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Like many other global economic giants, Australia has changed the way it looks at cannabis and activities related to it. This article goes over what Australian laws have to say about the use, selling, growing, and purchase of marijuana in the country. If you live in Australia or will be traveling there soon, you may want to skim through this guide. However, we still strongly advise you to read materials from authorities for updated information before you visit the country or before procuring your weed or seeds.
Australia and Cannabis: A Background
The Geneva Convention on Opium and Other Drugs in 1924 witnessed the emergence of restrictions on cannabis and related activities. It was not until the 1970s that a movement for the decriminalization of marijuana was initiated. This effort, which was vouched for by the 1978 New South Wales Joint Parliamentary Committee on Drugs, unfortunately, failed to result in legal changes due to heavy opposition.
Today, Australia has its so-called National Drug Strategy, which is a federal policy that contains drug-related criminal sanctions but focuses on minimizing harm by implementing various treatment strategies.
Medical Cannabis in Australia
Using, producing or manufacturing, and distributing medical cannabis is currently legal at the federal level. However, certain legal stipulations apply. Individuals with severe chronic health conditions, accompanied by a valid prescription, can possess and use medical weed in Australia. Moreover, medical marijuana products can be manufactured in Australia, and growing weed for that purpose is allowed. Also, the cannabis has to comply with laws applicable to the state and territory and approved by the Therapeutic Goods Act.
These developments are the result of recent amendments to the Narcotic Drugs Act of 1967, which were implemented to decriminalize the use and selling of medical marijuana in Australia. Some medical cannabis items have been reclassified by the Therapeutic Goods Administration as “Schedule 8” drugs, which means that prescribing medical marijuana in Australia is now legal.
However, laws vary by state. Here are certain important matters to keep in mind.
In South and Western Australia, medical cannabis is legal by prescription for certain conditions.
Queensland allows the prescription and use of medical weed by patients with such conditions as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, HIV, and cancer.
In New South Wales, adults with end-of-life illnesses can legally use medical cannabis.
Tasmania began a so-called “Controlled Access Scheme” in 2017. This policy gives patients access to unregistered medical weed.
In Australian Capital Territory, medical marijuana products can be prescribed as “Schedule 8” medicines.
Victoria allows the use of medical weed by children with treatment-resistant epilepsy.
Finally, the Northern Territory still lists marijuana as a prohibited drug.
Growing Cannabis in Australia
Marijuana remains a “Schedule 9” drug in Australia. Smoking and growing it for recreational purposes is illegal. Laws and penalties vary by state and territory. In South Australia, Northern Territory, and Australian Capital Territory, growing a non-hydroponic cannabis plant that you bought marijuana seeds for will entail fines of $50 to $150, $200, and $100, which must be paid in two months, 28 days, and 60 days, respectively.
Buying Cannabis Seeds in Australia
Citizens and visitors to Australia can buy marijuana seeds online. Just ensure that you purchase from a reputable supplier to avoid receiving non-compliant seeds, among other things that can get you in trouble with Australian law enforcement.
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Australian Laws on Selling, Possessing and Using Cannabis
The possession and/or distribution of marijuana other than for valid medical purposes is illegal in Australia, and legal sanctions vary by state and territory. In general, South Australia is the most lenient and Western Australia is the strictest when it comes to marijuana laws.
South Australia will fine $50 to $150, which is payable in 60 days, for possessing the marijuana-related equipment, 20 grams of hash, or 100 grams of marijuana.
In the Australian Capital Territory, you will be fined $100 if caught in possession of 25 grams of recreational cannabis. This fine is to be paid within 60 days as well.
The Northern Territory states that anyone in possession of 60 grams of weed or 10 grams of hash or seeds will be fined $200, which has to be paid in 28 days.
Meanwhile, in New South Wales, getting caught in possession of 15 grams of weed warrants a caution, two of which are allowed before you get into legal trouble with a criminal penalty.
Victoria and Tasmania have a similar policy, except that the threshold is 50 grams instead of 15. Victoria allows up to two cautions before doling out a criminal penalty, whereas Tasmania allows up to three cautions in a span of 10 years.
Queensland classifies getting caught in possession of 50 grams of cannabis a minor offense, and the corresponding sanction is a diversion program. These programs are designed to target the factors leading to drug addiction and related issues.
Right now, Western Australia is the most stringent when it comes to possession of cannabis. Getting caught in possession of merely 10 grams of marijuana warrants a $2,000 fine or a couple of years in jail. Any quantity below 10 grams warrants mandatory counseling.
The Current Situation Down Under
Statistics on marijuana use in Australia is currently a little scarce due to the continuing restriction against its recreational use. Available reports indicate that most of the Australians who have tried cannabis started to do so at age 17.
Seeds from cannabis grown indoors will set you back by around $200 to $300, whereas those grown outdoors cost more or less $200 to $250.
If you are looking into growing in Australia, you can start indoors around October, just before spring, which is when you can take your plants out. Growers in Australia commonly harvest around March to May. However, this pattern is common in areas with seasonally varying temperatures.
In regions that are not too susceptible to temperature swings, you can grow any season outdoors. In fact, growers in these areas can harvest up to four times a year, provided the utmost care and the best precautionary measures. The Australian heat can be too intense for the plants at times, and the outdoor weather can make them vulnerable to molds.
A Final Word
Different Australian states and territories can have varying and contrasting laws and regulations regarding the use, possession, growing, manufacturing, selling, and distribution of marijuana and related products.
To ensure that you are not putting yourself in peril, always check local laws right before you travel to Australia and before engaging in any cannabis-related activity or transaction.
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