Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party Policy
Agriculture, Manufacturing, Job Creation and a Stronger Economy
Hemp is a remarkable plant. It can be used in a variety of ways, from food to cosmetics and nutraceuticals. Other parts of the plant can be used to make textiles such as rope and clothing, paper products, building materials, biodegradable plastics and fuel.
The Economic Outlook
Australia’s hemp industry is booming, with farmers, retailers and consumers all chasing its potential. It’s forecast to reach AUD$3 million by 2023, up from AUD$300,000 in 2012. This would be a growth of 900% over 12 years. Hemp sales have rocketed worldwide in recent years. Global hemp sales hit USD$3.7 billion in 2018 and are forecast to reach USD$5.7 billion by 2022. Encouraging Hemp related industries will aid COVID recovery.
Textiles – Produced from hemp fibre, feature great breathability, durability and UV protection. Compared to cotton, hemp production is significantly more environmentally sustainable. Due to Australia’s decades-long downturn in textile manufacturing facilities, most textiles – including hemp clothing – are produced in China and Europe. Wearing hemp 30 years ago was a bit like dressing in hessian but today the fabric has been refined and is akin to a light and durable cotton.
Food and medicine – Hemp seed is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains one of the highest sources of plant-based protein and is rich in the essential fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6. The seed is full of vitamins A, B, D and E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc. With all that, it will come as no surprise that hemp is often described as one of the most nutritionally dense foods there is. A thriving local industry would mean access to this super-food is within the reach of all, not just the rich.
Plastics – Innovations in hemp plastic technology means that many companies are incorporating hemp plastics into their products. Hemp is proving to be a clean alternative to the highly polluting plastics that are damaging our environment. With increasing frequency each year, innovations in hemp plastic technology come onto the market. Today, companies such as BMW and Mercedes incorporate hemp plastics in their products. Hemp fibre has long been used, instead of fibreglass, to make surfboards as it makes them much lighter, more flexible and resistant and gives them sensational grip and buoyancy.
Building Products – Compared to traditional construction materials, hemp concrete has a low impact on the environment. Moreover, hemp concrete contributes to reduce climate change as photosynthesis-mediated carbon sequestration and carbonation serve to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide.
Biofuel production – Methanol made from hemp ‘trash’ when used in low emission electricity production, burns clean and is very cheap to produce. It has the ability to reduce both electricity bills and pollution.
Agriculture, Manufacturing, Job Creation and a Stronger Economy Policy statements
- Encouraging farmers to cultivate hemp as a major renewable, sustainable agricultural resource that can feed people and value added industries will create jobs. Hemp will both complement and reduce the need for the more unsustainable and inefficient crops.
- Growing hemp for seed can double the income at the farm gate as (1) a primary food crop – seeds – and (2) the trash left behind after harvest (average 8 tons per acre) can be used as a second generation feedstock for making methanol.
- Existing infrastructure can be easily and cheaply converted to produce clean power without interruption to production, guaranteeing local jobs for those already in the industry with minimal re-skilling needed. The power produced will help Western Australia become energy secure.
- The Federal government has an Emission Reduction Fund of around $200 billion available to all states for projects to produce low emission electricity. Major political parties are already onside with biofuel production.
- When the state is running on clean electricity, it will encourage industries to come to Western Australia to manufacture their goods because they won’t get penalised for using electricity (carbon tax) thus creating more jobs.
- Hemp farming and associated bio manufacturing industries such as plastic and building materials would create jobs and economic growth in all sectors.
- Introducing start up assistance packages for the production and manufacture of hemp based products and encouraging new and innovative industries for Western Australia would leave us less import dependent.
- Legalising Cannabis will also allow boutique Cannabis growers to produce ‘strain’ specific varieties for dispensary sales for medical and social use. Product manufacture of balms, edibles, vaporising products and fresh food would allow ‘smaller players’ to enter that market place and create jobs.
Health is one of the biggest costs burdens on the State. Cannabis and hemp are known for their health benefits and since they have been removed from our diet, we have seen an explosion of diseases such as cancer, dementia and auto immune conditions that were once relatively rare. Reintroducing Cannabis into our daily diet as a measure to prevent ill-health could reduce the long term burden on the health budget.
Health Policy Statements
- Legalisation will enable affordable access to safe Cannabis therapeutics via home-grow and licensed dispensary options. A dispensary system would enable licensed growers in small and medium sized businesses to enter the market.
- Introduce public health education and awareness programs about the preventative benefits of Cannabis and hemp as a plant based diet and medicine.
- Introduce Cannabis clinics attached to dispensaries with trained clinicians advising customers on ‘strains’ and products when Cannabis is recommended by a doctor to treat their condition.
- Offer workshops for patients about growing Cannabis for food and medicine, educating them on all aspects of safely making their own medicine, including information on production, dosing and administration routes.
