In Australia, it is illegal to use or possess cannabis. However, the laws governing cannabis use differ from state to state.
Most Australian states, for example, have “marijuana warning” programs. These programs are frequently based on rules emphasizing treatment and drug prevention over punishment.
The Marijuana Warning Scheme in New South Wales has been in place since April 2000 and is managed by the state police. The government created in response to the NSW Drug Summit’s findings that arresting people for minor drug-related offenses is not always an adequate response.
The plan calls for adult offenders convicted of minor marijuana-related offenses (possession of 15 grams or less) to face formal reprimands. It uses police intervention to help people seek treatment and support.
The plan does not apply to those caught distributing marijuana, and police can still charge offenders formally. Drug traffickers are still being arrested and prosecuted under the 1985 Trafficking and Misuse of Drugs Act.
If the offender possesses up to 25 grams of marijuana, they are fined A$100 and ordered to attend a Drug Prevention Program.
However, the pressure to change the laws grows by the day, and celebrities such as deputy Rose Jackson have asked that this state be decriminalized. This is expected to inspire other Australian states to follow suit in the future.
Until recently, the Simplified Offense for Possession of Marijuana Regulations (SCON) in the Australian capital region punished possession of up to 25 grams, or two plants, with a A$200 fine.
The new rules for personal cannabis use went into effect on January 31, 2020. Possession of up to 50 grams of dry marijuana or up to 150 grams of fresh marijuana is now legal.
Furthermore, you may cultivate up to two cannabis plants per person, with four plants per household, and consume cannabis in your home for personal use.
The Marijuana Warning Program establishes a warning notice for misdemeanor marijuana offenses for offenders over the age of 17 throughout the state of Victoria.
The offender only needs to have a small amount of non-trafficking marijuana, admit to the crime, and agree to the reprimand.
A person can only have two bookings, and each booking comes with a voluntary cannabis education program.
It is illegal in Western Australia to possess, cultivate, or supply marijuana. However, under the Cannabis Intervention Scheme (CIR), police can issue a CIR notice to anyone 14 years of age or older who is found with small amounts of marijuana and smoking paraphernalia.
If caught with less than 10 grams, the offender must attend an individual orientation session. A higher amount can result in a $2,000 fine, two years in prison, or both.
Possession of cannabis in Queensland is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Convictions for smaller amounts, on the other hand, are uncommon.
If the amount is less than 50 grams, the offender must be offered a drug prevention program with a mandatory assessment and a brief intervention program.
Although the Northern Territory has no marijuana warning programs, the laws are pretty lax. If an offender is caught with more than 50 grams of marijuana, one gram of oil, ten grams of resin, or seeds, they face a $200 fine.
Recreational cannabis is illegal in South Australia. There are no legal consequences for possessing small amounts, but if you are caught with more than 25 grams, you will be fined AU$125.
If the amount of cannabis is between 25 and 100 grams, the price rises to AU$300. Some campaigners want marijuana to be classified as “other controlled drugs,” which would mean a $2,000 fine or three years in prison.
In some cases, the police have the authority to use their discretion. In Tasmania, for example, the Court Mandated Drug Prevention Program (CMD) allows up to three incidents of possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana to go unpunished. However, with each subsequent warning, there is a hierarchy of intervention and treatment.
Can cannabis be purchased in Australia?
Cannabis sales and distribution are prohibited throughout Australia. However, as with possession and consumption, the regulations differ depending on the territory.
In Victoria, for example, the penalty is determined by the amount of cannabis found on the offender, using the following scale:
- Small amount: up to 50 grams, for personal consumption
- Retail quantities start at 250 grams or 10 plants.
- Commercial quantities start at 25 kilograms or 100 plants.
- Sizeable commercial portion: starting at 250 kilograms or 1,000 plants
If the court determines that the offender intended to deal in cannabis, the following penalties will apply:
- A prison sentence of up to 15 years, a fine of up to 1,800 sanction units, or both convictions
- In addition, for commercial amounts, 25 years in prison, a fine of up to 3,000 penalty units, or both convictions are possible.
- If the offender is under 18, their sentence is reduced to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to 2,400 penalty units, or both.
Cannabis is classified as “sch 2,” which means that anyone found supplying cannabis to others (even in small amounts) can face up to 15 years in prison if the cannabis is provided to a minor or a person with a disability or intellectual or educational deficiencies, the penalty increases to 20 years.
In Queensland, on the other hand, the law operates differently, with drugs classified into two categories:’sch 1′ and’sch 2′.
Trafficking is a more serious crime that carries a 20-year prison sentence.
To give another example, in the Northern Territory, those who supply cannabis face prison sentences of up to 25 years if they sell the drug to a minor.
Can marijuana be grown in Australia?
Growing cannabis is illegal in Australia, but the laws vary by state, as do possession and sale.
The penalties for growing cannabis in New South Wales are based on the number of plants, not their size or gender.
This means that even though the plants discovered are only seedlings, they will be treated as full-grown plants—furthermore, those who grow a “commercial quantity” of cannabis face even harsher penalties.
Tasmania’s situation is quite different. Possession of any “controlled plant” can result in prison sentences of up to two years, and if more than 20 plants are possessed, it will be considered a crop intended for sale, in which case the penalties are likely to be even harsher.
Can marijuana seeds be shipped to Australia?
Only patients with a valid prescription can currently purchase and consume medical cannabis. If you are planning to purchase cannabis seeds, Herbies offer detailed information regarding quality marijuana seeds in Australia.
All cannabis must also comply with the Therapeutic Goods Act and can only be obtained legally from a doctor. As a result, sending seeds to the country is prohibited.
Medical marijuana in Australia
Cannabis for therapeutic purposes was legalized in 2016, subject to market regulation by the Federal Government’s Office of Drug Control. The government legalized the prescription of cannabis-based medicines in 2017, and a list of authorized uses was created.
A stethoscope and an orange tube containing cannabis
However, there are also state laws that differ by region.
The medical marijuana industry
The Australian government is eager to commercialize the country’s domestic marijuana market.
The government legalized the export of medical cannabis products in February 2018 due to a regulatory change under the Narcotics Amendment Act.
The scheme has issued 113 marijuana cultivation and production licenses since mid-2020 (37 medical cannabis licenses for commercial cultivation, 11 licenses for cannabis research, 36 cannabis manufacturing licenses, and 29 licenses for import).
Only 44 license holders are publicly viewable on the Australian Government Department of Health website as of August 2021.
Despite the sector’s rapid growth, some prominent industry figures praised the decision. According to Freshleaf Managing Director Cassandra Hunt, “the Australian medical cannabis market continues its strong growth trajectory, with revenue expected to double in 2021, from approximately $100 million last year.” There is also good news for patients as drug prices continue to fall.
Increasing demand keeps prices low, and new products are flooding the cannabis market, which appears to be very promising for medical users.
It is important to know the following about cannabis production in Australia:
- Cannabis is the illegal substance most commonly used by the country’s youth. It has been used by 16% of students between the ages of 12 and 17.
- According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime data, Australia ranks ninth in terms of cannabis users.
- Even the government’s website acknowledges the country’s prevalence of cannabis use, stating that it is “relatively easy to obtain.”
Since other countries, such as Portugal and South Africa, have decriminalized cannabis (and Canada has legalized it), Australia appears likely to follow suit.
The government has already demonstrated relatively progressive attitudes toward medicinal cannabis and industrial hemp, suggesting that legalization is only a matter of time.