Australia is home to an emerging cannabis industry, although cannabis laws vary from state to state throughout the country. The most progressive region when it comes to cannabis policy can be found in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), where cannabis was decriminalized in 2020.
In fact, as we previously reported, the University of Sydney is launching a free cannabis testing program for residents of ACT that want to test their cannabis. The goal of that program is to gather insight into what potencies and varieties of cannabis consumers are actually cultivating and/or consuming in Australia. That insight, in theory, will help lawmakers craft policies and regulations.
Leadership among The Australian Greens, or The Greens as the party is often referred to, is urging the nation’s government to legalize cannabis for adult use at the national level, and in the process, supersede any local prohibition policies. Per The Guardian:
As the minor party ramps up its campaign to legalise cannabis ahead of a planned private member’s bill to be introduced next year, the Greens’ justice spokesperson, David Shoebridge, said the advice from constitutional lawyer Patrick Keyzer paved the way for new federal laws.
The advice suggests that there are three commonwealth heads of power that would enable it to legalise and regulate cannabis use, with the clearest pathway via a part of section 51, which relates to copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trademarks.
Whether or not that proves to be a viable path to adult-use legalization in Australia is something that we will all have to wait and see. Even if there is a viable path to legalization in Australia, and the other claims by The Greens are accurate regarding federal law versus local law, the political will to pass a legalization measure still has to be in place, and that is likely not the case right now, unfortunately.
According to a poll conducted earlier this year by Essential Research, 55% of voters in Australia want cannabis to be legalized and regulated like alcohol. It’s a public policy and industry approach that is already working in Uruguay and Canada, as well as at the state-level in the United States.