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Yeti101

Government wants Submissions on Recreational Cannabis

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From now until 24 August 2015 (edit: this has been extended until September 18 and beyond - see further down for more details), you can make submissions to An inquiry into measures introduced to restrict personal choice 'for the individual's own good'.

Full terms of reference can be found here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Economics/Personal_choice/Terms_of_Reference

What’s most relevant is that this committee wants to know what you think about:

The economic and social impact of legislation, policies or Commonwealth guidelines, with particular reference to:
c.the sale and use of marijuana and associated products, including any impact on the health, enjoyment and finances of users and non-users;
and
f.any other measures introduced to restrict personal choice 'for the individual‘s own good‘.

#C obviously covers recreational use, but maybe we could mention medicinal use too – not sure if we can stretch it to cover research, but it might be worth a try. Plenty to talk about, e.g: the cost of law enforcement, as well as personal choice, lower relative harm than other things, harm reduction and all that good stuff. Any ideas on how best to approach this would be appreciated.

#F would allow a broader discussion of other the restriction of substances/sacraments etc, with a possible tie-in to (arguably) unwarranted government intervention into religious & spiritual practices.

In my opinion, #F could possibly cover reference to relevant TGA schedules, or at least the power it has to make scheduling decisions. I'd be really interested to hear what others think about this.

Personally, I just want to argue that adults should be treated like adults, especially in areas where my decisions have negligible effect on anyone else, and that what people can and can't grow and/or ingest should actually be backed up by good evidence.

I’m not saying that this will magically lead to change. But I don’t know how often we will have a chance to get our opinions considered by a senate committee, especially one with the involvement of a supposedly pro-legalisation senator. We have (by my dodgy estimate) hundreds of members who drop in here at least every few weeks. If even 10% of these people write something then we will almost equal the anti-helmet campaign.

If you haven’t made a submission to something like this before, http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/How_to_make_a_submission might be worth a read.
Some things from that page that are worth mentioning are:

1. A submission may be as short or as long as you like. It may contain facts, opinions, arguments or recommendations. It may cover all the points in the terms of reference or only some of them, depending on what interests you. Supporting documents may be attached.

2. There is no prescribed format. However, to make submissions most useful we suggest:
•the terms of reference of the inquiry can be a good guide to structuring a submission;
•if the submission is longer than a few pages, please include a summary at the front; and
•submissions published on the Senate website will be converted to pdf format and, therefore, may have a different appearance to the document that was submitted. Sensitive material and confidential information should not be sent via email because it is not a secure medium.

6 a. The majority of inquiries are now accepting submissions via the Make a submission to an Inquiry page. The online submission site is a secure site and is suitable for uploading sensitive and confidential material.

10. Making a submission is protected by parliamentary privilege. It is an offence for anyone to try to stop you from making a submission by threats or intimidation. It is an offence for anyone to harass you or discriminate against you because you have made a submission. The content of the submission is also protected but only after the committee has accepted it. This means that what you say in the submission, once the committee has accepted it, cannot be used in court against you or anyone else. More information is available in another brochure, entitled 'Procedures to be observed by Senate committees for the protection of witnesses'.

11. A committee may reject a submission that is not relevant to its inquiry. In that case the content of the submission is not protected by parliamentary privilege. (This is just one reason it’s important to actually address the terms of reference).

Sorry to be so long-winded, I really want to emphasize that (if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, and are not currently in jail) you have a right to participate in this inquiry should you choose to do so.

The other thing you can do is to spread the word through other forums and communities (online and IRL) to encourage others to contribute. You can also 'remind' relevant organisations and lobby groups that they ought to be involved. (I’m talking about: EGA, PRISM, Australia 21, HEMP Party, Sex Party etc.)

The bottom line is this: If you're unhappy because you can't legally smoke some weed for the shear fun of it or maybe you can't get access to the medicinal cannabis products that could improve your quality of life; if you think it insane that you can buy tobacco and alcohol, but face jail time for collecting or growing your own 'shrooms; if you use ayahuasca or mescaline bearing cacti as a sacrament and feel that you are being criminalised for your spiritual beliefs; if you are incandescent that you can legally get addicted to codeine but can't buy kratom; in other words, if you think things could or should be better, then you should make your voice heard.

Edited by Yeti101
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i was looking before but couldn't find it and now i'm too lazy to search but does anyone have crime stats in washington and colorado since weed was legalised? prefer to include also DUI arrests as well

Edited by DiscoStu

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Not sure - they couldn't be that hard to find though. I was going to go with Portugal, but Washington & Colorado would probably be good too.

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Crime in Colorado
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cbi/crime-colorado1

Marijuana Tax revenue Colorado
https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/revenue/colorado-marijuana-tax-data

I've attached a Drug Policy Alliance report from earlier in the year - it's references should have much of what you are looking for - for Colorado at least.

Washington seems a bit harder.

Colorado_Marijuana_Legalization_One_Year_Status_Report.pdf

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rape was up 41% between 2012 and 2013 in colorado

"Marijuana use causes rape!!"

Edited by DiscoStu
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Thereby showing the importance of separating correlation from causation.

