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WA election: Legalise Cannabis victory likely for WA Upper House, with 2 per cent of primary vote

ABC Health logo ABC Health 17/03/2021 By Georgia Loney, Anthony Pancia and Jacqueline Lynch
a close up of a green plant: The Legalise Cannabis WA party is pushing for the decriminalisation of cannabis - especially for medicinal use (ABC News: Luke Stephenson) © Provided by ABC Health The Legalise Cannabis WA party is pushing for the decriminalisation of cannabis - especially for medicinal use (ABC News: Luke Stephenson)

The Legalise Cannabis WA party says it has been blown away by predictions it could soon take its first seat in Western Australia's Parliament.

The party only formed late last year, but was last night in fifth position for the six seats available in the South West region.

Candidate Sophia Moermond, a 52-year-old naturopath who lives in Perth, said she was surprised by the new party's progress.

"We had an after-party and we were all blown away by the amount of support we were getting," she said.

[WA election results graph]

Ms Moermond said her key motivation was what she described as a need for easier access to medicinal use of cannabis, as well as full decriminalisation.

Voters 'more progressive than we thought'

"People have been basically pushed into somewhat criminal behaviour, just because they are trying to have a better quality of life," she said.

"Maybe some people are more progressive than we initially thought.

"Also the attention that medicinal cannabis has been getting recently is resonating with older voters."

With about half the votes counted, the party is on track to win a spot in the upper house, despite Ms Moermond having just over 2 per cent of the primary vote.

Ms Moermond received less votes than the Greens, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party and the WA Nationals.

Political commentator Peter Kennedy said it was was unusual, but not unheard of, for smaller parties to get elected ahead of the big players.

"The smaller parties would have to pull together for their preferences and they would exchange preferences away from the major parties," he said.

"One of the smaller parties could get up and take a seat from one of the bigger parties and this could be happening on this occasion.

"If [Legalise Cannabis WA] is able to win one of the six positions in the good house, good luck to them — but it does point to the absurdity of the method of electing members of the upper house"

Greens back 'progressive' voice

If Legalise Cannabis WA wins a seat in the legislative council, it could come at the cost of Local Greens MP Diane Evers who was elected in 2017.

Ms Evers has not officially conceded defeat but admitted there was "very little chance" she would win back her seat.

She said despite not knowing much about Legalise Cannabis WA party, she would rather its candidate take a seat in the parliament than another major party representative.

"I think having a progressive party or person in there, rather than Labor, and definitely better than having another from the right side of politics, is a good thing."

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