Hopes that the Daniel Andrews government would be more open to legalising recreational cannabis if re-elected on Saturday have been dampened by an interview the Victorian premier gave to The Guardian at the weekend.

Daniel Andrews

Despite Labor preferencing Legalise Cannabis Victoria second on the ballot in four upper house regions, Andrews re-iterated his personal opposition to reform. 

He said: “We’ve got a big mental health reform agenda and dual diagnosis and drug-induced psychosis is a really significant issue for a percentage of our community at which there is no safe level that you can use that drug.

“I just think the two things are inconsistent. I fully accept that many people do not agree with that.”

Legalise Cannabis Victoria party secretary Craig Ellis previously described the preferencing move as a “massive shift” for Labor which could lead to meaningful action on cannabis law reform if it wins the election.

Responding to Andrews’ latest comments on the topic, he said he was “disappointed, but not surprised”.

“The last thing Dan Andrews wants is for the tabloids to be screaming that he is soft on drugs a few days out from the election.

“On the one hand, he says he listens to the experts when it comes to Covid, but he ignores them when it comes to cannabis. There is no compelling evidence that cannabis causes psychosis, so to suggest that it does is wrong.

“There is, however, overwhelming evidence that the continuing criminalisation of cannabis causes immense harm. Prohibition fills the coffers of organised crime. It provides the link between cannabis and harder drugs, and turns otherwise law-abiding Victorians into criminals.”

Ellis added: “Hopefully, and with the help of Labor’s preferences, there will be a Legalise Cannabis MP or two in the Victorian parliament to help change the premier’s mind.”

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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