Greens push to legalise cannabis: Would boost Centrelink payments

Plan to legalise cannabis in Australia and use it to pay for a massive increase to Centrelink dole payments

The Greens are pushing a radical plan to legalise cannabis – calling it ‘green gold’ – tax it heavily and use the proceeds to pay for a massive hike to Centrelink payments.

A new study has found that legalising cannabis in Australia could raise up to $28billion in taxes over a decade and take money away from organised crime. 

The Greens commissioned the Parliamentary Budget Office research which found it would mean JobSeeker and Youth Allowance could be increased by $80 a fortnight.

Canada has already greatly loosened restrictions, allowing cannabis to be bought by those aged 18 and over at both government-run shops and licensed retailers.

Legalising cannabis in Australia could raise up to $28billion in taxes in a decade. Pictured is a woman smoking weed

It is still a crime in Canada to sell marijuana to a child, smoke in public, grow more than four plants at home or to carry more than 30 grams.

The Greens’ proposal, if it was to become law, would allow people to legally grow grow six cannabis plants, but it would still be against the law to sell it to kids.

Senator David Shoebridge, who is the Greens’ justice spokesman, said the pot taxes could also be used for housing.

‘($28billion is) enough to build affordable homes for 280,000 people or raise Jobseeker by $80 a fortnight,’ he tweeted.


Should cannabis be legalised in Australia?

  • Yes 80 votes
  • No 42 votes
  • Maybe someday, but not yet 3 votes

‘The costing assumes 10% of the cannabis sold under the scheme would be sold to tourists, with the potential this could grow. 

‘This green gold could become the life blood of many regional areas currently struggling for viable local industries.’

Drugs legislation is a state issue, but the Greens say cannabis could be regulated federally under section 51 of the constitution.

‘Legal cannabis makes enormous social and economic sense,’ Mr Shoebridge told News Corp. 

‘When we legalise cannabis we take billions away from organised crime, police and the criminal justice system and we can then spend it on schools, housing, hospitals and social support.’

The money would be raised by GST on sales, a 15 per cent cannabis sales tax and company tax on profits.

The Greens are calling for marijuana to be legalised. Pictured is a commercial marijuana growing operation

The Greens are calling for marijuana to be legalised. Pictured is a commercial marijuana growing operation

If a higher cannabis sales tax of 25 per cent cannabis sales tax was used, the tax raised over the decade of operation could be as high as $36billion.

The Greens plan would establish a Cannabis Australia National Agency (CANA) which would oversee the legalising of the sale and production of it through close regulation.

CANA would be the sole wholesaler between producers and sales outlets, and set the wholesale price, which would be based initially on the Australian street price. 

The cost to the consumer would later fluctuate according to market forces such as supply and demand.

Greens senator David Shoebridge (pictured) said 'Legal cannabis makes enormous social and economic sense'

Greens senator David Shoebridge (pictured) said ‘Legal cannabis makes enormous social and economic sense’

Mr Shoebridge said that ‘almost half of adult Australians have at one time or another consumed cannabis …

‘When you legalise cannabis you can properly regulate the market, provide consistent health and safety advice and make the product safer. 

‘Right now the only “safety regulators” for the cannabis market are bikie gangs and organised crime and that doesn’t make much sense.’

In a tweet, the senator said his party is ‘still working on getting the drafting right – it’s a complicated and new piece of legislation and we have one chance to get it right. 

‘We’ll release for consultation in the next few weeks and keen to hear your thoughts.’ 

Australian Greens say it’s time to legalise cannabis 

The Greens released a new paper on cannabis legislation on January 30, summarised here.

In recent months Germany has committed to legalising cannabis, joining Canada, Uruguay, South Africa, Jamaica, Mexico, Malta and at least 19 states in the United States where recreational cannabis use is already legal.

The current law targets some of the most vulnerable communities in the country, young people, First Nations people and people on lower incomes in regional and outer-metropolitan areas.

The Greens released a new paper on cannabis on January 30. Pictured is party leader Adam Bandt

The Greens released a new paper on cannabis on January 30. Pictured is party leader Adam Bandt

Removing cannabis sales from organised crime will make Australia fairer and safer. It will also provide billions of dollars in income, corporate and GST tax revenue for use in schools, hospitals and income support.

Traditionally cannabis regulation has only been seen through the lens of the states’ criminal justice systems. But once the decision is made to legalise cannabis, the Commonwealth has clear constitutional power to create a national, legal, cannabis market.

The Greens are working with key stakeholders to create a draft bill to be presented to Parliament. This consultation will consider:

  • The appropriate number of plants for individuals to legally grow
  • Appropriate legal sanctions for unlawful sale or distribution, including to minors
  • Additional taxation measures and where that revenue should be allocated, schools etc,
  • Prohibitions on the tobacco and alcohol industry from entering the cannabis industry
  • The role of grower cooperatives