I CONGRATULATE the Greens on adopting the Liberal Democrats’ long-held position on legalising recreational marijuana.
More than one in three Australians has used cannabis, yet almost 80,000 cannabis-related arrests are made nationally each year.
This is an appalling waste of Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force resources to the tune of almost $100 million a year, according to Parliamentary Budget Office costings commissioned by the Liberal Democrats in 2016.
That’s money better off in taxpayers’ pocket, or used to treat Australians with chronic alcohol and tobacco-related illnesses, which are far more widespread than any marijuana-related health issues.
A study released by the government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare last month found illicit drugs were responsible for just over 2 per cent of Australia’s total disease burden, of which cannabis accounted for less than one in 10 cases within that category.
By comparison, tobacco accounted for 9 per cent of Australia’s combined fatal and non-fatal disease burden and alcohol 4.6 per cent.
Along with the law enforcement cost savings, revenue raised from GST levied on legal cannabis would boost government coffers by about $300 million annually.