Plan to legalise cannabis in Australia: ‘Bring in tens of billions of dollars’

Plan to legalise cannabis in Australia: ‘Bring in tens of billions of dollars’

The Greens in Australia want to legalize cannabis, arguing that it can generate revenue for the government. Photo / Provided

According to the Australian Parliamentary Budget Office, the legalization of marijuana could generate AU$28 billion in taxes and allow the government to raise the amount by AU$80 a week.

The Greens in Australia have tasked the PBO with fighting the revenue that could flow from legalization, a path embraced by Canada, where marijuana can be purchased by adults at state-run stores and licensed private retailers.

It remains a crime in Canada to grow more than four plants at home, smoke in public, carry more than 30 grams or sell to anyone 18 years of age or younger.

Under the Greens’ plan, you can grow six plants in Australia, but it will remain a crime to sell pot to anyone under the age of 18, such as teenagers.

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Figures obtained by the Greens from the PBO show that the legalization of marijuana would generate more than AU$28 billion in government revenue in the first decade after legalization.

Greens Senator David Shoebridge, the party’s justice spokesman, said the money generated could be used to increase the rate of JobSeeker and the Youth Allowance by AU$80 a fortnight.

Alternatively, it could be deployed to build more than 88,000 additional public housing units over the next decade to house 250,000 people.

“We know that legalizing marijuana reduces harm by keeping people out of the criminal justice system, this report shows how it will also bring in tens of billions of dollars in public revenue,” Shoebridge said.

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“With the revenue generated from legalized cannabis, we could build new public housing for a quarter of a million people or increase JobSeeker by AU$80 a fortnight. This is an opportunity for a serious investment in social justice.”

While the assumption is that drug law remains a state issue, the Greens have advised that cannabis could be legalized by federal powers.

The Greens believe that legalizing marijuana could make Australia an international tourism hotspot for drug smokers. Photo / Jason Hosking

The path to the legalization of cannabis, according to the Greens, is through the Commonwealth’s power to regulate plant variety rights in terms of section 51 of the constitution.

“Legal cannabis makes enormous social and economic sense. When we legalize marijuana, we take billions away from organized crime, police and the criminal justice system and we can then spend it on schools, housing, hospitals and social support,” Shoebridge said.

The Greens believe it could also make Australia an international tourism hotspot for drug smokers, with up to 10 per cent of sales coming from tourists.

The revenue would flow from slapping the GST on sales, in addition to a company tax and a 15 percent cannabis sales tax.

If a 25 percent sales tax were applied to cannabis, revenue would rise to AU$36 billion over the decade.

Under the plan, Australia will legalize the production and sale of recreational cannabis through a strictly regulated model and by establishing a Cannabis Australia National Agency (CANA).

The cannabis agency will oversee the legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis, act as the sole wholesaler between growers and retail outlets, and set the wholesale price of cannabis – which would initially be based on the Australian street price of cannabis, then vary according to market forces.

It will also be responsible for issuing production licenses to cultivators and sales licenses to private retail outlets.

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Sales of leisure day snacks will attract the GST, as well as a 25 per cent excise duty on GST-inclusive sales.

“It is a fact that almost half of adult Australians have consumed cannabis at some point. Laws that criminalize nearly half the country fail the bar test,” Shoebridge said.

“When you legalize cannabis, you can properly regulate the market, provide consistent health and safety advice and make the product safer. Right now the only ‘safety regulators’ for the marijuana market are bikie gangs and organized crime and that doesn’t make much sense.

“These costs of the PBO show the incredible opportunity that legal cannabis creates to not only reduce harm, but to generate revenue that can be invested in health, education and public housing.

“The Greens’ model creates a right for adults to grow up to six plants at home without being taxed and without paying. This cost calculation takes this into account.

“It also guarantees commercial possibilities for cooperatives and local entrepreneurs to grow and sell marijuana, including through regulated marijuana festivals.”

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME. “The costing assumes that 10 per cent of the cannabis sold under the scheme will be sold to tourists”, says Shoebridge.

Under the plan, the commercial cultivation of cannabis plants will begin from July 2023 to ensure the establishment of supply chains ahead of sales of Australian-grown cannabis, which is expected to begin in 2024-2025, although the application for production and retail licenses would take place in 2023. -2024 start.

Both indoor and outdoor production methods will be adopted.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) will retain current cannabis-related resources to combat the black market and related crimes after legalization, although the Greens noted that most resources currently directed to cannabis law enforcement lie within state-level jurisdictions.

“The costing assumes that 10 percent of the cannabis sold under the scheme will be sold to tourists, with the potential to grow. This green gold could become the lifeblood of many regional areas currently struggling for viable local industries,” Shoebridge said.

“The community has been waiting decades for the legalization of cannabis. It’s time for Parliament to catch up, and this report provides another 28 billion reasons to get on with it.”

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