While the NSW conservative government continues the hard-on-drugs line, with significant increases in roadside drug testing (RDT) being pushed, recent polling has revealed that there is increasing support for legalising marijuana in Australia.
According to the research by Roy Morgan ‘increasing numbers of Australians across all age groups want to legalise marijuana’.
Local Lennox Head solicitor Sally Macpherson has highlighted that the legalisation of cannabis in other countries, and its proven benefits in medical treatment, are what is driving the change.
‘Part of the growing drive to legalise cannabis is the medical research that has revealed the benefits of cannabinoids. We have an endocannabinoid system that is like our lymphatic and nervous systems. This means that we have cannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies. This discovery, in the 1990s, drove significant research into the cannabis plant. There has been a change in the role of cannabis in our lives, and it is having success in treating conditions like epilepsy, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).’
Greens MP and Drug Law Reform and Harm Reduction spokesperson Cate Faehrmann agrees saying that, ‘Taxing and regulating cannabis would have so many benefits. It would provide more funding for treatment programs, it would unclog our courts and allow the police to focus on actual crime, and it would remove a drug that one in three Australians have used out of the black market.’
According to the polling, 18 to 35 year-olds are most likely to support legalisation and this is the part of the population where opinion has shifted the greatest degree over the last four years.
‘In 2015 only 36 per cent of 18 to 24 year-olds supported legalisation, now 50 per cent do. The next age-group up, 25 to 34 year-olds, has also seen a dramatic rise in support, from 34 per cent in 2015 to 46 per cent now,’ they stated in a press release.
The two groups least likely to support legalisation are 14 to 17 year olds and 65+ however, both these groups have seen a shift of nine and seven per cent respectively towards supporting legalisation.
‘With jurisdictions overseas reaping the economic and social benefits of legalising marijuana, it’s obvious why more and more Australians want the same thing to happen here,’ said Ms Faehrmann.
Medical cannabis workshops are running this weekend on October 26 and 27 at the Nimbin Bush Theatre, 11am till 4pm. Dr Deb Waldron and Dr Pot himself, Andrew Katelaris, are both coming for the weekend and Dr John Teh from PlantMed is a popular return speaker. Donation at the door.