Kevin Andrews is talking about kicking 20,000 people off disability in Australia. Let’s leave aside for the moment that these are 20,000 people whose lives are already so fucked up that they are disabled. They live with stigma and symptoms of their disability.
Say your average DSP is 20k. It’s not, it’s more like 19kpa, but we’ll round it up for the sake of simplicity.
Keeping someone incarcerated takes about $200,000 per year. The figures are from $100,000 to $300,000 depending on where they are and who they are, but the average tends to be higher than not. But we’ll round it down to 200k to make this simpler.
Since our State governments have so little vision for leadership they’ve been running on platforms of law and order in recent years. Increases in penalties for marijuana and the infamous biker laws are examples. Passed in States where the governments have declined to extend criminal investigations into the government itself because too many representatives and their staff are being sacked for breaking the law.
For every person doing time for growing or selling weed, we could have ten people living on welfare or disability, still participating in society. Still paying their rent, paying their bills, buying their food, putting that money back into the community.
When Australia legalises cannabis, for every 2,000 people who are not locked up we’ll be able to fund 20,000 disability pensioners or aged pensioners or unemployed people. Without any other cuts.
For the government to avoid considering this option in the 21st century, given what we now know about the effects and medical uses of cannabis and given the current state of the economy, would be frankly stupid.