- Introduction of supervised and recorded N1 trials that would speed up the evidenced based data available, through monitoring and evaluating Cannabis’ effectiveness in treating different conditions.
- Patient’s licences would ensure cheaper rates to medical users on a doctor’s recommendation.
- For patients who prefer the established pharmaceutical model, a more patient-friendly approach regarding access to and affordability of Cannabis products is needed. This could include the establishment of a state based compassionate access scheme subsidising corporate medicine, as proposed by the Barriers to Medical Cannabis Inquiry in March 2020.
- If a state based tax can be introduced on personal/social use products, funds can be directed to improving the public health system through better nurse to patient ratios and increased funding for specialised mental health on-the-job training for nurses in mental health specific care facilities.
- Make sure that doctors working in Western Australia public hospitals are free from harassment by bureaucracy if they to choose to prescribe Cannabis to in or out-patients in a public hospital. Products would be dispensed and subsidised through hospital pharmacies.
- As recommended by the Federal Inquiry into Barriers to Medical Cannabis – targeted education and public awareness campaigns need to be developed and implemented to reduce the stigma around medicinal Cannabis within the community.
Policing, Justice, Law and Order
The war on drugs has been an abject failure world wide – Western Australia is no different. Millions of taxpayers dollars have been wasted on harm minimisation policies that have failed to reduce demand or supply. They have instead created harm. Cannabis offences have ruined the lives of too many young people in Western Australia. Illicit drug offences remained the most common principle offence in 2017–18 for offenders in Western Australia. More than one in four offenders proceeded against by police had a principal offence of Illicit drug offences. Growing and using a natural plant for personal use should not be a crime. We should be treating ‘buds like beer’.
Policing, Justice, Law and Order Policy Statements
- There are too many inconsistencies in sentencing for Cannabis ‘crimes’. Legalising Cannabis for personal use to reduce wasteful spending on Cannabis related minor crime resulting in better use of police resources that will in turn reduce pressure on the court system.
- The choice to use Cannabis socially could reduce anti-social behaviour and domestic violence fuelled by alcohol abuse.
- On the whole, Cannabis users are less inclined towards violence. Given the freedom of choice, we would expect that anti-social behaviour, fuelled by alcohol and ice, would decrease with legalisation.
- Current drug driving laws are NOT about road safety and have had little impact on reducing the road toll. False positives are ruining lives as livelihoods. Presence does not equal impairment. There needs to be a defence created for medical use.
- Cannabis is a less HARMFUL choice as a recreational substance and taking it off the street creates demand for other more dangerous substances such as ice and heroin.
Hemp has some impressive environmental credentials. It grows faster than most weeds, negating the need for herbicides and it’s fairly pest-resistant. Two crops can be grown per season. It’s an excellent crop for carbon sequestration and it can be used to make a strong and pest-resistant building material called hempcrete that continues to absorb carbon dioxide as it cures.
We need urgent measures to stop plastic pollution. Our lives and future depend on it. Bio-plastic materials offer significant advantages for the environment. As they are not made from fossil fuels, they do not produce carbon dioxide when decomposed. In addition, most of them are biodegradable. Everything indicates that they could be a very important part of solving the climate crisis. Hemp is increasingly being recognised as having tremendous potential in our natural ‘toolbox’ of promising crops for bio-plastics.
Environmental Policy Statements
- We care about the future of our planet. A greener lean will give our children and our grandchildren clean air and clean water. Each of us must try to do our part to innovate, change and respect the environment. Our lives and future depend on it.
- Plastic waste chokes the planet. Petrochemicals are found in a wide array of household items, from plastic wrap and rubbish bags to plastic bottles. Hemp based plastics decompose in months rather than decades.
- Bio futures is one of the opportunities that will support future economic development, open the door to new investment and grow employment in regional Western Australia.
- Bio products offer a renewable and environmentally beneficial alternative to existing conventional chemical and fossil fuel refining processes.
- Transitioning to biofuel power stations would lower emissions and create a carbon neutral cycle and thus reduced greenhouse gasses.
- Responsible mining would be encouraged for export. Reducing our own dependence on mining will protect our water tables from contamination. Fracking would be completely off the agenda.
Human Rights Issues
- Legalising Cannabis would remove it from criminal justice system that has resulted in human rights violations to marginalised sectors of society who have been most affected by these policies that were originally put in place with the intention to suppress the supply of Cannabis.
- Dignity is a fundamental principle of human rights. No drug law, policy, or practice should undermine of affect the dignity of any person. Police strip searches looking for Cannabis intended for personal use violate that right and are a form of torture. These must be outlawed especially in public places where people are enjoying their right to freedom.
- We have the right to freedom. Western Australia locks up twice as many people for drug use and possession as the rest of Australia combined – a policy choice rather than due to differences in drug usage.
