Reason Party Leader, Fiona Patten MLC, has challenged both the Victorian Premier and the Leader of the Opposition to enact new laws around drugs that would be the toughest ever introduced in Victoria. She said they would smash the $8 billion illegal drug empire overnight and reduce the crime rate in the state by a staggering 20%.
“My tough on drugs strategy begins by legalising cannabis which is the toughest measure that any government could apply to organised crime groups who make most of their money from the sale of illicit drugs,” said Fiona Patten MLC.
“Up until now, the tough on drugs strategy has been applied to the end users and not the criminal gangs who push them. This has been a disastrous misunderstanding of how to be ‘tough-on-drugs’,” Ms Patten highlighted.
Current estimates place the wholesale trade of illegal cannabis in Victoria at $1.5 billion which equates to more than $8 billion in retail sales.
“We are spending millions while the criminals are making billions,” said Ms Patten, the member for the Northern Metropolitan region in Victoria’s Upper House.
“If Victoria legalised and regulated the sale of cannabis and taxed it at 30%, then that’s $2.4 billion that could be invested in schools, roads, hospitals and public transport. More importantly, it is $8 billion removed from the hands of hardened criminals and international crime syndicates who use those funds to build meth labs, purchase guns and even fund terrorist activities overseas,” said Ms Patten.
“Our current legal framework criminalising the production, sale, possession and/or use of cannabis in Victoria is a Government endorsed racket which enables an unregulated multi-billion dollar black market industry to flourish,” she said.
“That’s not a ‘tough-on-crime’ strategy – but mine sure is!” explained Fiona Patten MLC.
California, the fifth largest economy in the world, has just undertaken this ‘tough-on-drugs’ paradigm shift which is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state taxes and smash crime syndicates.
From July 1, 2018, Canada will allow the national retail sale of cannabis. They expect to completely eradicate the black market sale and criminal profiteering of cannabis through taxation and government regulation.
Fiona Patten sits on Victoria’s Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee and initiated its current inquiry into Drug Law Reform in December 2015. The inquiry is Australia’s largest and most extensive inquiry into Drug Law Reform. Its report and recommendations will be tabled in Parliament at the end of March 2018.