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Australia Poll Finds 50% in Favor of Recreational Cannabis Reform |

In fifty years, we will look back on the prohibition of cannabis with the same puzzled perspective as how the 1930s saw alcohol prohibition. It may actually be more complex than that. It is known that alcohol can be addictive and dangerous. Cannabis is not this.

Perhaps the end of history’s condemnation for this time period is only half a century away. But it could be a long way off. It is very likely that cannabis will be decriminalized in the next 10 years. The industry has made leaps and bounds in a decade since Colorado and Washington State approved voter-driven referendums for a recreational cannabis market.

Australia is reaching a tipping point in support of recreational reform, just like Europe. A poll conducted online by Essential Research from March 30 to April 2, this year found that 50% of the respondents were supportive of complete reform. This number is almost double that recorded by the National Drug Strategy Household Survey in 2013.

This sea-change represents a doubling of support for reform Down Under—and further in just six years.

58% support allowing patients grow medicinal cannabis, while 62% favor scrapping existing drug driving laws. 

This huge shift in public opinion is also in sharp contrast with current government-backed drugs policy, which has seen marijuana-related arrests rise 23% in the same time period.

Unharm, the non profit that conducted the Australian survey on politicians, says this clearly shows how out-of-step the community is in regard to the issue.

This is not a theme that is only common in Australia. 

There is an urgent need for federal drug policy reform, even if it’s international.

Australian Cannabis Reform

Australia is moving in a more coordinated manner with the rest of the world on matters such as federal cannabis reform. The national government declared that commercial cannabis cultivation would be legalized for scientific and medical purposes in October 2015. Slowly, however, reforms have been made since. 

According to current data, cannabis continues to be the world’s most widely used “illicit” drug, with an estimated 3.9% of the world’s population—about 192 million people—using the drug on a regular basis. These figures are even higher in Australia. As of 2020, 11% used cannabis at minimum once per year.

What is the reason that Political Will remains a lagging popular choice? Support—Everywhere?

Australia is not the only nation where legalization support has reached the halfway mark. Earlier this month, another survey made international news—namely that over 50% of Europeans also supported recreational reform. Two-thirds (or more) of Americans are Democrat-leaning, while just over 50% support reform. However, this varies from one state to the next.

Why, then, has reform—even of the medical kind—stalled everywhere?

Excuses, Excuses

Unforgivable delays have resulted in punts and delays at the federal level. Over the past two years there have been unforgivable delays and punts at a federal level just about everywhere. This included the excuse that all governments were too busy with the pandemic in the world or, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine.

This is not the only reason why support for recreational reform has been rising in polls, but it’s not up in politics. According to an European academic study, this is not related at all. The younger generation is not likely to use cannabis more often.

What we are witnessing now, in the United States, in Europe, and, of course, in places like Australia, is an unwillingness to embrace popular opinion by national politicians, and worse, a willingness to spend tax money to support the Prohibition infrastructure—no matter who gets hurt in the process. 

What time will reform finally start to shift? 

Give it a decade. In some cases, it may be less.

Sadly, the amount of suffering—of both patients and recreational users criminalized by outdated policies—may increase during this period of time. Tragically, due to human behaviour and past, such horrific injustices in a time of social unrest or upheaval can also tip the balances.

Cannabis reform will undoubtedly be similar.