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Green light for cannabis but not tobacco.

Media Release 20.07.2005

Green light for cannabis but not tobacco.

MP Nandor Tanczos’ Misuse of Drugs (Cannabis Infringement) Amendment Bill, if passed through parliament, will be the first step in the Green Party’s push to have cannabis legalised.

The Green Party is calling for partial decriminalisation of cannabis. This comes from an avid supporter of the Smokefree Environments Amendment Act that outlawed smoking in bars.

Tanczos, on national television, admitted to being a once a month cannabis user, an admission of possession of cannabis, an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.

One questions whether Tanczos is a fit and proper person to be in parliament, given that by his own admission, he regularly commits a criminal offence. One expects compliance with the law from those whom we charge with the responsibility of making the law.

The Liquor Licensing Authority deems a publican who fails to enforce the smoking ban in his or her bar to be of character not appropriate to hold a liquor licence. Authorities require a publican to uphold the law, and if he or she fails to do so, they will have their licence and livelihood stripped away.

In a decision handed down on 14 June 2005, the Authority suspended Cambridge publican Dean Risi’s liquor on-licence for three weeks. The Authority gave weight to Risi’s alleged breaches of the smoking ban when determining the suspension period.

“If Dean Risi is deemed as being a person not suitable to hold a liquor licence, then Nandor Tanczos is without doubt a person not suitable to be gracing the benches of our parliament”, says WIN Party leader John van Buren.

“If we had a Parliamentary Integrity Authority who sat in judgement of the character of our current parliamentarians, the parliamentary benches would be somewhat depleted”.

“Smoking cannabis poses similar health risks to smoking tobacco and we would expect for government funded organisations such as ASH and the Smokefree Coalition to publicly condemn Tanczos and the Green Party as vociferously as they have of publicans who allegedly breach the smokefree laws pertaining to bars”.

ENDS

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