The Minister responsible for Western Australian Drug Abuse Strategy, Rhonda Parker, has welcomed calls by Opposition MP Kim Chance not to legalise cannabis.
The Upper House MP made the call in an article published in the Geraldton Guardian on November 24.
“I call on the Opposition to clarify their position on this issue,” Mrs Parker said.
“Do they still support the full legalisation of the possession of either five cannabis plants or 100 grams of the drug for personal use as stated at their State Conference this year?
“Or will they revert back to the drug policy announced by Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley only four weeks earlier, which stated on page 12 of the ALP Policy Paper Illicit Drugs - A More Effective Response that ‘the Australian Labor Party does not support the legalisation of illicit drugs’.
“Or on page two of the summary paper on that policy which said ‘the use of illicit drugs must remain illegal’.
“And what about the calls by Opposition Whip Ted Cunningham for zero tolerance on drugs, reported in the Eastern Suburbs Reporter of September 21 this year?
“The Opposition seems to be all over the place with its policy approach to drug abuse strategies.
“They are sending out mixed messages to the community and it is time to tell the public of Western Australia what their policy position really is.
“Cannabis is a harmful drug that causes cognitive, physical and social harms, including dependence and an established link to mental illness.
“The Government will continue to implement its comprehensive Cannabis Prevention Strategy, which includes a public education campaign and the current evaluation of a 12-month pilot of a cautioning system linked to mandatory education on the harms of cannabis.”
In another development, the Minister announced that the Government will be advertising for expressions of interests next week for the conduct of a research project into the link between cannabis and other drugs and youth suicide.
“Research presented at the Inaugural International Cannabis and Psychosis Conference in Melbourne earlier this year identified cannabis use as being a risk factor in vulnerable individuals, who may become aggressive, experience depressive illness or exhibit suicidal tendencies.
“The research to be conducted will look into data on all youth suicides in WA between 1992 and 1998 and establish any possible link between the suicide and the use of cannabis or other drugs.
“We know that cannabis is a harmful drug, we know that there is an established link between cannabis use and mental illness, but we need some reliable research into its link to youth suicide and how it can be prevented.”
Media contact: Owen Cole - 9481 7810