Western Australia’s youngest Member of Parliament said he supports a push to relax laws for cannabis possession.
Member for South Metropolitan Region Aaron Stonehouse made the comments while speaking to a major Perth radio station on August 9.
“I believe in deregulation so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I want to see drugs decriminalised across the board,” he said.
Mr Stonehouse, who is a member of Liberal Democrats WA, said he had spoken to government members in recent weeks that had shown there was a push to relax existing laws for cannabis possession.
“That will take time, but this step by Labor’s grassroots membership is one that I welcome and one that I’m happy to support.”
He said he had been lead to believe there would be a push to support the reintroduction of less harsh possession laws at an upcoming WA Labor conference.
“That’s obviously a matter for the Labor Party to discuss and come to a view on, but I’ve been encouraged by the strength of support I’ve been seeing from Labor’s grassroots membership.”
“I will continue to push for a Portugal-style approach to all drug use here in WA, but in the meantime I am happy to see the law relaxed.”
In 2001 Portugal changed laws to decriminalise the possession and use of drugs if the amount did not exceed a 10-day supply for one person – including drugs like amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin.
It remains illegal to possess the drugs, but the penalties for people caught with a quantity within the guidelines are not punished criminally.
In 2004 the WA Labor government introduced civil penalties for cannabis possession but the Barnett government overturned this when it won power in 2008.
Since 2011 in Western Australia, a person found with more than 10 grams of cannabis faces a $2000 penalty and up to two years in jail.
The same goes for any person found with at least one cannabis plant and any person found with more than 100 grams is deemed be intending to supply and can be fined up to $20,000 and two years in prison.
A person found with less than 10 grams receives a Cannabis Intervention Requirement notice to attend a mandatory counselling session.