Australia

NT could follow Canada on legal cannabis: MP

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The Northern Territory should consider following Canada's lead and legalising cannabis, says government MP Jeff Collins who is in Montreal.

The legalisation of marijuana in the Northern Territory should be considered, says a Labor government MP currently in Canada where the drug was made legal on Wednesday.

Jeff Collins, the member for Fong Lim in Darwin and a former lawyer, supports the NT decriminalising all illicit drugs for personal use and possession as Portugal has done.

His stated "personal position" is to go further and legalise drugs so governments can tax it, rather than rich criminals profit.

But he has only advocated decriminalisation as chair of a government committee looking into illicit drugs.

"Personally I do think legalisation is something we should look at," he told ABC radio.

"I think that we now have a number of examples around the world, where we can actually stop and look at and see what's performing and how they're actually going.

"Anything that reduces harm in the community I'm certainly in favour of."

People line up to purchase legal cannabis in Calgary, Alberta.
People line up to purchase legal cannabis in Calgary, Alberta.
AAP

Mr Collins, who is in Montreal for a parliamentary association course on governance, said Canada was a similar jurisdiction to Australia and he supported following their model for legalising marijuana.

"The Canadians here who support it have done so, they say, on a health basis," he said.

"They are looking at using the funds that they raise from this for health and education."

He said he saw a line outside a Montreal shop of people queuing to buy cannabis that was five deep stretching hundreds of metres.

Uruguay was the first country to legalise recreational cannabis, it is legal in some states of the US and decriminalised in many countries.

There are economic opportunities too, which NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has raised as an incentive for decriminalisation and legally-grown marijuana for medicinal and industrial purposes, which would make the Territory the most pot-friendly place in Australia.

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