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Canberra Liberals to overturn cannabis laws if elected

Lachlan Roberts 17 October 2019 78
cannabis laws

Jeremy Hanson said he has spoken with the Federal Government about the ACT’s cannabis laws but said he had not asked them to intervene. Photo: File.

Canberra Liberals’ Jeremy Hanson said he would be concerned if his Federal counterpart tried to overrule the ACT Government’s cannabis laws, but says that the Canberra Liberals will overturn the controversial bill if they are elected in the 2020 ACT Election.

Commonwealth Attorney-General Christian Porter has the power to overturn the ACT Government’s cannabis laws, which allows the individual possession of up to 50 grams of dry cannabis, 150 grams of fresh cannabis and two plants, prompting ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay to write to Mr Porter on Monday (14 October), warning him not to overrule or intervene in the ACT’s “democratic process”.

“The Act has been passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly as a self-governing body with the authority to make laws for people in the ACT,” the letter reads.

“I reiterate my previous advice that this legislation expresses the will of the ACT people and convey my deep concern should the Commonwealth seek in any way to overrule and intervene in the democratic processes of the ACT.”

Mr Hanson said he has spoken with the Federal Government about the ACT’s cannabis laws but said he had not asked them to intervene.

“I have had some brief conversations but I have not asked them to intervene in any sense,” Mr Hanson told Region Media. “The correspondence from the Federal Health Minister and the Federal Attorney-General has not been at our request and they did that entirely independent of us.

“I am very strong on territory rights and I don’t like it when the Federal Government overrules ACT legislation.”

But Mr Hanson said it was “nonsense” for Mr Ramsay to describe the cannabis laws, which will come into effect on 31 January 2020, as the “will of the people”.

“The fact that the Government had to move 15 amendments indicates how poorly this bill was drafted,” Mr Hanson said. “This bill is more about an individual MLA trying to get political attention and notoriety, rather than a compelling need for change.

“This was really a squabble between Labor and the Greens to see who would be the first to legalise cannabis.

“There was really no evidence put forward by anyone that this was a good idea. Medical groups, lawyers and even the Australian Federal Police Association considered the bill to be flawed from both a health and legal aspect.”

Mr Hanson said a number of people have contacted his office to share their “harrowing stories” of the effect that cannabis has had on their own families. He is concerned that the ACT Government has “condoned cannabis and made it more available for young people”, describing the new bill as reckless.

“We are going to have a situation where more young people are potentially in harm’s way and I am really disappointed that the government has gone down this track,” Mr Hanson said.

Mr Hanson said the Canberra Liberals would reinstate the current legislation if they form government next year because the current laws “strikes the right balance”.

“We don’t want to see people with small amounts of cannabis for recreational use getting caught up in the legal system,” Mr Hanson said.

“The current bill strikes the right balance between making sure that cannabis is still seen as a potentially dangerous substance while ensuring the legal response to that is impunitive.

“We would like to revert to the existing laws which have been working very satisfactorily for quite a period of time, and we will do that if we form government.”

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78 Responses to Canberra Liberals to overturn cannabis laws if elected
Kent Street Kent Street 11:13 am 17 Oct 19

OK, Mr Ramsay, I’ll jump in first. Some backbencher, that no-one’s heard of, cobbles together a bill and somehow massages it through the LA process and this somehow represents the ‘Will of the people’? Pish-posh! And exactly what problem has this solved?

Bryce Mch Bryce Mch 12:32 pm 17 Oct 19

Welp. In polarising the marginal possible liberal voters into definite non liberal voters.... There goes their chances of winning the election.

    Trace Hawker Trace Hawker 12:37 pm 17 Oct 19

    Bryce Mch dumbest thing they've said. Barr would be smiling heaps after that comment.

    Bryce Mch Bryce Mch 12:53 pm 17 Oct 19

    Trace Hawker its political suicide! Sure it will win some people, but in a state like this, majority progressively minded people , anything prohibition is going to marginalise more than It will win over!

    James Gallagher James Gallagher 1:40 pm 17 Oct 19

    Trace Hawker he’s correct - rather than use an ad-hominem attack, argue the actual comment with a counter-argument.

    Kirrin Birrin Kirrin Birrin 1:54 pm 17 Oct 19

    James Gallagher I think they are actually agreeing 🤷🏼‍♀️

    James Gallagher James Gallagher 6:37 pm 17 Oct 19

    Mark Huppert citation needed.

Dirk Funk Dirk Funk 12:34 pm 17 Oct 19


Daffydd T Blaidd Daffydd T Blaidd 12:37 pm 17 Oct 19

The LNP taking the country backwards decades at time.....

    Daffydd T Blaidd Daffydd T Blaidd 12:39 pm 17 Oct 19

    And im not just talking about this , oil gas coal welfare corporate handouts , LNP destroying the country. Oh and doubling the deficit....

    Ashley Latimer Ashley Latimer 12:49 pm 17 Oct 19

    Unfortunately the only way I see liberals supporting legalized Cannabis is if they can commercialize it and tax it.

    Daffydd T Blaidd Daffydd T Blaidd 1:08 pm 17 Oct 19

    or 'privatising' it via one of their backdoor companies....

Fred Pilcher Fred Pilcher 12:37 pm 17 Oct 19

What a surprise.

Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 12:39 pm 17 Oct 19

Lucky they won’t get elected, anyway!

    Bryce Mch Bryce Mch 12:54 pm 17 Oct 19

    Bethany Williams not now!!!!

    Mark Chapman Mark Chapman 1:06 pm 17 Oct 19

    Yeah, they'd probably also outlaw homosexuality, and married women in the ACT Public Service, in their never-ending quest to return us to the 1950s, or let's face it, the 1850s.

    Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 5:58 pm 17 Oct 19

    Bethany Williams do you honestly think we’re ‘lucky’ with the current mob? Damned if we do...

    Bethany Williams Bethany Williams 6:49 pm 17 Oct 19

    Mark Chapman absolutely!

Ashley Latimer Ashley Latimer 12:42 pm 17 Oct 19

What a joke. The rest of the world is moving on, it's about time we start the process in Australia.

    Kylie Latimer Kylie Latimer 3:48 pm 17 Oct 19

    Ashley Latimer bro, it’s like living in the dark ages here, Australia is so far behind so many other countries in so many things. It’s a joke. And the government is too busy trying to fill their pockets with our cash! It’s fuckin embarrassing

Mia Cliff Mia Cliff 12:52 pm 17 Oct 19

How can they overturn a law


Is that not a dictatorship

Shawn Mulgrue Shawn Mulgrue 12:59 pm 17 Oct 19

Political suicide!

Brydie Kelly Brydie Kelly 1:00 pm 17 Oct 19

Haha they won't be winning then!

Mark Monterosso Mark Monterosso 1:03 pm 17 Oct 19

They become the Pooper Party!

Nikko Corrigan Nikko Corrigan 1:25 pm 17 Oct 19

This is why labour keep winning 🤷🏻‍♂️

James Gallagher James Gallagher 1:39 pm 17 Oct 19

Hmmmm... I doubt they’ll be elected... Canberra is predominantly a progressive town.

Michael Blythe Michael Blythe 1:42 pm 17 Oct 19

Good thing they’re not likely to be elected isn’t it! 🙄

Chris Cross Chris Cross 1:45 pm 17 Oct 19

Coe is too conservative for this town. He needs to move to QLD with these “good ideas”. They’ll love them up there.

Riley Helmling Riley Helmling 1:50 pm 17 Oct 19

Pretty politically unsavy statement

Andrea Lloyd Andrea Lloyd 2:07 pm 17 Oct 19

When are they going to give us some of their own policies and plans. So far they’ve just focussed on Labor ideas. Too much to hope for perhaps if they’re following Federal Libs non-policy negative campaigning!

    Tuula Irene Tuula Irene 2:11 pm 17 Oct 19

    Andrea Lloyd that's the Liberal way .😠

    Jim Hosie Jim Hosie 6:00 pm 17 Oct 19

    Andrea Lloyd the problem is that nobody is holding both sides to account enough. The current mob are appalling...and the alternative is not an alternative.

Rod Riguez Rod Riguez 2:08 pm 17 Oct 19

The Liberals have no policies, only oppositional positions. Tram that alleviates traffic and parking problems in a growing city? Bad. Pill testing that educates and saves lives? Bad. Drug laws that alleviate pressure on the legal system and keep people out of gaol? Bad. Any forward thinking policy that benefits the wider community and not just their chums in Big Business? Bad. What a bunch of muppets. They’d be all in favour of this if they had mates who could benefit financially

    Peter Mackay Peter Mackay 3:44 pm 17 Oct 19

    Rod Riguez How does the tram alleviate traffic? That’s stupid. Reduce congestion on the roads and more drivers will seize the opportunity. Gungahlin is a growing community and there will always be a ready supply of traffic.

    Rod Riguez Rod Riguez 4:47 pm 17 Oct 19

    Peter Mackay oooh, look out, "Top Fan" coming through to argue for the sake of arguing. Again. Ah, thanks for clearing it up for us all, less cars on the road leads to more cars on road. Got it. Because the 'opportunity seekers' you refer to were previously getting around town how? Broomstick? Or they just didnt leave the house?

    Damien Kell Damien Kell 9:41 pm 17 Oct 19

    Rod Riguez it seems like even if the current government came up with a way that no one paid taxes, 100% employment, free healthcare, free education, free electricity and water that the opposition would not support it because that's their job to oppose...everything

    Rod Riguez Rod Riguez 10:06 pm 17 Oct 19

    Damien Kell Damien Kell spot on. Because they lack creativity? Forward thinking? Credibility. Or because the current govt is actually doing a good job, leaving the opposition nowhere no move? I pick all the above.

    Wayne Folkard Wayne Folkard 9:32 pm 18 Oct 19

    Peter Mackay move on , even the libs have almost stopped Tram Bashing.

    Jon McLeod Jon McLeod 4:48 pm 19 Oct 19

    Rod Riguez well summarised.

Jodie SB Jodie SB 3:11 pm 17 Oct 19

They aren’t going to win anyway Daniel R Burns

John Elliott John Elliott 3:14 pm 17 Oct 19

Good move. I loved watching Michael McCormack talking about Dodgy Andrew and his mates all smoking 'Hooch' when they made this insane decision. He was scathing in his assessment.

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