Legal status of marijuana in Australia
Australia legalised cannabis for medical use back in 2016. However, The drug remains illegal for recreational use on the federal level, although some states and territories have some lenient rules surrounding recreational cannabis possession and use.
For instance, cannabis possession, use, and cultivation for personal use is actually legal in the ACT. Some other states have essentially decriminalised cannabis, turning to educational programs in place of jail time if caught possessing or using the drug.
While the drug remains outright illegal for recreational use on the national level, Australians’ support for its use has consistently grown over the years. For the first time ever, the latest National Drug Strategy Household survey indicates that the majority of Australians now support legalising cannabis for recreational use.
For the first time ever, more Australians support cannabis legalisation (41%) than those who do not (37%), according to latest National Drug Strategy Household survey. src
Perhaps this shift in how the majority of Australians view recreational cannabis use could impact future cannabis legislation. And with the federal government turning a blind eye to the ACT’s legalisation of cannabis, perhaps that territory can serve as an experiment of how a legal recreational cannabis Australia could look like.
Benefits of using marijuana
While recreational cannabis remains illegal on the national level, Australians can purchase cannabis for medical use with a prescription. Although the process for obtaining a prescription hasn’t been the easiest, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) have made efforts to reduce the red tape.
Medical cannabis has had more support than recreational cannabis, historically. The drug has been known to have some medicinal issues, but was controversial because its recreational use was more rampant. But with more research into the benefits of CBD (Cannabidiol), the medical community has become more open to cannabis as a medicine, because CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that recreational users crave.
But the medicinal effects of cannabis isn’t limited to CBD alone, but THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) as well - the plant’s psychoactive compound. So far, several studies support the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for many health conditions. In one such study, almost 80 percent of patients with refractive pediatric epilepsy had at least a 90 percent reduction in seizures when exposed to cannabis treatments.
Here’s a look at some other health conditions for which cannabis has proven effective:
- Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
- Mental illness
- Neuroplasticity, and more.
Both CBD and THC have medicinal effects. src
Marijuana products available in AU
Recreational cannabis users typically lean towards THC products. These are usually the cannabis leaf, plant, or flower. In the ACT where cannabis is legal, you can find such products in stores or you can grow them yourself. In other parts of Australia, recreational cannabis products are sold in the underground market given its illegal status.
Medical cannabis, on the other hand, is available with a prescription. Such products also include the cannabis leaf, plant, or flower, as well as cannabis oils, pharmaceutical cannabis drugs or Nabiximols, and synthetic THC which is either Dronabinol or Nabilone. Some of the popular pharmaceutical cannabis drugs that are available in Australia include:
- Syndrol, and more.
Cannabis is readily available in Australia, even in parts of the country where it isn’t legal for recreational use. In such cases, the underground market is a willing supplier, but its illegal status could result in jail time in some parts of the country.
But with the majority of Australians now supporting legalising recreational cannabis, more states and Territories might follow the ACT’s lead in passing legislation consistent with that majority opinion. Perhaps this could eventually be the case on a national level. But until then, recreational cannabis remains largely illegal in Australia.
Australians with health issues can always seek a prescription to purchase cannabis legally. This process has been tagged as bureaucratic and filled with red tape, but recent efforts by the TGA have shown some improvement.