Leader of the Australian Sex Party and Victorian MP Fiona Patten has condemned the jail sentences handed down to seven Nimbin locals last week for growing and selling cannabis as a pointless, life shattering waste of resources when other jurisdictions are basking in the success of tax-and-regulate models.
Speaking from Denver, Colorado, Ms Patten pointed to the $US 198.5 million in taxes collected by the state in 2016 alone, which has an economy comparable to Victoria.
“Crumbling schools are being rebuilt, a special prosecution unit has been set up to target crime and new health programs tackling problem drug use are all being funded from the tax. Tens of thousands of new jobs have also been created.
“Meanwhile Australia continues to cast itself in the same light as the Philippines, wanting to wage a war against adults who are aren’t causing any harm. It’s taking police resources away from real crime, clogging up the courts and wasting hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Ms Patten.
Media reports say the Richmond Local Area Commander devoted additional police resources to the case to find a few days of video from three months of CCTV footage as the video could only be accessed in 15 minute blocks.
“Why do politicians think it’s a great use of resources to have police time wasted, sitting down, gazing at a screen to charge someone for something that is hurting no-one? Not to mention the cost of lawyers doing the same. It’s ridiculous,” Ms Patten said.
In handing down one of the jail terms Sydney-based Magistrate Alexander Mijovich, who travelled to Nimbin at taxpayer cost, is reported to have described the offence as ‘one of the highest level offences under NSW law.’
“It is disgraceful for any government to think cannabis is in the same category as rape or murder,” said Ms Patten.
“A ‘lock-up for pot’ policy is stupidity on steroids. I have recently met with police in Lisbon, London and Vancouver and we should listen to them. A justice system wasting so much time on non-violent drug crime helps no-one.
“Rather than ruining people’s lives with a pointless prison sentence, the government should set its sights on the number of schools and hospitals it could build if it took the no-brainer step of taxing and regulating cannabis.”