Na­han open to cannabis de­bate

Albany Extra - - NEWS - Toby Hussey

State Op­po­si­tion Leader Mike Na­han is open to dis­cussing le­gal­is­ing cannabis for recre­ational use.

In the first clar­i­fi­ca­tion of his views on cannabis law as leader of the WA Lib­eral Party, Dr Na­han said he would wel­come a de­bate on the topic.

“I never ex­pressed a view on it (but) I am open-minded,” he said.

“I un­der­stand the dan­gers of it, it is an en­try-level drug and it does af­fect peo­ple’s minds . . . (but) I’m not one that cham­pi­ons pro­hi­bi­tion gen­er­ally. It’s out there ev­ery­where now, in a shadow econ­omy.”

How­ever, Dr Na­han said his will­ing­ness to dis­cuss re­lax­ing cannabis laws was not nec­es­sar­ily re­flec­tive of his party’s of­fi­cial stance, which has not been clar­i­fied since he be­came leader.

“We have not set a policy on that yet, we are sup­port­ing the sta­tus quo,” he said. “Whether we look at chang­ing that or not is not at the top of my agenda, not at all.”

Dr Na­han’s com­ments were made while dis­cussing the fu­ture of the medic­i­nal cannabis in­dus­try in south-west WA, which he said has big po­ten­tial.

His views could sig­nal a po­ten­tial turn­around in policy for the WA Lib­eral Party, which un­der Colin Bar­nett’s lead­er­ship scrapped laws that al­lowed peo­ple to grow cannabis for per­sonal use.

Cannabis con­sump­tion for Aus­tralians is fairly com­mon, with more than 35 per cent of peo­ple over 13-years-old hav­ing used it, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion.

The AMA also claimed al­co­hol and to­bacco are greater threats to Aus­tralian health than cannabis, but warned heavy con­sump­tion of the drug could af­fect mem­ory, at­ten­tion and so­cial and work life.

It re­jected claims cannabis was a gate­way drug to co­caine and heroin as in­con­clu­sive. Greens Al­bany­based MLC Dianne Evers said ear­lier this year cannabis should be le­galised in WA.

I un­der­stand the dan­gers of it (but) I’m not one that cham­pi­ons pro­hi­bi­tion gen­er­ally. Mike Na­han

Op­po­si­tion leader Mike Na­han.

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