A New South Wales MP has called for the state to legalise the recreational use of cannabis, in light of legalisation bills passed by other governments.
NSW Labor MP Rose Jackson spoke in parliament on September 23rd, describing legalising the drug as an “economically sensible” move for Australia. In 2020, Australia’s medical cannabis industry will be worth $95 million.
Jackson’s statement was made after US presidential candidate Joe Biden promised to legalise recreational cannabis if he wins the 2020 election. Jackson also reminded parliament that over 33 countries have already legalised or decriminalised cannabis, with the US, New Zealand and Israel exploring the possibility of legalisation.
New Zealanders are due to vote on a cannabis referendum on October 17, while a cannabis legislation bill is currently being heard for the second time in Israel’s Knesset.
Jackson believes NSW should follow in the footsteps of the US democrats to “be on the right side of history”, contracting statements made by Opposition Leader Jodi McKay. McKay told the Daily Telegraph the NSW Labor Party does not support the recreational use of cannabis.
In her statement, Jackson cited the high cost of policing cannabis, describing it as an “unbelievable waste” of police and correction resources. She also referenced the millions of Australians expressing public support for legalisation. Jackson has urged NSW leaders to open up a public conversation about cannabis with citizens, arguing that the public is desperate for the conversion.
Jackson has also argued that cannabis is not more addictive or harmful than alcohol or tobacco, saying:
Millions of Australian’s have tried cannabis at least once and I reckon it is a conversation a lot of people want our leaders to start having.
A Facebook poll conducted by the Daily Telegraph asked whether cannabis should be legal in NSW, with 3,100+ of the 3,500 respondents responding ‘yes’.
If the drug were legalised, Australia’s cannabis industry is projected to be worth $1.5 billion by 2024. Read that story here.