More than four in 10 Australians support the legalization of cannabis, according to a national survey, indicating a level of support for legal marijuana that has nearly doubled in just six years.
A group of Australian researchers analyzed the results of the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, a nationwide survey of public attitudes about drug use. The survey has been conducted every two to three years since 1985, and the survey was last completed in 2019.
Drawing on data collected from the survey over a six-year period, the researchers found a study published by the magazine Drug and alcohol review Support for the legalization of cannabis in Australia was 41.1% in 2019, up from 25.5% in 2013. Don Weatherburn, a professor at the National Center for Drug and Alcohol Research at the University of New South Wales, said the rise in legal support for marijuana may be linked to an increase Cannabis use in Australia. In 2019, 38.1% of Australians reported having used cannabis at some time in their lives, up from 33.5% in 2001.
“Gradually it became more and more widespread, perhaps because the law became less harsh,” Weatherburn Tell Watchman. “Most states now have some form of cannabis warning scheme, which makes the drug somewhat less stigmatized than it did in the 1980s and 1990s.”
“It’s also true that people who tried cannabis in the beginning are now in positions of power in and around government and major institutions,” he added, referring to the progress made in the United States, “where they had very strict laws against cannabis to the situation now. Legal in many US states.
Less support for legalization of other drugs
Australians have also shown increasing support for the legalization of ecstasy and cocaine, although not as high as the percentage in favor of cannabis legalization. About 9.5% said they supported legalizing MDMA in 2019, while 8.1% approved legalizing cocaine, both significantly higher than in 2013. However, the research did not reveal “any significant change in the level of support for the legalization of heroin or methamphetamine.” ‘ said Weatherborn.
The research also revealed support for drug policy alternatives, with analysis showing “a significant shift in support for treatment and education… away from imprisonment and punitive penalties,” Weatherborn said. “Although people do not support the legalization of these drugs, they support a different kind of traditional approach to imprisonment and higher fines, [and] Supervised orders.
Weatherburn believes the change in opinions about drugs can be attributed to policy changes including a focus on treatment as well as increased awareness of the difference “between those who use drugs and those who sell them”.
“People have realized that the penalties we have been imposing on drug users are very severe and that there are other credible options such as treatment,” he said.
Australian Greens unveil cannabis legalization plan
In 2016, the Australian Parliament legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes, but recreational marijuana use remains illegal nationally. Last month, Senator Gordon Steele-John of Western Australia announce On social media, the Greens have launched a plan to legalize cannabis across the country.
Under the greens plan hemp will be legalized, including home cultivation of up to six plants. The policy will create a regulatory agency to license the production and sale of cannabis and act as the country’s sole wholesaler. The plan would also license retail stores, ban cannabis ads and impose penalties for unlicensed sale.
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