More relaxation of cannabis laws signalled

Published Jun 3, 2020 at 8:17 pm
(Updated Jun 3, 2020 at 8:17 pm)

Draft legislation for the legalisation of cannabis is to be put out for public consultation, that Attorney-General said tonight.

Kathy Lynn Simmons unveiled proposals for medical and recreational cannabis use in the Senate in December and the views of the public were also canvassed.

Ms Simmons said the original plans were seen to be not going far enough” and “too complicated to be effective”.

She added the Government had amended the legislation to meet public expectations of “further decriminalisation of cannabis, to the greatest extent possible, via a regulated framework”.

Ms Simmons said attitudes to the drug had evolved and that there was a recognition of the need for new industries.

The new proposal was based on Canada’s provincial and federal laws, as well as examples from the Caribbean.

Different licences were proposed to cover commercial cultivation, cannabis retail, manufacture, research, transport and import and export.

The licence requirements will include specific regulations for shops.

Ms Simmons said the public could comment on the policy document and draft Bill on the Government’s website from today until July 3.

She added: “It is not often that the Government places an illustrative draft of a proposed Bill out for public scrutiny as part of a consultation exercise.

“However, as was done with the Medicinal Cannabis scheme, I thought it important that the granular details of the proposed law be accessible for public consumption.”

She said details in the draft legislation would detail to the public how the law would affect them and how they could advantage of business opportunities.

Ms Simmons said: “We are especially interested to welcome ideas from our youth, who have used social media and other platforms to call for greater liberalisation of the cannabis plant.

“There will be additional opportunities for direct engagement with interest groups and other public outreach during the consultation period.”

• To read the Attorney-General’s statement in full, click on the PDF below “Related Media”.

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