We need to legalise weed
There’s been much hoo-haa about cannabis possession lately in Western Australia, because now, if you are found with 10 or more grams of it, you’re a criminal.
As of August 1, just 10 grams — rather than the 30-gram amount under the previous Labor government — can land you a maximum $2000 fine or two years’ jail. Heavy, right?
And to top it off, those caught will receive a nice little criminal record to go with it. Get caught with less than 10 grams and you are in for a mandatory counselling session.
The new penalties have sparked an outcry from responsible users across the state.
On the day the new marijuana legislation became law, a small group headed by David Gillett and Buckley Christopher held a peaceful speak out in Perth’s Solidarity Park, across from the state parliament house.
The organisers expected a heavy police presence to kick them off the parliament house steps, but the event remained calm and the speak out ended with a spirited rendition of a song inspired by John Lennon’s classic, Give Peace A Chance: “All we are saying, is give weed a chance.”
About 30 people from a variety of backgrounds attended the colourful and defiant event.
The police minister Rob Johnson was invited to speak but did not attend.
What is interesting is the stigma that is created by criminalising marijuana and its users.
They are not your usual criminal. They tend not to harm others, generally don’t instigate violence and a lot of users carry on a very normal, productive life.
Unfortunately, the mainstream media constantly blather on about all the worst case scenarios in a bid to frighten us into acceptance of the laws, instead of providing the community with unbiased information so people can make up their own minds.
In February in New York, a panel of the Global Commission on Drug Policy — which included former heads of state, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker — conceded the “global war on drugs” had failed.
The commission’s new report said the criminalisation of drugs like marijuana harms society.
Sir Keith Morris, who is on the advisory board of the International Council on Security and Development in the US said the US government “should look at the huge costs of incarcerating large numbers of people, [and] the damage it’s done”, msnbc.com reported.
The Western Australian government and police could get clever here and explore the idea of legalising, taxing and regulating the supply of marijuana.
Rather than focusing on a relatively peaceful few, how about they point their attention to the clandestine drug labs that are popping up around suburbia like toadstools.
Imagine the revenue that could be raised from decriminalising and regulating the sale of weed.
The profits from the tax could even go back into the community instead of the dealer. How about that idea?