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Greens MP introduces bill to legalise cannabis in NSW

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
17 February 2021

Greens MP and drug law reform spokesperson Cate Faehrmann will introduce a bill into the NSW Upper House today to legalise and regulate the personal use of cannabis. This comes at a time when many jurisdictions around the world are moving to adopt various models of cannabis decriminalisation or legalisation for both medicinal and recreational use.

“It’s time to legalise cannabis in NSW. More than one in three of us have used cannabis in our lifetimes, with more than two million Australians using cannabis in the past year,” said Cate Faehrmann.

“Prohibition has well and truly failed and governments all around the world are finally accepting this fact. We’ve seen legalisation in Canada, Uruguay and parts of the United States and elsewhere and the sky hasn’t fallen in.

“In September 2019, the ACT Government decriminalised the personal use of cannabis allowing people over the age of 18 to possess up to 50 grams and grow up to two cannabis plants per person, with a maximum of four per household. 

“Decriminalisation is better than prohibition, but it is still making thousands of people come into contact with the black market. This is not only crazy but it’s dangerous. 

“People are risking criminal records just because their drug of choice has been deemed illegal because of a moral crusade started before I was born. The fact is cannabis poses much less harm to individual users and to our society compared to alcohol, tobacco or many prescription drugs.

“The Greens bill would also ensure that cannabis products are labelled in terms of the strain and levels of THC and CBD and also include health warnings. At the moment most people have no idea of the strength of the cannabis they are buying and whether or not it’s laced with other drugs.

“A regulated cannabis market would protect young people because unlike drug dealers, cannabis stores will be required to check ID and refuse service to those under 18. 

“In 2018, the federal parliamentary budget office costed the legalisation of cannabis for the Australian Greens. It found that taxing and regulating cannabis would provide $2 billion to the Australian economy annually. Imagine what that would mean for NSW.

“Instead of billions of dollars going into the pockets of organised crime this Greens bill would enable the sale of cannabis to be regulated and taxed meaning hundreds of millions of dollars, potentially billions, would be diverted to our health system, including drug rehabilitation and harm reduction,” said Ms Faehrmann.

The Greens Cannabis Legalisation Bill 2021 would:

  • Legalise the recreational use and possession of cannabis;
  • Allow a household of 2 persons or less may grow up to 6 cannabis plants while a household of more than 2 people can grow up to 12 cannabis plants. 
  • Require cannabis products to be labelled with health warnings and information about the strain and THC/CBD contents; 
  • Prohibit retailers from promoting or advertising cannabis;
  • Prohibit cannabis stores from operating with 200 metres of a school or childcare centre;
  • Establish a NSW Cannabis Authority which will regulate the cannabis market with the aim to reduce the harms caused by cannabis and prevent the dominance of the industry by large corporations;
  • Allow for cannabis social clubs of at least 5 people which can grow six plants per member up to 99 plants; 
  • Begins the process of extinguishing past cannabis convictions.

It is expected that the bill will be brought forward for debate this year.

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Cate Faehrmann
NSW Greens MP
17 February 2021
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