The Greens’ Plan To Legalise Weed Would Raise A Bucketload Of Money

Legal weed and money for mental health services. It's win win.


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The Greens’ plan to legalise recreational marijuana would raise a bucketload of cash for the government, which could then be spent on health and drug services, according to analysis by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.

The modelling shows that the move would hand the government roughly $1.7 billion a year through taxes on the newly-legal pot, and from pricey production and retail licenses.

What Is The Greens’ Plan?

Last week, the Greens announced that they want to legalise recreational marijuana and allow adults to grow up to six plants for their own personal use.

If they got their way, the party would set up the Australian Cannabis Agency, a government organisation that would produce all the weed we consume. That agency would issue production and sales licenses to small businesses, who would sell the weed to everyday users.

The Parliamentary Budget Office modelling even gives us an insight into how much these licenses would cost: to produce the hemp plant, you would need to fork out $3,500 to initially apply, and then pay around $2,000 per year to keep going.

The plan also includes a tax on weed — the Greens would apply an excise of 25 percent to cannabis.

The party hopes that by legalising the drug, they can wipe out a black market, make cannabis safer, and clear up the courts of “literally hundreds of thousands of cases”.

What Is Everyone Saying About The Plan?

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has been pushing the policy hard for the past week.

“We need to real about cannabis,” he said. “Almost 7 million Australians have used cannabis despite currently risking a criminal record for doing so.”

The party says that the money raised from legalisation could be used as a funding boost for hospitals, mental health, drug treatment and drug education services.

But if the Coalition and Labor have their way, the policy won’t go ahead. Both of the major parties are committed to legalising medicinal marijuana, but they don’t want to go all the way.

Health minister Greg Hunt doesn’t want to legalise weed because he worries it could be used as a gateway drug.

“The risk of graduating to ice or to heroin from extended marijuana use is real and documented.”

Labor leader Bill Shorten, meanwhile, called the policy “political clickbait”.

Countries like Spain and Uruguay, as well as a bunch of US states, have recently legalised marijuana.

In Colorado, one study detailed some of the health issues legalising marijuana has caused: there has been an increase in hospital visits due to marijuana-related incidents (including a bunch of burns), and an increase in kids going to hospital after accidentally eating edibles.

A lot of highly cited articles, though, find it hard to reach a conclusion about legalising the drug because it’s hard to gather pre-legalisation data. If you rocked up at a hospital before the drug became legal, you were more likely to lie about getting high to avoid punishment.

And the Greens’ proposed plan is different to most legalisation models: instead of just letting marijuana become part of the capitalist free-for-all, Di Natale wants the state to manage the industry tightly.