Australian Greens announce push to legalise cannabis

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The Turnbull Government's Health Minister has described marijuana as a gateway drug to ice as the Greens called for a people's vote to held on legalising the mind-altering substance.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has called for reforms to the existing prohibition, saying the country's approach to illicit drugs was an "unmitigated disaster".

Asked why the government wouldn't want the tax revenue, Mr Hunt said it didn't want to put the mental health of Australians at risk.

In Australia, the USA, and all over the world, the war on drugs has caused more than its fair share of harm, and it seems that finally, things are changing. "Cannabis use is a reality in Australia, let's just legalise it".

"It's time Australia joined them", he said.

Up to six plants could be grown for personal use and strict penalties would be imposed on selling cannabis to minors or without a licence.

Not everyone is against the idea, with the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation welcoming the announcement.

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"Our plan to create a legal market for cannabis production and sale will reduce the risks, bust the business model of criminal dealers and syndicates and protect young people from unfair criminal prosecutions".

He said the Greens had rehashed an existing policy, which was the equivalent of "political click-bait". Should cannabis be legalised?

"Polls have consistently shown that Australians would like to see cannabis taxed and regulated".

He expects the plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, helping fund treatment, education and other harm-reduction programs. This philosophy stands at the centre of the Greens' argument.

The party plans to introduce a bill to legalise cannabis to federal parliament by the end of 2018.

"This is a substance that has the potential for significant health issues that have significant harm and we need to ensure that everyone is aware of those consequences", Dr Tony Bartone from the Australian Medical Association said.

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