Newsbrief: Australian Greens Call for Uniform Marijuana Laws 5/7/04

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

The Australian Green Party (http://www.greens.org.au) is making marijuana law reform part of its national campaign strategy, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported Sunday. The party will challenge Prime Minister John Howard's zero-tolerance drug policies and call for uniform national marijuana laws, according to ABC.

Currently, the states of Western Australia and South Australia, along with the federally-controlled Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. The states of New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria still treat simple possession as a criminal offense. In practice, however, few people are jailed over simple marijuana offenses.

Still, the issue is seen as a potential vote-getter, and not just by the Greens. The Howard government three weeks ago launched a new offensive against marijuana, with Australian National Council on Drugs chairman Brian Watters leading the way with a new booklet that will "tell the truth" about pot and challenge the rise of the "pro-marijuana lobby."

"I think there has been a really concerted effort in some quarters to trivialize its effects," Watters told the newspaper The Age. "The pro-marijuana lobby has done very well. They are very, very active." Watters said his booklet will act as a counterbalance by presenting the latest research in "a balanced, non-ideological way."

The Greens, for their part, kicked off their campaign at the Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin over the weekend. Queensland senate candidate Drew Hutton used the occasion to announce the campaign and to declare Prime Minister Howard's approach to drug policy a failure. Every state should adopt laws that allow individuals to use, possess, and grow small amounts of the weed, Hutton said.

"You remove, as a part of the criminal justice system of this country, you remove the involvement of the criminal underworld in these sorts of areas and you remove the problems about criminalizing young people," Hutton said.

The campaign for uniform pot laws is hardly a departure for Australia's Greens. The national party's platform plank on drugs is clear: "The regulation of drugs should be moved outside the criminal framework. In a democratic society in which diversity is accepted, each person has the opportunity to achieve personal fulfillment. It is understood that the means and aims of fulfillment may, for some people at particular times, involve the use of drugs."

Drugs should be classified and regulated based on their known health effects, the platform plank said. "Programs operating among users of addictive drugs should focus upon harm minimization. Less addictive drugs [such as marijuana] should be more freely available as in the Netherlands model, as research shows that such availability mitigates against the use of hard drugs."

Among its specific drug policy proposals, the party includes "allowing the regulated supply of cannabis at appropriate venues" and "decriminalization, leading to eventual legalisation of cannabis cultivation and possession for personal use, while monitoring the effects of this in relation to the health of young people."

But while the Green platform is breathtakingly progressive, the party itself is far from being a powerhouse in Australian politics. It has only representative in the Australian House and two in the Senate, leaving it far behind the leading Liberal and Labor parties, and trailing even the Australian Democrats and the Nationals.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #336, 5/7/04 Editorial: Priorities and Principles | Nation Pays Huge Bill for Criminal Justice System -- $167 Billion a Year, Says Justice Department | Setback for State, Federal Pain Pill Offensive: Florida Prescription Monitoring Bill Dies in House | Million Marijuana Marches: Tranquility in New York, Thousands in Toronto, First Time in Sweden, Troubles in South America | Announcing: "The New Prohibition: Voices of Dissent Challenge the Drug War" -- New Compendium by Sheriff Masters Features David Borden and Numerous Other Thinkers on Drug Policy | Newsbrief: Australian Greens Call for Uniform Marijuana Laws | Newsbrief: Marijuana Initiative Campaign Underway in Columbia, Missouri | Newsbrief: MPP Files New Challenge to Drug Czar's Nevada Campaigning | Newsbrief: DEA Agent Demonstrates Gun Safety to School Kids -- By Shooting Himself | Newsbrief: Justice Department Investigating National Drug Intelligence Center | Newsbrief: Prison Building Binge Skews Census Figures, Shifts Benefits and Political Power, Study Says | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]