Australia’s drug laws do more harm than good, the Liberal Democrats say.
Liberal Democrats NSW President Dean McCrae says it is ludicrous to criminalise cannabis, which is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol.
"The overriding aim of drug policy should be harm minimisation," Dean says.
"The government’s heavy legislative approach of criminalising drug use perpetuates fear and uninformed bias against drugs.
"This causes more harm, criminality, poverty and violence than the drug use it seeks to prevent."
Dean notes the medicinal use of cannabis for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-convulsive properties has been well documented.
Medicinal marijuana is prescribed for patients suffering conditions such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.
Cannabis derivatives are also highly regarded as both curative and preventative agents among those who favour herbal medicines.
"Cannabis use is a victimless crime," Dean argues.
"Criminalisation pushes up prices and drives all but criminals out of the market, effectively resulting in state-enforced protection for organised crime.
"This results in violence and significant costs for the criminal justice system and, ultimately, taxpayers.
"We are calling for a level-headed approach to cannabis and drug reform that reduces government interference in adults’ private lives, increases options for treatment of chronic disease, and avoids stigmatising users by abolishing criminal penalties for possession and use."