Cannabis is a “highly dangerous and addictive drug” that should not be legalised, the Australian Minister for Health has said.
Greg Hunt was responding to a proposal from Australia’s Green Party to legalise the drug.
Hunt slammed the proposal as “medically irresponsible”, arguing that it “risks the health of Australians”.
Under the proposal, cannabis would be legalised and regulated by an agency set up to monitor the industry.
But branding cannabis “a gateway drug” for methamphetamine and heroin, the Minister for Health said: “We do not believe it is safe, responsible or something which should be allowed.”
The Greens have called for a public vote to be held on the issue.
The party leader, Richard Di Natale, is calling for cannabis to be sold in plain packaging, like cigarettes.
Last year in the UK, a report warned that cannabis is a “hugely damaging drug that causes misery”, adding that legalisation would be “a monumental mistake.”
In the report published by think-tank The Bow Group, author David Sergeant highlighted research that shows “an upsurge in the number of people using the drug” in places where it has been legalised.
Sergeant called for the normalisation of cannabis to be resisted and the existing law to be properly applied.