Petition to change marijuana laws blowing in the wind

Almost 15,000 people have signed a petition, supported by the Greens, to make marijuana legal in Queensland.

Apr 15, 2020, updated Apr 15, 2020
Michael Berkman is the only Greens MP in State Parliament. Source: Facebook)

Michael Berkman is the only Greens MP in State Parliament. Source: Facebook)

Greens MP Michael Berkman sponsored the e-petition, put forward by Aspley resident Elly Kirkham and formally recorded on the parliament website. By the time it closed on Tuesday there were 14,736 signatures in support – far more than any other open petition at the time.

The petition asked parliament to consider how “criminalisation has not prevented or reduced cannabis use, and has instead resulted in further harms to drug users forced into interaction with dealers and the criminal justice system”. It recommended drug use be considered a health issue, rather than a criminal concern, and that Queensland adults be allowed to grow, possess, use and supply cannabis – and have any outstanding cannabis-related fines waived.

However, the Palaszczuk Government is unlikely to support the move. Not only is the pandemic and economic crisis occupying most of the Government’s time at present, but Labor has unfinished business with proposed euthanasia laws, having previously overhauled abortion laws, and an election due in October. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk recently declared her intention to serve a four-year term if re-elected and some in the Labor Party continue to push for drug law reform.

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In January, after the Queensland Productivity Commission recommended a new approach to dealing with illicit drugs, the Government emphasised health considerations were already part of the response but decriminalisation would not be.

“The Queensland Government is committed to reducing the harmful impacts of illicit drug use on the Queensland community,” the government said at the time.

“The Government also acknowledges that there have been many in the public debate who have called for an alternative to the strict criminalisation of drug users, including leaders from our Police Service with long-standing experience fighting drug trafficking and use on our streets. The Queensland Government has no intention of altering any drug laws in Queensland.”

The e-petitions to have attracted the most support, more than 100,000 signatures each a decade ago, related to vehicle registration and were also unsuccessful.

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