NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham flashes weed on parliament floor while calling for cannabis legalisation
A NSW MP has become the first parliamentarian to produce a bud of cannabis on the floor of state parliament, while proposing a bill that would legalise cannabis for personal use, and allow people to grow up to six plants at home.
Appearing on the floor of the NSW parliament upper house, Legalise Cannabis member, Jeremy Buckingham, advocated for the legalisation of the drug.
Pulling the stunt, which technically went against rules which prohibit MPs from using props while making their arguments, Mr Buckingham said the cannabis was obtained legally through his medicinal cannabis prescription.
“What’s to be afraid of? Here it is Mr President, a bit of cannabis … my medicine cannabis. There it is. Don’t be afraid,” he said.
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“This is a herb. It is a medicine. It is a recreation and it should be legal in this country.”
Mr Buckingham criticised current laws around possession and supply which includes a maximum penalty of a 10 years jail, or a $10,000 fine.
“If this was not my medicinal cannabis, I could lose my place in parliament and go to jail for 10 years,” he said.
On Wednesday, multiple drug advocates also called on the government to announce the date for its drug summit, slated for next year, and to prioritise the decriminalisation of the possession and sue of small amounts of drugs.
While the government has said it will defer further reform until the conclusion of the summit, in October police were given discretionary powers issue up to two on-the-spot $400 fines to people caught with small quantities of ice, MDMA and cocaine.
The scheme would divert people away from the courts, and they would instead be encouraged to complete a drug and alcohol intervention program, which would also expunge the fine.
However, Uniting NSW and ACT’s general manager of external relations and advocacy Emma Maiden said decriminalisation policies should be a key focus of next year’s summit.
“There isn’t one silver bullet in dealing with the issue of drug use, but that’s about as close as you can get,” she said.
“We support that wholeheartedly … it’s the one that’s going to make the most difference to reduce harm to people who use drugs, and those who love them.”
Tony Trimingham – who founded Family Drug Support after losing his 23-year-old son to a heroin overdose 27 years ago – made an impassioned plea for the government to consider drug decriminalisation.
He said it was backed by strategies which were used in overseas jurisdictions like Denmark, France, and Germany.
“I’m here to ask for policies that save lives, because it can happen to anybody, any family,” he said.
“I talk to at least one person a week who’s lost someone. We’ve got to do something to stop it.
“Let’s just get on with it. Let’s have the summit and see someone big come out of it, let’s see change happen.”
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