Cannabis legalisation: Study finds increasing number of Australians supporting marijuana legalisation; Recreational cannabis use also in focus

By @ritwikroy1985 on
Cannabis
Section Grower Morgan Blenk inspects a marijuana plant clone before planting it at Tweed Marijuana Inc in Smith's Falls, Ontario, March 19, 2014. Reuters/Blair Gable

A survey, conducted over three decades, has found that more and more Australians are supporting decriminalisation of marijuana. For the first time, more Aussies are supporting cannabis legalisation than those who still want it to be classified as an illicit drug. The primary reasons for this significant shift in mindset are one, the legalisation wave sweeping the US and federal and state government acceptance of marijuana as a pain relief drug.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the 30-year election study by the Australian National University has provided some pretty interesting figures. In 2013, 44 percent of those surveyed stated that marijuana should remain illegal and 34 percent supported its legalisation. The remaining 22 percent were undecided. In 2016, this has changed with 43 percent supporting legalisation and 32 percent still sticking to believing that marijuana is illegal.

However, in Australia, legalising cannabis for medical purposes has an obvious consequence. People question why recreational use of marijuana will still be illegal when medical use is being made legal. President of the Drug Law Reform Foundation, Alex Wodak, who is also part of a group formed by the University of NSW, will present a sensible policy for Australia along with other legal experts by the first half of 2017.

While the federal government has created a licensing system for future supply of medicinal cannabis, NSW is also conducting trials for cannabis application for chemotherapy-related nausea. People with terminal illnesses will be brought under a “compassionate use scheme.” The Turnbull government has already given authorisations to carry out the trials.

While Labor and the Liberal Party mainly support the legalisation of medicinal cannabis, several micro-parties like that of Senator David Leyonhjelm's Liberal-Democrats, the Sex Party, Drug Law Reform Australia and Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) are also supporting marijuana legalisation for recreational purposes. In Australia, a major part of the $1.5 billion fund to fight drug use goes into marijuana when it should actually be used for drugs like ice.