Drug Reform

The Liberal Democrats support the legalisation of use, cultivation, processing, possession, transport and sale of cannabis, with protection of minors and penalties for driving while impaired.


Policy

  • Legalising the recreational use of marijuana by adults in all jurisdictions of Australia.

  • Legalising the cultivation, processing, possession, transport and sale of cannabis and its derivative products in all jurisdictions of Australia.

  • Removing specific prohibitions against the agricultural, industrial and culinary uses of hemp and hemp derivatives.

  • Allowing the recommendation of cannabis or its derivatives for medical use by authorised medical practitioners.

  • Implementing penalties for the sale or supply of cannabis or its derivatives to minors.

  • Implementing penalties for driving while demonstrably impaired by the effects of cannabis use.

  • Allowing private organisations to enforce cannabis bans.
  • End the nanny state and reduce government interference in private choices made by adults.

  • Increase the treatment options available to those suffering from chronic disease.

  • Reduce the burden on the tax-payer from the misguided “war” on drugs.

  • Avoid stigmatising cannabis users with criminal records for victimless crimes.

  • Undermine criminal organisations involved in the production and distribution of cannabis.

  • Protect the rights of private organisations to implement policies in relation to cannabis use consistent with their values.

  • Protect public safety including child safety.

Discussion

We believe that adults should be free from government interference when making choices where they do not inflict harm on other, non-consenting individuals.

While there are health costs involved in any recreational drug taking activity – especially for developing minds and bodies – cannabis use is already widespread in Australia and death, disorders and impairment directly attributable to its use occur at significantly lower rates than for legally available alcohol and tobacco.

Cannabis has widespread medicinal use

The medicinal use of cannabis for its anti-emetic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-convulsive properties has been well documented. Medicinal marijuana use is prescribed in numerous jurisdictions for patients suffering conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma. Cannabis derivatives are highly regarded as both curative and preventative agents among those who favour herbal medicines.

Cannabis is a "victimless crime"

Crimes associated with the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis by adults are “victimless” as only those who have consented are involved. Criminalisation pushes up prices and drives all but organised crime out of the market, effectively resulting in state-enforced protection for organised crime. This results in public violence and significant costs for the criminal justice system and, ultimately, taxpayers.

The right to choose

The Liberal Democrats recognise the right of individuals to choose to not engage with cannabis or its users. Restaurants, clubs, hotels and other private establishments where people gather should be free to impose conditions of entry including prohibitions on the use, or being under the influence, of cannabis. Similarly, employers should be free to require their employees to refrain from cannabis use and to implement testing policies as required.

Don't smoke and drive

The Liberal Democrats recognise that one of the short term effects of cannabis use is impairment of cognitive and psychomotor functions. Thus we believe that driving on public roads while demonstrably impaired by cannabis use should remain illegal. Current testing methods are unable to prove impairment; only use within a time-frame well in excess of the drug’s effect and should not be relied upon to prove impairment.