Cannabis Culture: A Thriving Community
Mostly when people think about culture, people from different regions come to mind. Cannabis culture is a term used to describe a shared set of beliefs, ideals, and practices among marijuana enthusiasts. Cannabis culture encompasses various cannabis-related customs such as smoking trends, growing methods, new strains and holidays such as 420.
What is 420 and Why is it Associated with Marijuana?
420 – Also known as 4/20 or April 20th – is an annual holiday celebrated by cannabis consumers worldwide in honour of cannabis culture. In celebration, cannabis consumers join together in different groups and communities. Often 420 is a day spent advocating for the acceptance of cannabis in societies and legalisation.
Following the legalisation of cannabis in different countries around the world, its consumers have become increasingly vocal in expressing their desire for the substance to be made legal.
Cannabis Laws in Perth
Situated in Western Australia, Perth shares the same cannabis laws as the wider state. In Western Australia, individuals caught in possession of 10g or less of cannabis will receive a Cannabis Intervention Requirement notice. On receiving this notice, the individual is required to attend one-on-one sessions with a counselor. If caught in possession of more than 10g, the individual faces the possibility of a fine of up to $2,000 or a two year jail sentence. If caught in possession of over 100g of marijuana, the stakes are steeper. One would be considered a dealer and would face a fine worth A$20,000, a two year prison sentence or both.
Asides cannabis possession, it is illegal to display and sell cannabis smoking paraphernalia in shops.
What does 420 mean in Perth?
In Perth — as with many societies with a progressive stance on cannabis — 420 is marked by numerous festivities. Individuals participate in celebratory activities including get-togethers, picnics and peaceful protests. These protests are geared at sparking debate about the current legal and social status of cannabis in Australia.
In 2018, one of the most notable 420 celebrations in Perth was held. The celebrations were a picnic called ‘Hemp Awareness Day’ and were organised by hempliberation.com. The picnic’s primary aim was to ‘regulate, educate and medicate the use of the drug’. It featured a myriad of side attractions including food stalls and live music. The picnic was held at Pioneer Park in Fremantle.
As is common practice with 420 celebrations, many individuals possessed cannabis and even took to using it in public. This did not sit well with local law enforcement. Ironically arriving at 4:20pm, local police raided the park and confiscated cannabis from a number of individuals. Picnic attendees expressed their disdain for the actions of the police with heavy boos and raised voices. This did nothing to deter the officers from obtaining the details of all those caught using and in possession of the substance.
An attendee described the situation, “They weren’t really welcome here, there’s no crime here, go and find the ice it’s another drugs. Cannabis is not a crime”. As reported in The Western Australian, this particular attendee travelled from Mount Baker to Fremantle to support the event .
Could We Soon Be Seeing Changes?
The events at Fremantle followed the announcement of the Green Party’s intentions to pursue the legalisation of marijuana. Voiced by the party’s leader, Richard Di Natale, the party admonishes the government to take the substance ‘out of the hands of dealers and criminals’.
Despite the party’s desire to turn the tide on cannabis, it is highly unlikely that we will be witnessing any changes in Australian cannabis laws soon. This is particularly evident with the delay in legislation of a bill which could potentially legalise cannabis in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Whatever the case may be, many Australians and platforms such as Cannabis Express continue to advocate for the legalisation of cannabis.