The Victorian government is conducting a inquiry into the use of cannabis led by the Legislative Council’s Legal and Social Issues Committee and Committee Chair Fiona Patten, which has prompted the Family Council of Victoria (FCV) to make a public submission.
Little is known about the FCV and its president Michael Treacy. Having no official website or documented information, the submission should be taken with a grain of salt. However, as it was accepted by the committee, it will be taken into consideration by the inquiry and so its contents should be examined.
The inquiry asks a range of questions relating to cannabis use in Victoria, with one of them asking ‘Do you think there should be restrictions on the use of cannabis?’. We recently discovered that 89% of respondents selected the option that ‘Personal use of cannabis should be legal‘. With 90% believing that that the ‘Sale of cannabis should be legal and regulated’.
The FCV on the other hand believes otherwise, ticking both ‘Sale should remain illegal‘ and ‘Personal use of cannabis should remain illegal‘. Thankfully, Mr. Treacy also included a written submission in which he explained his reasonings. Let’s take a look.
He starts by introducing the drug-driving argument. Claiming that cannabis can bring about “psychotic episodes that have caused numerous accidents and death on our roads, often involving innocent people”. He provides an examples of a person who’d been using cannabis for 24 hours and ended up killing a family of 7 during a “psychotic state of altered perception”.
Not only did he fail to provide a source, but we were unable to find any mention of the story as well. On top of that, our very own University of Sydney conducted a ground-breaking study last year which concluded that “medications containing CBD have no impact on driving ability, while medications with THC only impair a person for several hours”. Honahlee, one of Australia’s leading education platforms on medical cannabis also reported that “while alcohol is a legal drug, it is having a worse impact on Australian loss of life than cannabis”.
He then went on to recommend that the Victorian Education Department take an “active part in condemning all drug use including cannabis” and that “cannabis use has been a gateway drug”.
While we agree children and teenagers should not consume cannabis, simply condemning it’s use has blatantly failed. Australians consumed more cannabis than ever in 2020, despite it being in prohibition for nearly a century. And it’s also been proven time and time again that cannabis is not the gateway drug so many have said it to be.
Mr. Treacy then went on to provide a way to reduce the cannabis use in Australia by increasing policing efforts.
Police could also be deployed in a major push to infiltrate cannabis cartels and distributors in an effort to reduce availability.
Australian police seized more than $203 million in cannabis in 2020, and what effect did this have on consumption? None. We already know the level on consumption was at it’s highest ever recorded. Not only do the current policing efforts do little to decrease consumption, but it’s also costing the Australian economy more than $1.1 billion every year.
Next on his hitlist is the so called ‘medical marijuana’. Adding that “medical marijuana and growing plants for personal use should be declared a public health risk which is unacceptable and illegal”. And possible legalisation would “create a higher burden for health departments”.
Not only is Australia’s own medical cannabis industry booming, but the use of cannabis as a medicine dates back thousands of years. Some were even unsure why Australia outlawed cannabis in the first place.
As for the increased burden on the health department, we can turn to the ACT who’ve already have legal recreational cannabis for more than a year now. The ABC discovered that there were “no increase in hospital visits recorded” despite Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt believing the new legislation would “exacerbate mental health issues”.
Australia and the rest of the world tried to win the war on cannabis, and they failed, spectacularly. Not only are Australians using more cannabis than ever before, but the National Household Drug Survey found for the first time in 2019 that the majority of Aussies want it to be fully legalised.
If you’re still unsure whether cannabis should be legalised in Australia, here are seven reasons why it should be. If you’re already pro-cannabis but not sure how you can affect change, here’s a list of actionable steps you can take today.