The HEMP Party says that cannabis regulation instead of prohibition could include a clear labelling of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels when adopted in Australia.
“It’s stupid that we have a situation where a powerful psychoactive like cannabis is being traded through the black market without any quality control”, said HEMP party president and NSW Senate candidate, Michael Balderstone.
“The estimated 50% of Australians who have tried cannabis would love to know what they are consuming.
“Cannabis is the third most widely consumed recreational drug, and a complete lack of quality control is a result of prohibition.
“A pot smoker is at risk of getting too stoned because there is little indication of potency levels. We wouldn’t dream of selling alcohol without the actual alcohol content being on the bottle, especially given the risk with drink driving. It’s irresponsible not to have regulation of THC levels in pot.
“Australians who smoke pot, including experimenting teenagers, are subject to highly variable levels of THC.
“If we adopt a regulation approach we can undertake batch testing for THC levels in cannabis, and have the product labelled with the THC level in much the same way as we do for alcohol.
“Batch testing for THC is relatively simple using infra-red gas chromatography.
“At the moment cannabis consumption is a little like the old moonshine days of alcohol prohibition in the US. Moonshine drinkers risked variable levels of alcohol and contamination. Many children became alcoholics during this time.
“The HEMP Party will try to ensure that THC testing is part of the proposed regulation approach to selling pot.
“The major political parties need to be more responsible with the realities of cannabis consumption. It’s now widely acknowledged that the black market has actually flourished under prohibition with what experts call the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome.
“Today in Australia thousands of youths will bong a mix of tobacco and cannabis. Nicotine cravings will drive them back to the bong earlier, and nearly all the cannabis is hydroponically grown in chemicals. It’s ludicrous that there’s no research happening on this critical health issue.
“The federal Labor party promised HEMP, if they are elected, they will look at regulation of cannabis” (ALP document below).
Michael Balderstone,NSW Senate Candidate and President of the HEMP Party.(02) 6689 1842; (02) 6689 0326; A/H (02) 6689 7525
ALP CANNABIS POLICY REPLY GIVEN TO HEMP PARTY AT ASTON BY-ELECTION
“Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in Australia, with almost half of the population having tried cannabis at some time. There is growing evidence that the criminalisation of cannabis use often means that experimenting with cannabis exposes young people to drug dealers who offer other drugs and are involved in other criminal activity.
Experts in Australia and overseas are calling for governments to take action to break the link between experimentation and use of cannabis and exposure to heroin pushers. In consultation with appropriate expert bodies and individuals, drug and alcohol agencies, community groups and State and Territory governments, a federal Labor Government will develop a National Cannabis Strategy. It will involve:
1) introducing a model code for the regulation of cannabis;
2) developing a framework, consistent with the model code, for appropriate education and community awareness campaigns, particularly aimed at children, regarding the use of cannabis including potential risks to physical and mental health; and
3) establishing, in consultation with State Governments and groups currently conducting research on the topic, a legal framework for the medical use of cannabis. (NSW is already examining this issue).
Labor supports effective education. Because most cannabis users do not think of themselves as criminals, scare campaigns do not work. Health messages about harm minimisation have no real chance of reaching cannabis users unless these messages are realistic and better targeted. A federal Labor Government will consult extensively to make sure that these messages are realistic and effective.”