Topics: Greens’ proposal to legalise cannabis
The Greens’ proposal for open slather on marijuana is dangerous and medically irresponsible. We know from bodies such as the AMA, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK, from Mental Health Australia, from SANE and so many others, that cannabis has very serious risks in relation to physical health, and in particular, to mental health.
That’s why it’s a highly regulated drug. There are medicinal purposes for medicinal uses, as prescribed by doctors, but this proposal for open slather has two major consequences. The first is the risk of physical and mental health problems. Whether it’s psychosis, anxiety, depression or other items which have been chronicled by the medical authorities, the medical risks are real and significant and important.
Secondly, of course, marijuana’s a gateway drug. The risk of graduating to ice or to heroin from extended marijuana use is real and documented. We’ve seen the victims of crime represented this morning with their comments. We’ve seen the AMA and so many other bodies express their concerns.
As the Government of Australia, our job is to protect the health of Australians. This action by the Greens risks the health of Australians. It should be rejected and they should withdraw it and we will oppose it.
Do you think- the Greens suggest that if it’s licenced that would be a way of monitoring use. Do you see any positive in that at all?
Richard Di Natale has already conceded that cannabis can have an impact on mental health issues. It can actually have an impact on both physical and mental health issues, and the notion of spreading the use of unregulated, uncontrolled cannabis, people growing it in their own backyard, is utterly irresponsible. It’s been rejected by the medical authorities, and on that basis, we do not believe that it’s safe, responsible or something which should be allowed.
Thousands of people already use cannabis or marijuana. Wouldn’t the Government benefit, perhaps, from taxes?
We’re not going to put the mental health of Australians at risk. If the medical authorities point to increasing evidence, increasing literature, increasing research about the mental health impacts, whether it’s psychosis, anxiety, depression or other elements. Then we have to listen to that body of evidence. The Greens’ argument simply says if it’s difficult to police, we should give up, and that same argument applies to ice and to heroin and to other deeply significant drugs.
The medical profession also would like to see restrictions on refined sugar. That’s a health problem. Why the difference there?
This is a highly regulated drug. It’s used on a very selective basis by the medical profession to assist with medicinal activities, in the same way that you have other highly regulated drugs, such as morphine, which are carefully controlled. That’s the way to manage a product such as this, but open slather is about deep, profound health risks.
Okay, thank you very much.