Re-elected Leader of the Reason Party, Fiona Patten MP, has wasted no time in setting the legislative agenda for the 59thParliament.
Before a single new member will have made their inaugural speech, Ms Patten will introduce a Bill to legalise cannabis in Victoria.
The legislation, called the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Cannabis Regulation) Bill 2018, states that it is “a Bill to amend the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 to provide for legal access to cannabis, to control and regulate the cultivation, manufacture and supply for that purpose, to prevent young persons from accessing cannabis, to protect public health and public safety by establishing strict product safety and product quality requirements, to deter criminal activity by imposing serious criminal offences for persons operating outside the legal framework, to reduce the burden on the criminal justice system in relation to cannabis and for other purposes.”
Costings from the Parliamentary Budget Office show that the legalisation and regulation of cannabis would result in an increase to the state’s budget by $204.6 million over the forward estimates. Indirect savings will be significantly higher, particularly within the health and justice system.
“Revenue from cannabis is currently going straight to criminals,” said Ms Patten. “Legalisation will not only change that, but will also bring hundreds of millions in revenue to the state, improve health outcomes and significantly decrease policing costs.
“The time has come and the community is ready for this change. The Premier himself has labelled us the most progressive state in the country, and we are ready for this change.”
“The legalisation of cannabis for adult recreational use just makes sense – it’s a no brainer to most people, ” said the Member for Northern Metropolitan. “Studies have shown legal cannabis reduces prescription opioid overdose deaths, which currently outstrip our road toll. Across the world communities are making this change and it is time for Victoria to yet again lead the way in this historic reform.”