­tion, ar­gu­ing it risks the health of Aus­tralians.

“Mar­i­juana is a gate­way drug. The risk of grad­u­at­ing to ice or to heroin from ex­tended mar­i­juana use is real and doc­u­mented,” he said.

But Se­na­tor Di Natale ar­gues gov­ern­ments around the world are re­al­is­ing that pro­hi­bi­tion of cannabis causes more harm than it pre­vents. “It’s time Aus­tralia joined them,” he said.

The Greens want to re­de­fine cannabis as a le­gal sub­stance, with li­cences is­sued for its pro­duc­tion and sale.

For­mer Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice com­mis­sioner Mick Palmer backed the Greens’ pol­icy, slam­ming the so­called “war on drugs” as an abysmal fail­ure. But La­bor has no plans to le­galise recre­ational cannabis.

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