Australia’s ABC Triple J radio reports on how all the federal government scaremongering has come to naught as really nothing has happened much since people could start growning their own supply in the capital state.
The report says
Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the Australian Capital Territory legalising the possession, use and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis – an event that some predicted would lead to rampant stoned driving in the nation’s capital.
The jurisdiction was the first in Australia to legalise weed, and this provoked dire warnings from the Federal Government.
Attorney-General Christian Porter said at the time the law reform was “crazy”.
“I must say, I think this is, personally, a very bad idea,” he said.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the laws were “unconscionable” and “trendy”.
The changes themselves came into effect eight months ago.
How’s it gone?
According to data supplied to Hack by ACT police, there hasn’t been any meaningful increase in drug arrests or drug-driving charges.
Twelve young people have been directed into drug support programs, which is about the same number as in previous years.
The number of roadside drug tests detecting THC, which is what shows up when you’ve had cannabis, is about the same.
Michael Petterson, an ACT Labor politician who advocated for changing the law, said he’s not surprised by these figures.
“I was always skeptical of claims that drug-driving was going to increase in the ACT, for the very simple reason that for the most part people that wanted to use cannabis were using cannabis under the old regime,” he said.
Australia’s conservative medical community say the following and will continue doing so for the next half a century or so !
Too early to tell, surgeons say
But some doctors say it’s too early to judge what the effect has been.
John Crozier, from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, which opposed the new laws, said drug-driving may increase slowly.
“Our position has not changed,” he said.
“It doesn’t surprise me in relation to an illegal or any recently legalized drug, that we’re not seeing an uptick rapidly.”
He said the risks of drug-driving were too great for marijuana to be legalised, and pointed to research that showed marijuana use several hours before driving is three times more likely to be associated with a fatality.
“THC is not a benign drug,” he said.