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‘Doesn’t go far enough’: Parliament recommends cannabis decriminalisation

but experts are underwhelmed

A landmark parliamentary inquiry has called on the Victorian Government to end its policy of prohibition and consider legalising cannabis for personal use, in line with current legislation in the ACT.

But is this too small a step?

The majority of submissions made to the inquiry were in favour of a more radical option: establishing a legal cannabis market.

Criminologist Dr Karen Gelb, Manager of Research and Policy at Penington Institute, is one of them.

“Anything that allows use and possession but does not control supply and distribution doesn’t go far enough,” she said.

“You can’t ask about contaminants, about quality control, or about the levels of THC when you’re buying from the black market…we recommend a fully legalised, regulated market because that allows all aspects of the supply chain to be controlled,” Dr Gelb said.

Professor Simon Lenton, Director of the National Drug Research Institute, was more reluctant to call for a legalised market, citing the emergence of ‘big cannabis’ in North America.

“Once you get large multinational companies in there which are profit-driven, really with a goal of making a buck, then we get all the kinds of problems that we've had associated with free market-driven models in other intoxicating substances like alcohol,” he said.

Sam Matthews speaks with Dr Gelb and Professor Lenton to investigate the inquiry.


Professor Simon Lenton, Director of the National Drug Research Institute

Dr Karen Gelb, criminologist and Manager of Research and Policy at Penington Institute

A Q&A of Sam talking with Dr Karen Gelb further.


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