Australia: Senator introduces bill to allow the use of recreational cannabis.

 Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm introduced the bill to legalise recreational marijuana

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm introduced the bill to legalise recreational marijuana

A libertarian lawmaker opposed to excessive government regulations has introduced a parliamentary bill to allow Australians to smoke marijuana for their own pleasure.

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm introduced a private member's bill on Wednesday that would remove federal restrictions on marijuana and let the states and territories legalise the drug.

'Adults should be free to make their own choices, as long as they do not harm others,' he told Parliament House in Canberra.

The Sydney-based federal lawmaker wants to overturn prohibitions on growing or possessing cannabis, after several U.S. states including California and Colorado recently allowed people to buy marijuana for personal use.

However, he wants legalised marijuana to be sold without being taxed.

The New South Wales minor-party senator has been a long-time supporter of recreational cannabis as a libertarian who also champions free speech, lower taxes and unwinding gun control.

Senator Leyonhjelm previously supported the Greens' plan last month to make the drug legal in the face of bans in every state and territory.

In March, a Victorian parliamentary Inquiry Into Drug Law Reform called for recreational marijuana use to be legalised, after MPs on the committee visited Colorado and California, where it is legal to get high on cannabis.

They argued a sales tax could be levied on marijuana if it was legalised, and explored how cannabis could be regulated so it had child-proof packaging and was only available for sale to adults. 

However, Senator Leyonhjelm is opposed to excise being levied on legalised marijuana. 

'The bill does not introduce a cannabis tax. Existing alcohol and tobacco taxes are not sound policy and should not be replicated,' he told parliament on Wednesday.

Possessing marijuana is illegal in every state and territory. 

However in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, offenders caught with small amounts of cannabis pay a fine and avoid criminal charges.

In other Australian states, repeat offenders are charged after cautions and treatment programs fail.

In the United States, Colorado allows people aged 21 or older to grow and carry 28 grams of cannabis.

California this year allowed adults to buy a similar quantity of marijuana for personal use.

Both major parties in Australia and One Nation support medicinal cannabis however they have drawn the line at recreational marijuana use. 


Diego Chuecos