While the rest of the planet seems to understand that cannabis is a healing magical plant, as well as a superior fibre for clothing and building materials, it’s as if most of those who inhabit NSW parliament have no clue. Or even care.
On October 12, the Legislative Council of NSW debated the Road Transport Amendment (Medical Cannabis – Exemptions from Offences) Bill 2021.
Its intention, as put forward by Cate Faehrmann (NSW Greens), ‘was to provide a defence from drug driving detection laws for medicinal cannabis patients using in accordance with their prescription’.
Dean of Law at SCU, David Heilpern, explained to his social media followers, ‘Only the Greens supported the Bill – the ALP, Liberals, Nationals, One Nation and Fred Nile all voted against’.
He said, ‘There is already a defence for medicinal morphine in NSW, and a THC defence for prescribed medicine exists in Tasmania, United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, Ireland, many US states, and New Zealand. This was a most minimalist proposal’.
Heilpern then expertly demolished the many ill-informed and confused statements made by MPs of all political persuasions.
It’s all recorded on Hansard for those interested.
Fun fact, the war against people who take drugs is relatively new in this country.
The first Australian drug law was an 1857 Act ‘imposing an import duty on opium’, according to www.unharm.org.
The website gives an account of the history of Australian drug laws, written by Lismore lawyer, Steve Bolt, in 2010.
Bolt writes of the opium law, ‘The primary purpose of the laws was clearly to discourage the entry of Chinese people to Australia, rather than to restrict the importation of opium itself’.
‘The first laws restricting opium were carefully worded to apply to opium in smokable form only—not opium as it was taken by the European population’.
As for cannabis, Bolt says cannabis plants ‘were sent to Australia by Sir Joseph Banks on the First Fleet, in the hope that the new colony might grow enough hemp to supply the British Navy with rope’.
‘Cannabis was not consumed on a large scale (although it was readily available for sale as cigarettes called ‘Cigares de Joy’ until the 1920s).
‘Cannabis importation and use was prohibited by federal legislation in 1926 (implementing the 1925 Geneva Convention on Opium and Other Drugs), with the states adopting similar prohibition in the following years’.
Bolt also says, ‘Ironically, heroin, cannabis, and other drugs were prohibited in Australia well before their use became a major social issue’.
Not all drugs are bad.
‘In fact some are great’, said legendary comedian, Bill Hicks.
What will make ill-informed and clearly hypocritical and compromised politicians change their minds so that those who need medicinal cannabis for pain relief won’t be fined if they drive?
It’s ironic that bill was defeated in the same week the brother of Deputy Premier and NSW Minister for Police, Paul Toole (Nationals), was just charged with heading a meth syndicate. And meth is perhaps the worst of drugs.
Hans Lovejoy, editor
News tips are welcome: [email protected]