Legalise Cannabis WA MP Dr Brian Walker has said social media and the education of politicians will play key roles in nudging Australia towards legalisation.
Dr Walker told Cannabiz a twin approach — aimed at the public and politicians — will help change the narrative around cannabis after decades of prohibition.
He said: “Firstly, engage the people using social media, press, activities. We should energise the people to rise up and demand that a healthy, healing herb be available to all.
“Secondly, we need to present to parliaments (all over Australia) the evidence for safety, scientific need, financial possibilities, revenue options, and psychosocial improvements that will combine to raise the standard of living of Australians. The legislators can then craft the laws needed.”
Dr Walker said it will also be important to work with the scientific research community to explain the whole spectrum of the cannabis plant.
The party is preparing draft legislation on legalising cannabis which it will present to parliament in the next year. It also intends to call for a select committee on the issue.
Dr Walker said that despite the Geoff Gallop-led Labor government decriminalising cannabis in the state in 2004 (a move reversed by Colin Barnett’s Liberal government in 2011), the current administration has no appetite to champion legalisation.
However, he added: “They are open to ideas around the medicinal use of cannabis. Furthermore, they are very in tune with the concept of using hemp in an industrial form.”
“We have a business proposition [in hemp] which can revolutionise our agricultural space, regenerate the soil, capture carbon, and provide materials for a multitude of purposes, even for building cars, boats and houses.
“There is momentum building, both here and internationally, which will result in cannabis being released from the bondage of prohibition.”
Dr Walker said cannabis legalisation is no longer a left/right issue politically, but there are still people with a “conservative view” formed by decades of propaganda.
On his appointment to the state’s Legislative Council, he said: “We certainly are normalising the word ‘cannabis’ with daily use, but part of our job is to educate the members, and this is happening. The questions we ask, and the discussions we have, are certainly helping people to re-evaluate their opinions.”
Although the goal of the party is to legalise cannabis, Dr Walker said it is important for it to address other issues as it represents a broad community.