A recent survey has found regular cannabis consumption to be more accepted among Australians than tobacco.
The latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey (NDSHS) asked 20,000 people aged 14 and over about their attitudes towards drugs in 2019, and the data was assembled by the Australian Institute of Health.
Of the 20,000 respondents, 20% supported the regular use of cannabis while only 15% supported that of tobacco.
Many people were in favour of harsher penalties against tobacco, with 7 in 10 people believing the use of e-cigarettes should be restricted in public areas.
85% of Australian respondents also supported stricter laws against supplying tobacco to minors.
Stricter tobacco laws and more lenience toward cannabis
All Australian states and territories have currently decriminalised cannabis in some form, but how much you’re allowed to carry for personal use and the different penalties vary from state to state – so it’s always best to do your research beforehand.
However, decriminalisation and legalisation are two different things.
Although the legal system would not be able to prosecute someone for possession of cannabis under a specified amount, it is still considered to be illegal.
66% of residents in Canberra and 60% in Sydney think cannabis should be legal for personal use.
A further 57% of Melbourne residents also believe it should be legalised, while 47% in Brisbane were also in favour.
More interestingly, 54% of respondents were in favour of just a caution, warning, or no action if they were found in possession of cannabis.
And, although the legalisation of other drugs wasn’t as convincing for respondents, the majority of people supported the referral to treatment or an education program if a person was found with a small quantity of drugs.
Is Australia on its way to legislation?
A micro party in Australia, Legalise Cannabis, received 2% and 7% of the senate vote in the May federal election without the use of advertisements during the campaign.
Jarryd Bartle, a drug policy consultant, believes there is an increasing trend in support of legalising cannabis in Australia. He said:
“Legalise Cannabis getting a significant proportion of the vote was another indication there is – particularly amongst younger Australians – a trend in support of legalisation.
“The evidence is legalisation doesn’t result in an increase in regular users of cannabis and it also doesn’t result in people under 18 picking up cannabis … that’s all good signs in favour of legalisation.
“Our comfort levels are changing. I think we’ll have strong proposals within the next five years,” he concludes.
Sign up to our newsletter below for the latest cannabis news, reviews and insider tips 😉