Australian Senator Introduces Bill to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Nationwide

"The war on drugs is a war on people."

So said Rachel Siewert, a senator and member of the the Australian Greens, during a session of Parliament yesterday.

Sen. Siewert had just introduced the Australian Cannabis Agency Bill 2018, a bid to bring Australia out of prohibition by legalizing recreational use.

"In effect," goes the memo, "this will mean that - rather than being purchased through a criminal dealer, who has no interest in the welfare of the user, cannabis would be regulated in the same way that tobacco is."

Interestingly, the bill is limited by certain Constitutional requirements. As it stands, the bill only applies to the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, so work would be required to bring the rest of Australia’s states and territories into the scheme. The memo pledges to get this done to "ensure that we have a consistent national scheme, which will reduce confusion and ensure that people are not able to access regulated cannabis in one state, but only able to access it via the black market in another."

While this is still early in the game, it’s heartening to see a comprehensive, all-encompassing recreational bill that also respects the needs of medical patients. We’ll be watching closely to report any new developments concerning Australia and legal cannabis.

You can watch the formal introduction of the bill below, and you can read the details in Sen. Seiwart’s explanatory memorandum here.

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I've been covering cannabis for nearly five years, and by now I'm all too accustomed to the impersonal cannabis conference at a stuffy, generic hotel or expo hall, brimming with white guys in suits, and generally lacking in the spirit of well, cannabis. (The woes of legalization, I suppose.) So it was a breath of fresh air when I walked into what felt like a giant atrium in downtown LA for a new kind of cannabis conference. Located in what's called the Valentine Grass Room in an industrial area past the hustle and bustle of the DTLA skyscrapers, Microscopes & Machines (M&M) boasted a diverse array of speakers, from doctors and lawyers to chemists and cultivators on the frontlines of the cannabis industry.

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