A senate committee formed in late 2019 released their findings in March 2020. Of 20 recommendations resulting, one included amnesty for the “possession and/or cultivation of cannabis for genuine self-medication purposes”.
It all started after the Senate referred an inquiry into the current barriers patients are experiencing when trying to access medicinal cannabis.
The committee included senators from states all around Australia, with the majority representing the ALP. It was headed by the chair of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee, Rachel Siewert, representing the Greens.
One of the main purposes of the committee was to compare Australia’s current regulatory regime with some of the best practice models current in use around the world. As well, they took a look at the financial barriers to accessing medicinal cannabis treatment and how the PBS could possibly benefit users.
There was an overwhelming interest in the committee, with 146 submissions sent in. Ranging from ASX-listed cannabis companies, government organisations, political parties, and private individuals.
A majority of the submissions were embracing the future of medicinal cannabis in Australia, whilst a few turned their backs at the thought.
Australians don’t want laws promoting or tolerating the recreational use of cannabis.
Also stating a “vast majority (86%) of Australians do not approve the recreational use of cannabis.”
They cited the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016. The same study also mentioned:
- More people supported cannabis being used in clinical trials to treat medical conditions (up 12% since 2013 to 85%)
- More people supported cannabis being used in clinical trials to treat medical conditions (up 9% from 2013 to 35%), and
- Fewer people thought that possession of cannabis should be a criminal offence (down 7% from 2013 to 26%)
We were unable to find their 86% figure in the study.
The studies are done every 3 years, with one occurring in 2019 as well. Unfortunately, the findings will only be published in late 2020.
In saying that, we managed to find a more recent study undertaken by Roy Morgan. Their findings?
Research from Roy Morgan shows increasing numbers of Australians across all age groups want to legalise marijuana.
They put the question to 15,000 Australians, with every age group increasing their support for complete cannabis legalisation.
The trend of Australian’s supporting cannabis legalisation is growing, and the benefits have already been proven in many US states and beyond.
It’s safe to say that cannabis legalisation is coming to Australia. Not if, but when.
With committees like this one, releasing recommendations into further improving the medicinal cannabis landscape in Australia, it’s only a matter of time.
You can read the full committee report here.
As well, if you’d like to see what type of questions are asked on the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, you can download a copy of the questionnaire here.