The Greens want to legalise cannabis for Australians over the age of 18, in a bid to take the drug out of the hands of criminal dealers.
- Richard Di Natale says cannabis needs to be sold in a "more tightly controlled" environment
- He says countries that have legalised cannabis have seen a drop in drug-related crime
- Under the plan there would be strict penalties for people caught selling to minors
Senator Richard Di Natale argued his party's proposal would not result in the widespread sale and use of cannabis, and claimed there would be strict regulations on sale and production.
As part of the plan, an agency would be created to be the sole wholesaler of cannabis, as well as the outlet responsible for issuing licenses for prospective growers and retailers.
"As someone who was a drug and alcohol doctor, I've seen how damaging the tough on drugs approach is to people," the Greens leader told Channel Ten.
"We've got to take this out of the hands of criminals and dealers, [and] we've got to make sure it's within the hands of health professionals.
"We've got to have a much more tightly controlled and regulated environment."
The Greens have urged Australians to look to the United States, Spain and Uruguay as examples of legalising cannabis leading to a drop in drug-related crime, and argued it could also provide welcome revenue through the taxation system.
Under the minor party's plan, there would be strict penalties for people caught selling cannabis to minors.
Adults would be allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use.
Senator Di Natale said it was more harmful to continue banning the use of cannabis, and called on Australia to "get real".
"Nearly 7 million Australians choose to use cannabis," he said.
"That choice can land them with a criminal conviction, which can impact their opportunity to get an job.
"They're sourcing products of unknown quality and purity, and of course all they're doing is feeding the mega profits of criminal syndicates and criminal gangs."