And now he has introduced a bill in Canberra that would remove criminal sanctions for the personal possession and use of all illicit substances.
I dream this could be the beginning of the end for the drug war in Australia.
He agrees it should be about treating drug use as a health issue and I wonder how many people actually truly disagree with that?
Why else do people use drugs other than trying to feel good? Reducing ones pain, mental or physical, somehow has became a war over which drugs we are allowed to use. And so we have more people in jail than ever before, thousands of arrests every week filling our courts, and gang violence escalating endlessly, still.
“Thou shalt not lead us into temptation” says our ritual prayer uttered across the country daily but who thinks about what it means? The drug war is a war against the poor. It’s a class war. Our courts and jails are full of people who take risks to get or supply pain relief.
Cannabis legal or illegal costs more than ten dollars a gram and this is for a plant that grows like a weed. A plant that anybody could grow in their backyard or in a pot on a balcony, or under a light inside!
Using it for pain relief many people need over an ounce a week and there goes the rent money. There are many people homeless who would rather have their medicine.
Prohibition and the drug war has evolved into a business model now employing thousands of people from lawyers and court workers to privatised jail wardens and the contractors who do the laundry and cook the meals for inmates.
Half police work or perhaps more is drug related. Jobs are sacred as we know and any idea of change in that area is terrifying it seems. Just ask the forestry workers!
There is massive employment opportunities in weed world as America has proven but we have ignored that in Oz and follow the corporate cannabis model only licencing big wealthy companies to be the growers in massive greenhouses.
In America small licences to supply legal weed have seen massive hemployment. 100,000 jobs in Colorado alone which has Sydneys population. And many of these jobs are for people who have been growing pot for decades and learnt genuine skills that can be put to good use.
But no, here we hire ‘experts’ with no experience, businessmen in suits. Most people in Australias corporate cannabis industry have no growing experience and don’t use cannabis, it’s just a money making opportunity. Even Gina Reinhardt is in on it now.
Michael Pettersson was inspired early in his life by LEAP, a largely American organisation of ex police and court workers. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. There are thousands of members in America and they had a big influence in changing the cannabis laws over there. It never took off in Australia and I wonder why.
California got legal weed in 1996 and now 33 states have changed their cannabis laws. Oregon decriminalised personal possession of all drugs in February this year and several other states have it on the drawing board. Portugal did it in 2001.
No one disagrees that the drug war has exacerbated drug use and the associated harms while creating massive criminal networks but the prohibition propaganda has gone in deep in Australia it seems.
John Howard telling parents your kids might go crazy if they smoke weed had an enormous influence. He was led astray by statistics from mental health hospital records who showed many people admitted had cannabis in their blood. No one told him weed stays in your blood for months, not days like other drugs. Your body hangs on to the cannabinoids! The what?!
I phoned a big Victorian hospital once after they stated ten percent of their beds were taken up by cannabis patients. Statistics from admitted patients blood tests!
The 30th MardiGrass program on in mid September just gets better and better, check it out on nimbinmardigrass.com
and do support the cause by buying a ticket. $50 for an all weekend pass, or $150 with 3 nights camping.