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Update: I've had a look at the 48 published submission on the inquiry website. Before I read them, I was worried that whatever I put in will look bad compared to more professional or well-reasoned work. Having seen what has gone up recently, I'm not so worried. It's still 99% anti-helmet. But the amount of crazy has risen from eccentric to borderline bat-shit in the past few weeks. I hope that this will improve as we approach the deadline. At this time, collectively, these submission are a fucking disgrace - perfect illustration of (part of) the reason why democracy continues to fail so many of it's constituents.

On the other hand, I've had a look around some of the cycling forums, and it seems that at least one big cycling organisation has done an email to all of their members encouraging them to get involved. I might find it hard to believe that the worst abuse of our liberty 'for our own good' is having to wear a helmet, but these bike people, they get stuff done and are clearly trying to make this clusterfuck of a parliament work for them.

As well as working on my own contribution, I've continued to contact various people/organisations to see if they are going to participate. There seems to be some slight interest from some EGA-associated individuals, although one of them still wanted to talk about helmets! (You know who you are). I'll hit some of the other forums I frequent, and probably join some new ones, just to see if I can drum up a bit more interest.

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i wonder if everyone is thinking (justifiably, i'll add), that there isn't a snowflake's chance in hell that recreational cannabis is going to become a reality as a result of this.

it does make me wonder though. somehow the word hasn't gotten out and nothing has been organised in time, and the deadline is approaching so quickly that everyone might be thinking they'll never write anything decent in time.

considering that almost any stoner on the street can be lured into a ten minute tirade on why they should be allowed to smoke, you would think they would be telling all of their stoner friends and we'd be seeing 100,000 submissions for recreational cannabis....

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TI, I agree about the snowflake. But the chance of this single action leading to change isn't really the point.

For one thing, change is cumulative.

But it's also about sending a message. These pollies live in their little bubbles (or they act like they do). If I read that submission list, and based my opinion on just that, I'd say Aussies only care about bicycle helmets. Even if a senator knows this isn't true, the this gives them the perfect excuse to say things like 'look, no one was interested in talking about cannabis law, so clearly no one in the community wants to change the way things are'. I've seen this happen on a smaller scale within organisations - you don't contribute, the powers that be conclude that you aren't interested, and you get left out of the rest of the process.

Now, of course, senators and bosses alike can ignore what you say and not adopt your recommendations. But if you get involved at least they cannot accuse you of not giving a shit.

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A major goal in my life has always been one of articulateness and the pursuit of intelligence. Never have I felt less like expressing myself eloquently or politely than on the issue of bicycle helmets. Perhaps than I can rather be succinct?

Oh god.

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Exactly.

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Ok this is serious shit though

i've been thinking about this almost non-stop since i heard about it.

What can we do to make this go viral?

Facebook groups?

Cannabis forums?

Does anyone have a list of australian cannabis forums they can put up here? I'll do the legwork for creating accounts/posting threads on there.

We need a template for people to see to understand what they need to do.

"The government wants YOUR opinion on the legality of cannabis and potentially other drugs" ?

Hell i'd be keen for doing letterbox drops.

Does the 420 political party even know about this shit?

I'll be completing two submissions in my name, one for cannabis and one about social loss from jailing fiscally productive members of society.

I'll keep adding to this thread as I think of more things to say or consolidate my views better.

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A few minor party senators want your opinion for their enquiry. The Government doesn't give a shit about what the public thinks.

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all i can think of is head-shops or hydroponics shops. some of them might even have their own little forums or mailing lists.

there is only fifteen days to go.

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Try ozstoners forum.

I've drafted mine, still editing, but I'm planning on submitting this week.

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A few minor party senators want your opinion for their enquiry. The Government doesn't give a shit about what the public thinks.

Only Nick Xenophon and David Leyonhjelm are 'minor', the rest are Libs, Labs & Nats. I'm painfully aware that the government does not care much what anyone but themselves think - ask any gay couple who wants to get married, or anyone who thought the war in Iraq was a bad idea. If you have a better idea of how to achieve change, I'd love to hear it. And with all due respect, I'll call bullshit on anyone who claims that laws should not change.

all i can think of is head-shops or hydroponics shops. some of them might even have their own little forums or mailing lists.

there is only fifteen days to go.

Might be worthwhile. Cynically, I suspect some of these guys probably think the status quo serves their interests quite well.

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Try ozstoners forum.

I've drafted mine, still editing, but I'm planning on submitting this week.

I've got ozstoners covered. Thanks for contributing :)

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A few minor party senators want your opinion for their enquiry. The Government doesn't give a shit about what the public thinks.

No-one will ever care if nobody cares.

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You should bring up tourism as it is a big ticket now people can go to Denver and buy it legally there has been a huge rise in international people going there and checking the scene out .

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links to gov sites are down.... am i to late?!?!

ive only just found out about this. honestly i didnt think aus gov did this kind of thing (theres still hope)

only 5 days left but i could knock up something. its got to change, sooner the better for everybody

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sry links are fine its my internet connection thats on the fritz

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hail all

im a bit stumped on how to write this..... what style or approach to take? do you know of a loose template about that i could base my submission on?

this is the first time ive written to gov, its a bit daunting

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A haiku maybe?

Or given our current government, a limerick might be more appropriate.

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