- Legalising Cannabis would help to address the discrimination being experienced by those who are financially disadvantaged by their medical condition, which precludes them from obtaining expensive, imported, legal medical Cannabis products and leaving many to face criminal charges.
- Western Australians have the right to access safe, effective and affordable Cannabis medicine. A compassionate access scheme could be put in place for patients but legalising Cannabis would eliminate the need to do this and the cost of implementing and maintaining.
- Prohibition denies us the right to autonomy and self-determination over what we take in to our own body. This intrusion into bodily integrity is a human rights violation.
Both major Parties in Western Australia have ruled out legalisation or decriminalisation of Cannabis, putting their own misguided self-interest and party policy above the public interest. Successive Western Australian governments have continually rejected our requests and petitions to consider it and refuse to acknowledge changing public opinion.
The war on Cannabis is a war on the people. Governments around the world are realising that prohibition of Cannabis causes more harm than it prevents. Prohibition was based, not on any concerns for public safety as portrayed in the reefer madness context, but on corporate greed.
Cannabis remains the most commonly used illicit ‘drug’ in Australia and for the first time, more Aussies want legal Cannabis than oppose it. (2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey)
People from all walks of life and age groups use Cannabis socially, not all are the stereotypical stoner with couch-lock.
For decades Cannabis has been called the ‘gateway to harder drugs’. Modern medicine is saying it is the exit gate for dangerous and addictive LEGAL drugs like tobacco, alcohol and opioids.
It is often said that ‘Cannabis causes mental health issues’. Common mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and PTSD are the second top reason doctors are currently prescribing Cannabis.
‘Cannabis causes schizophrenia’ is another oft stated fallacy, as, despite increased potency, demand and use of Cannabis, schizophrenia rates have remained stable worldwide at about 1% of the population.
‘Smoking anything is bad for you’, but unlike tobacco, Cannabis has anti-cancer properties.
‘Legalising Cannabis will encourage youth uptake’ has not been the case in jurisdictions where it is legal. It is the illicit nature that attracts some kids. Education is the key.
Any drug conviction can harm our kids’ chances of employment, housing, travel and educational prospects. Over X Cannabis offences are prosecuted in Western Australian each year, 5,000 more than New South Wales and twice the number in Victoria.
Recreational use Policy Statements
- Treat personal use of Cannabis by adults similar to alcohol – plain packaging, age restrictions on use, no advertising.
- The medical Cannabis delivery system is a post code lottery. Creating options for home-grow and a supply chain will give MORE patients access to affordable whole plant medicine and a better quality of life.
- Legalisation will reduce the financial burden on the court system and free up police to investigate real crime.
- Recreational Cannabis would promote international tourism and create jobs in the tourism and hospitality industries.
- Home-grow and regulated dispensaries could wipe out the dependence on the black market as long as products are not overtaxed.
- Revenue generated from recreational sales via a state based tax would aid post COVID recovery, rather than benefiting criminal elements and organised crime.
Gagged from speaking out by employment contract or similar? The anonymity of the polling booth is one place you can have your say. Vote 1 for the Legalise Cannabis WA Party at the March 2021 election.
Entrepreneurial cannabis incentives for indigenous communities
Cannabis prohibition has had a disproportionately adverse effect on Indigenous communities. In June 2020, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reported that 82.5% of all Indigenous people found with a non-indictable quantity of cannabis were pursued through the courts, compared with only 52.29% for the non-Indigenous population. Moreover, police were four times more likely to issue mere cautions to non-Indigenous cannabis offenders (40.03 %) than to those of Indigenous backgrounds (11.41 %).
In 2014, Western Australia had incarcerated one in thirteen of all Indigenous males, making it one of the highest prison rates worldwide. A sizable percentage of WA’s Indigenous population is imprisoned because of an inability to pay fines, a consequence of the socio-economic conditions in their respective communities.
In recognition that Indigenous communities have borne the brunt of an unjust cannabis prohibition, and in acknowledgment that socio-economic conditions are a contributing factor to their communal distress, the Legalise Cannabis Western Australia Party has adopted a policy that will provide both grants and low-interest business loans to incentivize Indigenous entrepreneurs in the areas of cannabis cultivation, dispensation, and accommodation. These financial incentives will enable Indigenous people to legally farm commercial cannabis and hemp, manage dispensaries (both medical and/or recreational) for the distribution of cannabis products, and to host social clubs which accommodate cannabis consumption, as pubs do for alcohol.
Moreover, our policy will stipulate that a fixed percentage of the government revenue from legal cannabis will be budgeted on an annual basis to provide continuity to the initial grants and loans required to stimulate cannabis entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities. LCWA anticipates that this policy will create job opportunities for Indigenous people and ultimately decrease the number of Indigenous offenders suffering in West Australian prisons.