A demonstration outside NSW Parliament last Friday called for the legalisation of marijuana.
A few weeks earlier, Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, indicated his support for decriminalising low-level drug use.
The only other parliamentarian to support the move was NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge.
He is in favour of decriminalising cannabis for medicinal purposes and cited the US as an example.
More than 16 of its states have now moved to decriminalise prescribed cannabis.
“The failure to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis when it is recognised as the only viable medication for many people suffering chronic ongoing pain is proof positive of the fact that the war on drugs is more about ideology than reason,” he said.
Mr Carrs position on legalising marijuana was questioned by the Cannabis Coalition’s Macizza Macpherson who said the foreign minister had a chance to do it when he was NSW Premier.
“It doesnt really wash to come out now with his very qualified support. It`s actions that count, not words. We need brave legislators who are prepared to stand for their principles.”
Serkan Ozturk from the Cannabis Coalition said a significant number of inmates in Australian jails are convicted and incarcerated for Cannabisrelated crimes.
Mr Ozturk said up to 75 per cent of annual cannabisrelated charges in NSW are for possession or use.
He claimed this policy is not tackling the big illegal drug business.
Apart from being inefficient, the policy to fight illegal drugs is costing Australian tax payers more than $4.5 billion every year, he said.
The Australian Sex Party’s Robbie Swan supports the initiative and said that alcohol is much more damaging and generates much more aggressive attitudes to the community.
While Prime Minister Julia Gillard does not support decriminalising drugs such as cannabis, the “Australia 21” independent report has found the war on drugs has failed to tackle the illegal drug trade.
The report quotes former NSW Director of Public Prosecutions Nicholas Cowdery as “strongly in favour of legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing all drugs”.
The demonstrators, in line with Australia 21 research, called for a rethink of Australias drug laws.
They made the argument that there is no data to support claims that cannabis is more harmful than pharmaceutical drugs.
By Florencia Melgar