This inquiry was an examination into how Victorian cannabis policy can be improved. The evidence provided by stakeholders overwhelmingly supported cannabis reform in the form of introducing regulation rather than increasing penalties or retaining the status quo. This included the majority of submitters, witnesses at public hearings and participants at the Committee’s Youth Forum. Appendix A details how the Committee conducted the inquiry and gathered evidence.
Enforcing minor cannabis offences for a drug that is is widely used creates significant costs for police and the justice system. The current approach of prohibition focuses on cannabis use as a criminal justice issue, where in the Committee’s view it should be considered a health issue.
This report refers to two specific streams of cannabis policy reform:
Legalisation of cannabis for adult personal use, including small supply quantities and group cultivation: which would allow adults to possess, use and supply small quantities of cannabis and cultivate a small number of plants at home. In addition, group cultivation would allow small groups of adults to grow cannabis collectively. This is the policy that the Committee has recommended the Victorian Government consider, although it would not allow for legal and regulated production or sale of cannabis.
A legalised and regulated cannabis market: which would allow for the legalisation of cannabis and the licenced production and sale of cannabis in shops and regulated cannabis social clubs. There are considerable barriers to introducing a statewide legalised and regulated cannabis framework due to Commonwealth drug and tax legislation. This option would require cooperation from the Commonwealth Government, including possible amendments to Commonwealth legislation.