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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 1946

To the Honourable President and members of the Senate in Parliament assembled:

The humble petition of the undersigned citizens of Australia respectfully showeth; that we support your efforts to strengthen our family and community life particularly by increased penalties for `drug pushers' and distributors. We, however, wish to register our firm opposition to any legal changes which would increase or encourage the distribution or availability of so-called `soft drugs' such as marijuana. We believe such drugs to be harmful to the physical and psychological health of the individual and therefore to the interest of the community of which such individual is part. Although there is current controversy concerning the question of such harm it appears to us quite foolish to legalise and encourage the use of such drugs unless or until it be shown that such drugs are in fact harmless. The serious social problems of alcohol should provide sufficient warning to our society.

Any efforts to legalise or decriminalise usage or distribution of such drugs will have the following results:

1. Encourage and inculcate a social acceptability towards such drugs.

2. Increase the volume of usage of such drugs in schools and the community by present users and by ``drug pushers'' through the proposed one ounce legal possession.

3. Extend the usage of such drugs to persons who would previously have abstained because of the legal sanctions.

4. Put pressure upon Parliament to establish and licence import, growth, manufacture and/or distribution of such drugs, that is, to regulate another destructive industry contrary to the best interest of the individual and society.

5. There would be the probable temptation to tax such drugs as another source of Federal revenue.

We urge the Government to increase the medical and counselling facilities for the assistance of drug users and to expand existing Drug Referral Centres and Clinics. We have general confidence in the existing law and its sympathetic implementation by the Police and Courts.

Your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your honourable House will firstly take no measures that could extend the major social problems of drug usage and secondly will oblige those who are promoting marijuana and/or similar drugs to prove without doubt that such drugs are harmless before any legalisation or decriminalisation of use is introduced.

And your petitioners as in duty bound, will ever pray.

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