Committee report overlooks health and public safety concerns

All the major conclusions of a committee report into personal cannabis use are flawed and should be rejected, committee member Vicki Dunne said.
The Standing Committee on Health and Community Services yesterday handed down its report on the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill 2018.
Mrs Dunne has dissented from Recommendations 1-6, 10-12 and 16 of the committee findings.
“The witness evidence put to the committee indicates that these laws could jeopardise mental health and public safety, and put consumers at risk of federal prosecution,” Mrs Dunne said.
“During questioning I raised issues of the mental health impact of the use of cannabis. None of the witnesses put forward contrary views about the health dangers of cannabis use such as psychosis and related mental health problem.
“It is well known and accepted that there is a strong link between psychosis and violent crime.
“Other jurisdictions overseas that have legalised cannabis have seen subsequent spikes in crime. While there is no evidence to directly link the spike in crime to cannabis use, it’s a statistical anomaly that requires further study before we can confidently adopt these laws in the ACT.
“While growing weed would be legal, obtaining seeds would be illegal. This means cannabis users would have to interact with the black market to obtain cannabis seeds.
“There was also considerable uncertainty from a variety of witnesses on how these laws will interact with Commonwealth drug laws.
“Legalising cannabis in the ACT would not protect Canberrans from federal prosecution. There needs to be clarity on how territory and federal drugs laws will interact.
“These cannabis laws are simply not fit for purpose,” Mrs Dunne said.