Legalise marijuana, tasers, pepper spray and Airsoft, says Aaron Stonehouse, WA’s youngest member of parliament
WA’s youngest MP will use his term to push for marijuana legalisation, a move he says would open a huge potential revenue stream for the State.
Aaron Stonehouse, who at 26 is the youngest MP elected in WA in almost 20 years, said he wanted to explore cannabis legalisation.
“I don’t smoke, I have zero interest in using marijuana, but legalising marijuana for recreational use is something that’s been done in several States in the US and they’ve had very positive results,” Mr Stonehouse, the first Liberal Democrat elected to an Australian State Parliament, said.
“The rate of marijuana usage has stayed relatively the same, even among teens it’s dropped in some instances but they’re raking in huge tax revenue because of it. They’re moving a business out of the black market into the light of day and they’re creating jobs through it to.
“I’d like to start having a chat with people on the Left side of politics about where they stand on marijuana legalisation.”
The issue has exposed divisions within the Upper House crossbench, with Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Rick Mazza and Greens member-elect Alison Xamon saying they would oppose any move to legalise the drug for personal use, but supported medicinal cannabis.
One Nation leader Colin Tincknell said he was open to a discussion on the issue.
“We know it’s on the radar and we’d be open to a discussion where we sit down with Aaron and Rick and hear both sides of the argument,” he said. “But, we’d always allow a conscience vote on the issue.”
Premier Mark McGowan said the Government would not be entertaining cannabis legalisation, but would continue to push for medicinal cannabis.
Mr Stonehouse, the first Liberal Democrat elected to an Australian state Parliament, also flagged legal changes to make it easier for people to buy tasers or pepper spray for self defence.
“In WA, you have a very hard time getting pepper spray for self defence. You can buy it over the counter, but if you’re caught with it, chances are the police will charge you and you’ll have to pay a fine,” he said.
“The law says you can have pepper spray for self defence but what the police consider a legitimate reason for self defence is different to what the average person might consider is a legitimate reason for self defence — the law is not clear enough,” he said.
“It’s a shame that the weakest people in society don’t have a practical means to defend themselves.”
Mr Stonehouse said he supported Labor’s push to relax liquor licensing laws, but they “could go further” by allowing pubs, clubs and bars to open and serve alcohol whenever they like.
He also wanted to legalise AirSoft, a game similar to paintball but with small plastic pellets and more realistic guns, in WA.
Mr Stonehouse won just four per cent of the primary vote at the March election but was elected thanks to an elaborate preference swap.