Inquiry into Cannabis Use

Secured Australia’s first inquiry into the use of cannabis.

Fiona Patten was able to gain support from the State Government and almost every member of the crossbench to pass her motion which resulted in Australia’s first inquiry into cannabis use. 

The Legal and Social Issues Committee, chaired by Ms Patten, will investigate how cannabis is supplied and consumed, how it is policed, what the health effects on the community are, and will assess models from international jurisdictions such as the US and Canada that have been successful in cutting criminal gangs out of the cannabis business and preventing children from accessing it.

A broad range of evidence will be examined, looking at the issue from all angles to gather information and form recommendations about how Victoria approaches the country’s most widely used illicit drug.

During the debate on Ms Patten’s motion, Labor MP Sonja Terpstra said that the Victorian Government was committed to reducing the harm of alcohol and other drug use – and that Labor recognised that Ms Patten’s motion was in line with harm reduction measures.

Some facts about cannabis: 

  • – According to Victoria Police, the illegal cannabis industry in Victoria is worth an estimated $8 billion dollars annually – currently controlled entirely by criminal syndicates. 
  • 750,000 Australians use low quality street cannabis every week.
  • – Cannabis has comparatively low toxicity, low addictiveness and low instance of serious side-effects compared to other illicit drugs.

The following terms of reference were agreed to, 27 – 11:

‘The Legal and Social Issues Committee in the Legislative Council to inquire into, consider and report no later than March 2, 2020 into the best means to:

 

  • – Prevent young people and children from accessing and using cannabis in Victoria
  • – Protect public health and public safety in relation to the use of cannabis in Victoria
  • – Implement health education campaigns and programs to ensure children and young people are aware of the dangers of drug use, in particular, cannabis use
  • – Prevent criminal activity relating to the illegal cannabis trade in Victoria and further requires the Committee to assess models from international jurisdictions that have been successful in achieving these outcomes and consider how they may be adapted for Victoria
  • – Assess health, mental health, and social impacts of cannabis use on people who use cannabis, their families and carers.’

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