The government has opted for legalisation of cannabis use rather than decriminalisation in draft legislation for next year’s referendum.
Key points of the proposals are:
- a minimum purchase age of 20
- a ban on marketing and advertising cannabis products
- a requirement to include harm minimisation messaging on cannabis products
- not allowing recreational cannabis to be consumed in public and only in licenced places
- limiting the sale of recreational cannabis to physical stores
- controls on the potency of recreational cannabis being sold
- a state licencing regime for recreational cannabis controlled by the Government
If the legislation passed, anyone aged 20 years or older could grow up to two cannabis plants. If two people aged 20 years or older are part of the same household, the property can have up to four plants. If you grow more than you’re allowed, you could be fined up to $1000. Cannabis must also be grown out of public sight.
People could hold 14 grams of dried cannabis in a public place – the same amount that could be purchased from a licensed store. . .
. . . “They start at 42, go down to 21 and I have seen one at 15. I am not a user, so I’m just going off advice from officials.” . . .
This is basic information the Minister ought to know.
I’m not a user either but I found an unopened packet of dried thyme weighing 15 grams and was able to measure 14 reasonably heaped teaspoons from it.
That seems to be more than would be safe for anyone to smoke or eat in a day, given there are questions whether any amount is safe, although the purchaser won’t necessarily smoke or eat it all in one day.
The proposal is up for consultation, but whether or not changes are made as a result of that, who would win and who would lose if the referendum gets a majority in favour of legalisation, and, given it’s non-binding, the next government passes it?
- People who use cannabis now, including those who smoke an occasional joint the way others might have an occasional alcoholic drink.
- People who want to use it recreationally now but don’t want to break the law.
- Individuals and businesses who grow, process and sell cannabis.
- The black market – the price and THC level in legal cannabis will be regulated providing a market for those wanting something less expensive and more potent.
- Young people who use it and suffer health and development problems as a result. Whatever the legal age for possession and use, younger people will get it.
- Those who develop mental illnesses including psychosis as a result of using cannabis. Psychiatric nurse Peter Hurst writes on the damage cannabis does here.
- The mental health system which will come under more pressure from those suffering from addiction and other ill effects of cannabis use.
- Employers who have to deal with drug users in the workplace.
- Workers who have to put up with fellow workers who are under the influence of drugs.
- Teachers who have to deal with drug users at school (see young people using cannabis above).
- Police who still have to deal with the black market.
- Emergency services who have to deal with the consequences of drug-driving.
Would the wins out weight the losses?
I don’t think so.