Although thousands of Australians are currently fighting to end cannabis prohibition, it can be tough to make your voice heard. In this article, we wanted to outline some actions you can take to help legalise cannabis in Australia.
Correct misinformation when you see it
Australia’s debate on recreational cannabis is riddled with scaremongering and misinformation. Most of this misinformation is spread by people who are unaware the “facts” they are spouting are wrong. Unfortunately, misinformation is also spread by people attempting to create a straw man (a false representation of another’s argument).
While the misinformation about cannabis is vast and weirdly creative, you’ve probably encountered some of the following arguments before:
- Cannabis causes schizophrenia – read why that’s not true here
- Cannabis legalisation causes young people to use more cannabis – that’s not true in either the US or Canada
- Few Australians support cannabis legalisation – the Government’s 2019 Drug Survey found that 41% of Australians aged 14+ support the legalisation of cannabis
- Cannabis prohibition is working and fewer Australians consume cannabis – a recent study showed Australians consumed record levels of cannabis in 2020
If you know you’re hearing misinformation from someone who is unlikely to be open-minded, shut it down with this conversation killer: “have you got a source for that?” or even “did you know Australians consumed more cannabis than ever in 2020, so is prohibition even working?”
If you want to see misinformation in action, watch WA’s Education Minister embarrass herself here.
Keep yourself informed with research
Whether you’re a veteran cannabis advocate or a new face in the fight, it’s essential to stay informed about the latest research on cannabis, cannabinoids, and hemp.
If you want to access the latest peer-reviewed literature about cannabis, you can always check out the Journal of Cannabis Research or the journal Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids. Both of these journals publish high-quality academic papers from world-renowned researchers.
Australia also has many academic organisations who conduct research on cannabis, including the University of Sydney’s Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics, Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute, and the Australian Centre for Cannabinoid Clinical and Research Excellence (ACRE). ACRE is a cross-institutional organisation funded by the Australian Governments research council.
Australia’s Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) are also a great source of information, though they advocate for decriminalisation over legalisation.
Support organisations who fight for cannabis
Although many Australians are fighting to reform our damaging drug laws, legalisation will be a joint effort between citizens, pro-cannabis organisations, and politicians.
Australia has two primary federal political parties that fight for cannabis legalisation, including the HEMP Party and the Greens. A number of independent organisations also advocate for legalisation, including:
This statement from Federal Minister Greg Hunt previously made it clear that cannabis laws are the responsibility of Australia’s states and territories.
The Government does not support legalising cannabis for recreational use but notes that issues relating to prohibition legislation deregulation and decriminalisation of Cannabis are primarily the responsibilities of the states and territories.
As such, you might choose to join one of these state-based parties to push for legalisation in your state.
If you are feeling extra passionate, you can also start your own pro-pot political party.
Support cannabis legalisation bills
Australia has already seen several cannabis legalisation bills and will likely see more in the future. While it is up to our politicians to pass these bills into laws, we need to rally support around these bills if we want to legalise cannabis.
Next time a bill or inquiry appears in federal or state parliament, make sure you:
- Read the bill/ inquiry
- Make a submission (if applicable)
- Tell your friends and family about the proposed legislation and what it means
- Contact your relevant member or senator about it
- Rally support in your community
- Keep an eye on key updates and share them where important
You can always check for new bills in Federal parliament here, and bills in your state or territory here:
Rally signatures for petitions
Although it will ultimately take a bill to legalise cannabis, petitions are an important advocacy tool for the Australian public. We saw this in action with the 2018 cannabis petition which garnered 12,887 signatures and with the 2020 Queensland petition which gained 14,736 signatures – which ended up becoming the most signed petition in the year.
Both petitions rallied support around the legalisation of cannabis and forced the issue into the public eye – making it impossible for politicians to ignore.
Next time a petition is filed that you support, make sure you sign the petition and collect signatures within your local community.
Ask your local politicians about their position on cannabis
Whether or not you’re aware of your local member, they are representing you and your views in parliament. If you want to legalise cannabis, ask your local politicians where they stand and vote accordingly.
It’s also important to look at who your local politicians are affiliated with. These groups are some of Australia’s strongest anti-cannabis advocates.
- The Australian Christian Lobby
- Family Voice Australia
- Drug Free Australia
- The National Liberal Party (NLP)
- One Nation
Talk to your friends and family about Australia’s cannabis laws
Legalising cannabis is a nuanced topic that everyone will have a slightly different opinion on. We don’t all have to agree, but if you want to fight for cannabis, it’s important you make sure your loved ones know why you care about legalisation.
You don’t have to approach this conversation alone either. Here are some awesome resources you can share:
- ‘Why Marijuana Should Be Legal’ by James King of Cannabis Place
- ‘Greenlight’ a documentary by Ned Donohoe
- ‘Marijuana Australiana’ by Dr. John Jiggens
Fighting against Australia’s cannabis laws will take a joint effort from millions of Australians.
If you’d like to learn more about why Australia should legalise cannabis, click here.