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CANNABIS LEGISLATION SEPTEMBER 03, 2022

Australian Cannabis Market 2022: State-by-State Guide

 

The global cannabis market is poised to explode in value, with an estimated projected $55 billion by 2025. Before you go buying up stock in vape pens, there are a few hurdles to overcome. This includes a complicated and convoluted licensing process as well as a physician community that is reluctant to recommend or prescribe cannabis to patients. 

 

In 2017, Australia joined 20 other countries that have either legalised cannabis for medical use or legalised the drug completely. Going a step further, the country legalised marijuana exports in 2019, priming it to become a significant player in the global cannabis market. Australia has success in this agri-pharma market: it produces approximately 30% of the world's legal poppy supply, down from over 80%. Pharmaceutical companies eventually process these poppies into prescription pain relievers like codeine and morphine. 

Below you'll find a look at how the cannabis industry is getting along in some of Australia's most significant areas. 

 

Australian Capital Territory

On January 31, 2020, ACT changed its laws regarding cannabis. Residents of the territory are now able to possess for their personal consumption up to 50 grams of dry cannabis or 150 grams of 'wet' (newly harvested) cannabis. Households can now grow two cannabis plants per house, but the buying and selling of cannabis remain illegal, and so does drug driving. A fantastic change nonetheless. They want to allow cannabis growers to create "social houses", essentially mini co-op farms for cannabis and to allow hydroponic cultivation. 

New South Wales

New South Wales Cannabis Laws Map
When it comes to cutting through the red tape and making medical access to cannabis easier, New South Wales is leading the way. In March 2018, Health Minister Greg Hunt said that medical cannabis would be made more readily available to patients by only requiring one clinical assessment from the Therapeutic Goods Association.
Previously, approvals had to be overseen by both the Commonwealth and NSW Health, which could take weeks before a patient had access. As of Sep 2022, NSW cannabis laws are still archaic, and possession, even for small amounts, carries fines and possibly jail time for larger cannabis supply charges. Please consult a medical professional for access to cannabis in NSW. 

 


Northern Territory

Northern Territory Cannabis Laws Map

Although medical cannabis cultivation is legal nationwide, the Northern Territory is still playing catch up. The government of NT is still up in the air about legalising industrial hemp cultivation. However, the state won big last year when Canadian medical cannabis distributor Wayland Group chose the Northern Territory as its newest hub, hoping to cash in on the thriving Asian cannabis market from that location.

Punters in possession of fewer than 50 grams of cannabis at home will face a fine only with a maximum of 50 penalty units. If you are caught in public, you will be charged and go into the court system; the NT government argues this is decriminalisation - we beg to differ. Cultivating and manufacturing are still illegal, and there have been some hefty sentences recently handed out to people that were caught breaking the law on a larger scale.

 

Queensland

Queensland Cannabis Laws Map

 

The Queensland Department of Health is working hard to make access easier for patients in need by streamlining the process. Steven Miles, the state's Minister for Health, said that the changes that would affect the Medical Cannabis Act of 2016 are intended to bring the state more in line with other states in Australia, such as Victoria and New South Wales.

Currently, QLD has some fairly harsh laws regarding the sale and supply of cannabis, and these are very similar to the neighbour states of NSW and VIC. Medical cannabis is allowed but only by an approved script from a medical professional. Fines and jail time are enforced and severe if you are caught with any amount of cannabis in Queensland. 

 

South Australia

South Australia Cannabis Laws Map

In July of last year, South Australia suffered a humiliating setback when the public outcry about increasing the penalties for marijuana possession forced the SA attorney general to rethink the government's position. The state seems to be behind medical cannabis use while wholeheartedly opposing the recreational use of the plant.


In November, the state hosted a medical marijuana symposium that had a focus on both national and international speakers discussing the challenges that the cannabis industry is currently facing. This, combined with the state-of-the-art research facilities in South Australia, could allow the state to move to be a front-runner in the industry.


All that being said, not much has changed in South Australia regarding cannabis laws; a $2000 fine or two years in jail is the maximum penalty for supply. Possession has a maximum penalty of $500, but these have limits, and it's advised to tread with caution in this state, even though SA has some of the lowest penalties across the country. 

 

Tasmania

Tasmania Cannabis Laws Map

Sadly, Tasmania is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to legal access to medical cannabis. Since 2017, when the state approved medical access to patients, only seven patients have been prescribed medical cannabis products. Part of this is the fact that other states allow patients to process their applications online, while Tasmania does not.


Even though the government seems to lag behind other states, the population seems more progressive. In a survey of 1,100 citizens, 59% approved of access to medical cannabis, while only 28% opposed it entirely. The industrial sector, too, is encouraging. The largest opium processing company in the state, Tasmanian Alkaloids, has moved into the research and development phase of medical cannabis production.

Additionally, Tasmania grows all of the hemp that we use in our Hemp products! It's a clean, green and perfect climate for growing cannabis, and the crops tend to yield better than on the mainland. Check out the Tassie grown range here.

 

Victoria

Vicoria Cannabis Laws Map

Victoria has been at the forefront of championing research and access to medical cannabis. It became the first state to legalise medical patient access in 2016. The state already has multiple companies setting up shop there and is attracting international attention. Two Canadian cannabis companies have previously announced intentions to invest in Victoria's cannabis industry. Cronos Australia, parented by Cronos Group, has announced that Victoria will become the headquarters for its Asian-Pacific endeavours.

Victoria is still very much a strict state for possession and supply, and the fine can be large and carry significant jail time for repeat offenders. It's wise to get access to a medical cannabis script if using it for medical purposes in this state. 

 

Western Australia

Western Australia Cannabis Laws Map

Though once lagging behind other states, Western Australia is slowly catching up. The state’s first medical-cannabis centric clinic opened in Subiaco in December 2018. The Western Australia Department of Health is doing its part by working hard to streamline regulations and make access for patients in need much more straightforward. However, medicinal cannabis products are still considered to be unapproved controlled drugs, meaning approval from both the Department of Health and the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration is needed. 

On the whole, Australia has positioned itself to be a dominant player in the global cannabis market. However, recreational use remains illegal, so keep this in mind before you pack your dry herb vaporiser for that Aussie vacation you’ve been planning!

Though once lagging behind other states, Western Australia is slowly catching up. The state's first medical-cannabis-centric clinic opened in Subiaco in December 2018. The Western Australia Department of Health is doing its part by working hard to streamline regulations and make access for patients in need much more straightforward. However, medicinal cannabis products are still considered unapproved controlled drugs, meaning approval from the Department of Health and the federal Therapeutic Goods Administration is needed. 

 

Overall, Australia has positioned itself as a dominant player in the global cannabis market. However, recreational use remains illegal, so keep this in mind before you pack your dry herb vaporiser for that Aussie vacation you've been planning!

Thank you, Michael Jacobs for the original guest article; it has been updated to reflect new updates across the nation as of Sep 2022. 

Wondering about how to access cannabis in Australia? Read about How to Access Cannabis, CBD and Medical Marijuana in Australia here. We can be reached on 1300402420 for any questions. 

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