Ms PATTEN (Northern Metropolitan) (09:55): On 20 April, also known as 4/20, around the world people gather peacefully to have picnics to rally for cannabis law reform. This has been happening in Melbourne for decades. This month, when people went down to Flagstaff Gardens to peacefully rally around drug law reform and call for changes to cannabis laws in this state, they were met with police on horses, they were met with sniffer dogs and they were wrestled to the ground and stripsearched.
They were meeting peacefully for a picnic in Flagstaff Gardens. It was an extraordinary sight. It was a frightening sight. It was totally out of step with the police strategy and with the government’s own position that we treat drug use as a health issue, not a criminal one. I have no idea how much this action cost. I expect it cost tens of thousands of dollars. It was just outrageous. These were young people. In fact one man who was tackled to the ground for being in possession of medicinal cannabis had a prescription for his cannabis on his person.
This was in the same week as the budget, which saw the alcohol and drug services sector lose $40 million. We can do better.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Members statement 11/5/22