Rose Jackson is a NSW member of parliament, a strong voice for cannabis legalisation and drug reform in Australia. She has been an outspoken advocate for cannabis decriminalisation from the moment she stepped foot in parliament.
We need more MP’s like Rose.
Prior to speaking with Rose, I actually had to Google which party was in power. While this was embarrassing to admit, it’s a common thread.
If we want to see a change in the way cannabis is regulated in NSW, then we have to understand the political systems behind any possible decisions to make these changes.
The reality is cannabis will be recreationally legal in Australia.
‘When’ and ‘how’ are the questions we need to be asking and influencing. We’re all on this ship headed toward legalisation. We need to start steering this ship in a better direction.
Becoming politically informed and active doesn’t sound like much fun, but it’s the only way we’re going to meaningfully influence legislation and access to this plant in Australia.
For anyone interested in becoming more politically active cannabis reform and change, Rose has outlined some required, helpful steps.
1. KNOW WHO YOUR LOCAL MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT (STATE AND FEDERAL)
And find out where they stand on cannabis legalisation. Google is your friend, and if you can’t find an answer online send them an email or call their office. If they don’t support it ask them why.
2. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL PROCESS.
Our system is quite different from places like the US and the only way we are going to make a change it is if we understand the system. In Australia, the Government (the party that has the most elected members in Parliament) introduces legislation and decides what laws they want to change. The only way we can get cannabis legal or decriminalised is if a Government decides to do it (sad but true).
3. KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS.
it’s a bit complex but State Governments tend to manage things like roads, hospitals, schools and criminal laws, while the Federal Government handles national issues like defence and healthcare. They often overlap but importantly, cannabis legalisation will happen at a state level because we need to change the criminal code.
4. POLITICAL PARTIES THAT CAN GOVERN CAN MAKE CHANGE.
To make change in Australia you need to win government and you have to get parties that can win government onside to see things like cannabis legalised.
5. WHO CAN MAKE A CHANGE?
Anyone can make change all you need is an idea and the energy to do it; big movements often start with just one person.
6. CHANGE TAKES TIME
Unfortunately big changes are often decades in the making. People have been fighting for drug law reform for over 70 years – it can be tough but we’ve got keep chipping away and working. It’s really important to understand this especially when you are starting out because in the beginning, it will seem like nothing is working – but if we don’t keep trying we will never get there.
7. DOING SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN DOING NOTHING.
It can often be the hardest thing to take the first step. I’m always for giving things a go, and if it doesn’t work out you can always try again and learn from your mistakes.
8. REMEMBER: YOU MIGHT NOT CARE ABOUT POLITICS, BUT POLITICS CARES ABOUT YOU.
This is my go-to saying. Even if you decide to disengage from politics it will still have immense influence on your everyday life. The system benefits when people are disengaged.
9. GET INVOLVED IN THE POLITICAL PROCESS.
Join a major political party, lobby your MPs, attend rallies, be creative but importantly know what your goal is. Again Google and Facebook are your friends. You can find out everything about getting involved online.
10. START CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
If we want to change things were going to have to convince people one by one.
11. IF WE CREATED THE SYSTEM THEN WE CAN CHANGE IT TO.
Often people say change is too hard or impossible. It’s not. Laws can always be rewritten and repealed, money can always be found to fund things – it just takes political will and momentum. The only way we can achieve that is if the community comes together and demands change.