Aussies use cannabis for recreational and medical use frequently. Some 300,000 of us are reported to consume the controlled substance on a daily basis. We have one of the highest consumption rates in the world, yet, our laws don’t reflect that. While our opinions are changing, our laws are not. A poll conducted by the Green party found that Australians have a very progressive outlook on reforming cannabis legislation. If there is so much support for regulating the substance; then what are we waiting for?
Cannabis in Oz
Drugs in Australia are not mandated or regulated under any specific set of legislation, in fact Australia has massively avoided a punitive drug policy. Instead they have been developing a harm reduction approach to drugs. However, cannabis is still illegal. In different states, cannabis carries various offences. The drug is controlled under the Misuse of drugs and trafficking Act 1985 which deems all possession illegal and was amended 12 years ago in 2006. The amended article meant that the amount of indoor cultivated cannabis needed to qualify for a ‘commercial quantity’ and ‘large commercial quantity’. Medical cannabis is legal in Australia since February of 2016. On that day in February, the Australian Government made significant changes to the Narcotic Drugs Act that legalised cannabis cultivation for medical and scientific reasons. As of November 2016, medical cannabis can be issued in New South Wales and Western Australia with all other states and territory except in South Australia and Northern Territory.
So close yet so far
Opinions are changing, and a recent survey released from the Green Party shows that the majority of Tasmanians support the decriminalisation of recreational use of cannabis but despite opinions, Aussie laws flop on their approach to liberalising cannabis laws. Attorney-General Vickie Chapman recently proposed to quadruple fines for those caught with a small quantity of cannabis. The Greens envision an Australia where the sale of cannabis is done and licensed by the state. Boosting the governments economy by billions and removing the power from the black market which holds a negative effect over society. One in ten Aussies have used or tried cannabis in the last year, the war on drugs is no longer the war on drugs, it is the war on people. It places users on the fringes of society and makes them feel like criminals. Minister for Health, Greg Hunt has been very vocal about how the Greens envision an Australia with licensed cannabis. He states that legalising the “gateway drug” will do more harm than good.
Will Australia’s cannabis laws change?
As of right now, the government says no. There is a growing appetite for legislation, yet our government officials won’t reflect our opinions. We need to get real about cannabis laws. We have one of the highest consumption rates in all of the world. Aussies are using the illicit substance daily despite risking a criminal record jeopardising their job prospects. This issue will not go away, proposals from the Green Party have incredible support and can lead to a better a safer future of us in Oz!