Legalisation of cannabis remains an issue of debate among Australian politicians. Canada, on the other hand, announced that it will be introducing a legislature to legalise recreational marijuana by 2018.
Canada’s move received opposition from Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who referred to the drug as a “scourge” and hoped Australia would not follow their footsteps. "[Cannabis] is linked with a lot of mental issues within the community and therefore to describe it as recreational underestimates the real damage it can do,” Abetz said.
Trials for medicinal cannabis are being conducted across New South Wales and Victoria. The federal government legislated in February the legal importation of the drug.
Among those who support the move of legalising the drug include Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm. He said several states in the United States have achieved legalisation without any serious ramifications. “There have not been people lying in the streets with drug addled brains. It has been a very positive move," he said.
He added that most parliamentarians’ stand on drug policy indicated they were in the dark ages. "It's idiotic," he said. "The prohibition policy has never worked on anything."
A similar concern was expressed by Independent Senator Derryn Hinch who, though has never consumed the drug, said he supports the legalisation. "I think it's ridiculous watching big burly cops with guns on their hips arresting plants," he said, adding that one should take into account the economic benefits such a move could bring.
"Look at the tax money being brought into California and Colorado," he said. "We could get rid of the budget deficit in two minutes by legalising marijuana."
Meanwhile, the shares of the Australian companies engaged in the ‘pot stock’ boom have grown by a mammoth 130 percent. The increase, which comes after the imports on cannabis were eased, is six times to that of companies in the United States and Canada.
HL Pharma, MMJ PhytoTech’s Australian distribution partner, received the license for importing medicinal cannabis from the Department of Health. MMJ, which owns a cannabis production facility in British Columbia, Canada, is looking to produce as much as 8,500 kilograms of dried cannabis buds a year by the end of this year.
Through this move, the capsules will become the first medicinal cannabis products to be sold in Australia. The product will only be available to approved customers.
Recreational cannabis will be legalised in Canada by July 1, 2018, the Canadian government announced. It is expected to release its initial plans and proposed legislative framework next month.