Should CBD Be Legal In Australia

The Australian government should reclassify CBD to make it legally and easily accessible

In 2016, the Australia Government legalized CBD for medical use. Today, a limited number of Australians -- those suffering from chronic or terminal diseases -- can legally use CBD oil for the treatment of various medical conditions.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that nearly 100,000 people who aren’t able to access CBD legally are sourcing it illegally because of the complicated and lengthy prescription process. Although CBD is available only via prescription in the country, a variety of bureaucratic red tape has made obtaining a CBD prescription very challenging. As a result, despite its legality, CBD has remained out of reach for most Australians, forcing them to the black market as an alternative supply source.

A 2016 CannabisExpress poll showed that Australians were largely in favor of patient access to medical cannabis. Source

In 2017, CBD was shifted from the Schedule 9 drug category to Schedule 4. However, this simply means CBD is legally available to Australians, but only as prescribed medicine. Thus, restrictions on CBD oil still remain, regardless of how little THC levels it contains. 

Currently, you can’t buy CBD over the counter in Australia; you’d have to wait for legislation legalising its use in Australia, as it is in the United States and Europe, for purposes other than medical use. If that ever happens, expect a flood of CBD products everywhere, from skin care and wellness products to drinks and beverages.

Further complicating the CBD landscape is the fact that it’s legal to grow hemp and sell its products -- including its oils -- in Australia, but CBD oil, whether hemp-based or not, is still prohibited for recreational use.


Is CBD legal in Germany and the UK?

Though many people still believe that CBD oil is illegal in the United Kingdom (UK), the opposite is true -- CBD is completely legal. More specifically, CBD products that are derived from one of the European Union-approved 63 industrial hemp strains are legal.  This is because CBD is not a controlled substance and people can use it without any restrictions.

However, possessing, buying, and selling cannabis oils are still illegal in the UK. Thus, though you won’t be able to sell or buy cannabis oils in the country, many legally use CBD oil for medicinal purposes. To be legal, CBD oil in the UK can have only a maximum of 0.2 percent delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content -- anything higher is illegal and strictly prohibited. The total number of such CBD oil users has increased in the UK in recent years.


Pros of making CBD legal in Australia

  • Numerous scientific studies have shown therapeutic benefits of the CBD in the treatment of diseases such as anxiety, epilepsy, cancer symptoms, depression, and more. Thus, legalizing CBD offers those suffering from certain conditions a safer, healthier, and less expensive remedy.
  • Legalizing CBD at the federal level will result in significant tax revenue for the Australian government.
  • Legal CBD will reduce the potential for abuse of low-CBD cannabis, since its psychoactive component -- THC -- would be significantly low.
  • Federally-legalized CBD strains would introduce a whole new employment market with licensed CBD dispensaries, cultivation, and other related jobs.
  • Legalizing CBD will considerably reduce the functions of the black market, if not completely destroy it, thus reducing cannabis-related violence and crime rate.


Is CBD legal in Australia? Source


Cons of making CBD legal in Australia

  • Only CBD strains with very low THC would be legalized and decriminalized, which means people who get health benefits from THC would reap no benefits.
  • Limiting hemp and high-CBD strains will limit the medical conditions that cannabis could treat.
  • The tax revenue would be ostensibly greater after the legalization of more strains of medical cannabis.


Final words -- reclassifying CBD probably makes sense

Global health experts at the United Nations recommend that cannabis and its key components should be formally rescheduled under international drug treaties.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the whole-plant marijuana and cannabis resin to be reclassified from Schedule IV. The WHO also wants THC to be removed from a separate 1971 drug treaty, and added to Schedule I of the 1961 convention. The body is planning to make it clear that cannabidiol and CBD-focused products with no more than 0.2 percent THC content are now beyond international controls.

Paying more attention to the WHO’s recommendations, as well as the growing statistics of CBD use within the country, would be a beneficial step for Australia. Any reasonable steps that can significantly reduce the existence of the black market (if not eliminate it) and provide a healthy, crime-free environment in the nation should certainly be on the table as a driver for future reform.