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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 26 September 2019) . . Page.. 3964 ..


Proposed new parts 9 to 11 (new clauses 133 to 140) agreed to.

Title agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Sitting suspended from 12.07 to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice

Government—cannabis legislation

MR COE: The question I have is for the Attorney-General. Attorney, in passing the cannabis legislation yesterday your government stated that this area of law is uncertain and carries risk. Attorney, why has the government knowingly and wilfully passed legislation that poses uncertainty and risk?

MR RAMSAY: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question and for the opportunity to reaffirm why we did what we did yesterday and what we have done and have not done.

It has been very clear in the media and some of the commentary from the Canberra Liberals over the past 24 hours that they are ramping up scaring the community on what is occurring. But what happened yesterday was a natural evolution of long-term policies of this government and of previous governments to ensure that Canberrans are well supported.

Our drug law reform is based on harm minimisation. The reason we have done that—why we did what we did yesterday—is that we seek to govern according to the values of people who live here in Canberra. They have made very clear over the years that their understanding of the way that drug law has worked over the years is that it has not been effective, nor has it been achieving what it was meant to achieve.

Therefore, we have taken another step, which is to seek to ensure that people who are using small amounts of cannabis for personal use are treated through a health approach rather than engaging in the criminal justice system. We believe that is upholding the values of Canberra very well and we are very proud to have done that.

MR COE: Attorney, is it responsible and fair that you have put the onus on citizens to sort out the confusion that you have created, and to sort out the uncertainty and risk as a result of this legislation?

MR RAMSAY: I note that the commonwealth legislation has not changed, so the circumstances between ACT legislation and commonwealth legislation are as they have been, that is, there is a provision under the ACT legislation for things to be dealt with in a particular way. That is also what has happened. It is reasonable and fair for us to ensure that the values of Canberrans are upheld. Also, as was the case yesterday, the Minister for Health has indicated that there will be educational materials and an education program that will take effect before the legislation commences. That is one


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