Victoria's Legal and Social Issues Committee has launched an inquiry into cannabis use within the state.
The Legal and Social Issues Committee of Victoria's Legislative Council has announced that they have set up an inquiry into cannabis use, to determine how Victorians feel about the current laws surrounding the drug.
While the inquiry may not necessarily lead to changes in legislation, it does reflect the growing trend within the Oceania Region to take a more liberal approach toward cannabis use. At the start of this year, for example, the Australian Capital Territory legalized cannabis possession for personal use.
Additionally, New Zealand has its upcoming cannabis referendum in September, and more recently, Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration recommended that CBD medicines be available over the counter at pharmacies. Now, the Victorian Inquiry suggests that there is at least the consideration of changes in cannabis legislation.
"We want to hear from community members about the current restrictions on the use of cannabis in Victoria and whether these are appropriate," said Committee Chair Fiona Patten in a statement.
"We're interested in hearing people's views on whether the use of cannabis should remain legal for medical treatment only or whether current restrictions on use of cannabis should be changed," Patten continued.
"We are not alone in considering the impacts of cannabis on people who use it, and on their families and carers. It will be important for us to examine how these issues are being tackled in other countries so that we can learn from their experiences."
The inquiry seeks to find the best way to prevent children from access cannabis while educating them on the plant, in addition to considering how cannabis legalization could coincide with public health issues. Finally, the inquiry also seeks to minimize criminal activity and eliminate the illegal cannabis trade in Victoria.
The inquiry will remain open until August 31st this year, and online submissions can be made on the committee's website.
Patten encouraged people who have an interest in the issue to make a submission before the committee. "It's crucial that our own community members have the opportunity to get involved with this conversation."
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