The Australian Medical Association has distanced themselves from the Green’s new drug push. The Greens have a new aim, which is to decriminalise illicit drugs such as marijuana. This is a dramatic shift from their stance previously, which was a blanket opposition of the legalisation of illicit drugs.
Party leader Richard Di Natale has said in a conference in Perth last Sunday that the party has changed its stance. They have changed their stance due to the belief that the global “war on drugs” has failed and in order to be effective, there needs to be changes in how it is approached. This new method would include an independent regulatory authority that assessed and reduced the harm of illicit drugs, which would ultimately lead to the decriminalisation of recreational drugs like marijuana.
“I think it’s about time Australia had this conversation because it’s killing our kids,” he said.
However, despite the Australian Medical Association welcoming any discussion towards the impact that illicit drugs can have on treatment and rehabilitation, Associate President Michael Gannon stated in relation to the Greens’ push for an independent regulatory body:
“We should not underestimate the harm that illicit drugs do everyday in our community.
“There’s an undeniable association between cannabis and mental illness.”
Gannon believes the push for medicinal marijuana has shown that scientists “aren’t afraid of science and making informed decisions” when it comes to the possible positive outcomes that medicinal marijuana has. That being said though, he also warned of people who wanted medicinal marijuana legalised for the sake of having “a smoke legally”.
Health Minister Sussan Ley was also quick to reject the idea. A spokesperson on behalf of the minister has stated:
“The Australian government will never legalise a drug that destroys brain function, mental wellbeing, general health, employment, relationships, lives and families.”
With the current increase of ice (methamphetamine) and its detrimental effects on both the individual and their families, it may be some time before the decriminalisation of any type of drug is passed.