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Discover the Ins and Outs of Cannabis Use Across Australia!

As cannabis legislation evolves around the world, Australia is making progress toward embracing and using the plant’s many benefits. Currently, most states have laws that cover the use of marijuana for medical reasons, and some regions even condone recreational cannabis use. However, there are still many rules and restrictions each state should be aware of when it comes to cannabis use.

New South Wales (NSW) is one of the most liberal states when it comes to cannabis policy. The NSW Government has decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, and has a system in place for medical marijuana access. In 2017, the government approved a clinical trial to assess the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis for adults with certain chronic illnesses. Furthermore, 2013 saw the launch of the first Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation Program in Australia, which provides a secure source of the plant material that is legally available to NSW patients.

Victoria is also one of the progressive states when it comes to cannabis for both recreational and medical uses. The possession of a small quantity of cannabis is decriminalized in Victoria, though it remains an illegal activity and may still attract a penalty. Furthermore, a Victorian Government Working Group was established in 2017 to review the use of medical cannabis within the context of current state laws. It recommended that a system be established to allow certain patients in Victoria to access medicinal cannabis with a doctor’s prescription and appropriate monitoring.

South Australia has a more restrictive stance on cannabis legislation. The unlawful possession of cannabis in small quantities is still an offence and carries the potential to attract a criminal conviction. However, the South Australian Parliament passed the Controlled Substance (Medical Cannabis) Amendment Bill in October 2018 which legalized the manufacture, production, possession and supply of medical cannabis in the state.

In Western Australia, the possession and use of cannabis is still regarded as a criminal offence, yet the state government has moved forward with some reform by allowing the possession and use of cannabis for medical purposes. In August 2019, the government launched the WA Medical Access Scheme which allows certain patients with an approved prescription to access cannabis products from registered pharmaceutical retailers.

Queensland is slightly more progressive than its western neighbour, allowing medical cannabis for certain patients. The state has taken a stance of decriminalizing possession of limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. Queensland’s Department of Health also supports the use of medical cannabis as an alternative form of therapy for patients who are not responding to traditional treatments.

Tasmania has increasingly looked into the possibilities of regulating cannabis. In September 2017, the state government passed legislation allowing for the legal use of medicinal cannabis up to two years before federal legislation was passed. It is currently legal to possess medical cannabis in Tasmania with a doctor’s prescription, though recreational cannabis use is still illegal.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) was the first jurisdiction in Australia to legalize the possession and growing of cannabis for personal adult use in September 2020. Under the new law, ACT residents over 18 years old can possess up to 50 grams of cannabis, with no more than four plants per household; however, the sale of cannabis is still illegal under the act.

In short, Australia is making progess towards embracing and regulating cannabis for both medical and recreational use. While each state has a different approach to the plant, it is important to stay current on the restrictive rules and regulations set forth by each region.

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