Marijuana could soon be legalized for recreational purposes in part of Australia. There is now a push within the nation’s legislative channels to establish a taxed and regulated pot market that would allow the herb to be sold in retail outlets in a manner similar to tobacco and alcohol.
A Victorian parliamentary committee recently outlined the details of this proposal in a 600-page report. Inside, lawmakers revealed a desire to follow in the footsteps of legal pot states, like California and Colorado, in making cannabis a normal part of everyday commerce. The committee has since advised the assembly of a special investigative counsel to determine the best possible method for bringing this reform to fruition.
Pointing out that Uruguay, parts of the U.S. and Canada are now providing a blueprint for how to drag marijuana out of the underground, the study authors wrote, “The development and implementation of cannabis regulatory models for adult use is an area of drug law reform worthy of exploration.”
It seems than after the eight-member parliamentary committee paid a visit to a couple of legal states, allowing them to witness that a legitimate pot market is not the boogeyman that some folks have attempted to portray, it has become convinced the progressive concept of marijuana legalization is something that could work out famously in their neck of the woods.
“Historically, the approach to drugs both internationally and in Australia was based on prohibition of recreational drug use,” Geoff Howard, a state MP responsible for report, told The Daily Mail. “There is growing recognition that a dominant focus on law enforcement strategies has not eradicated the supply or demand for such substances, but has contributed to increased harms such as overdoses and black market crime.”
As it stands, marijuana is illegal across Australia. And although some jurisdictions have eliminated the criminal penalties associated with the possession of pot, the nation has yet to explore full-blown legalization. Medical marijuana is currently being explored to some degree, but it is still a long way from realizing its full potential.
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In most parts of Australia, the only way for the average pot offender to be sent to jail is after several repeat offenses to which drug treatment options have failed. Legalization, however, would do away with all criminal charges for the cultivation, possession and use of cannabis. Not to mention provide a substantial economic benefit to the state.
The Victorian committee estimates that the state’s prohibitionary standard is causing it to lose in upwards of $6.1 billion in potential pot funds to criminal organizations.