Cannabis Federally Legalised In Australia From April 1, Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Cannabis Federally Legalised In Australia From April 1, Amid Coronavirus Crisis

1st Apr 2020

The Australian federal parliament has quietly voted to legalise the use of cannabis by adults, in a bid to encourage citizens to follow new social distancing restrictions to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

From today (April 1), Australians over 18 will be allowed to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants, an adaptation of legislation introduced in the ACT this January. It remains illegal to sell or distribute cannabis.

The laws were passed on Tuesday night, during an emergency Senate sitting relating to COVID-19. The draft Bill was first presented to and tabled by the House Of Representatives at the end of 2018.

Lobby group Cannabis Users Of Australia welcomed the move, with a spokesperson for the group saying: 

“We are thrilled that the federal government has moved to legalise cannabis, and stop prosecuting innocent members of the public for simply trying to live. 

“We did not expect this all to transpire so quickly, but we think it’s a fantastic response to the current world pandemic. It turns out Health Minister Greg Hunt is a nice guy; really is nothing of the sort.”

In comments distributed to journalists last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: 

“While I’ve been immensely proud of the efforts from all Australians during this chaotic time, more needed to be done to encourage the public to join the fight and stay home.

“We already know many Australians use cannabis regularly, we are simply deciding to make it a health issue rather than a criminal justice one. 

“This bill not only gives Australians an additional legal means of ‘chilling out’, but it will limit face-to-face contact between average Australians and criminal dealers, who are arrogantly ignoring social distancing restrictions. 

“Plus, who’s really going to want to hang out in groups of more than two when they can legally get bent on the couch and destroy a packet of Doritos?”

Alistair Graham, a member of community interest group Cannabis Users NT, said: 

“I don’t think it’ll change all that much for us up in Darwin... I’ve had my own plants for years without trouble. At least I’ll be able to punch cones during my next Zoom work meeting without turning the camera off.”

Research from Roy Morgan last November indicated that the majority of Australians across all age groups were in favour of legalising cannabis.