Legalise Cannabis Victoria (LCV) is “cautiously optimistic” it can achieve its target of winning two upper house seats when counting is finished in the state’s election.
The party is hopeful it will see Rachel Payne elected in South-Eastern Metropolitan, along with David Ettershank in Western Metropolitan.
With almost 29% of the count completed in the former at the time of publication, the party is sitting on 6.05% of the primary vote, while it has 4.92% in the latter with nearly 22% of votes counted.
And with two Labor candidates and one Liberal already elected in their respective regions, both Payne and Ettershank are in fourth position and well placed to win one of the five seats up for grabs in each after all preferences have been distributed.
There are 40 seats in the upper house Legislative Council. Labor and the Coalition are likely to end up sharing 30 of those more-or-less equally, meaning representatives from minor parties could hold the balance of power.
While it will take a few more weeks for the final results to be calculated, as things stand LCV is averaging 4.6% of primary votes across the eight upper house regions, with its vote in Western Victoria the highest at 6.16%.
In the three lower house seats it is contesting, it currently has 3.55% of the primary vote in Bayswater, 5.13% in Bendigo West and 4.6% in Pakenham District.
Party secretary Craig Ellis said: “I’m cautiously optimistic we are going to pick up one, and possibly, two upper house seats. But we are looking like getting very strong primary results all through the state.
“Regardless of whether we win a seat or two, the cannabis vote is strong across the state and especially in the regions.
“That’s no doubt a reflection of the iniquity of Victoria’s drug-driving laws, which people in the regions are most affected by, and which we will be working to overturn if elected.”
Ellis added LCV had worked well with “cannabis-friendly” progressive parties in the lead-up to the election and would expect that to continue if elected.
Meanwhile, Reason Party leader Fiona Patten is in danger of losing her Legislative Council seat in Northern Metropolitan.