In the last 10 years or so, Medical Marijuana has taken off in California.
It's a billion dollar a year plus industry (~$1.3 Billion with $100 million in taxes collected).
Local communities, councils, state and federal levels collect tax on this product or get follow on benefits from sales tax.
To legally obtain marijuana in California, all that is needed is a script from a Doctor with a bogus ailment, i.e., anxiety, back paint, headaches, ADD/ADHD, IBS/Crohn's, alzheimer's, premenstrual syndrome (cramps and discomfort). You go with script in hand and ID to a dispensary and your good to go. Easy as pie.
I don't smoke or do drugs myself (did try pot about 10 years ago, I just fell asleep), but am intrigued at how the scene in the USA has changed over the years. And in a capitalist society, once the dollars start to pour in, why would you cut off a income stream. Coupled with the weak economic climate l don't see any change coming soon.
So, should/could Australia adopt a similar approach and;
- Free up police resources
- Collect income tax on sales as a new revenue stream
- Put some profits back into mental health
- Education about marijuana
- Fund scientific research into this plant for other benefits
- Adopt a California type of system?
How do you feel about the current laws in Australia?
Wiki - Marijuana Australia
After politicians in the Australian Capital Territory voted to allow doctors to determine when cannabis was appropriate for their patients, intense lobbying by the federal government resulted in the legislation being overturned. In May 2003 the then Premier of New South Wales, Mr Bob Carr, promised patients a four-year trial into the medical uses of cannabis - but little to no action was taken.
There is no current law allowing the medical use of cannabis in Australia, and the federal law regarding drug use places marijuana in Schedule I (the most restrictive category, which also includes heroin), meaning it has no legal medical use and cannot be prescribed by a doctor. Drugs in the other schedules are considered to have medical uses (for instance cocaine, morphine and methamphetamine) and can be prescribed. Cannabis users who claim to use the plant for medical purposes are treated the same as anyone else using non-industrial cannabis.
National Cancer Institue - USA
Science Daily - Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows
American Cancer Society
Wiki - California Proposition 215 (1996)
Wiki - Cannabis in California
Bloomberg - U.S. Takes Aim at California’s $1 Billion Marijuana Dispensaries
Bloomberg - Marijuana IPOs Provide Investors With Gateway to Cannabis Boom
Harbourside Heath Centre - biggest dispensary in the USA, turnover of ~$22 million per annum
National Geographic Channel - Marijuana Nation