Buying, Selling & Growing
Who can buy cannabis and where can they get it from?
Buying cannabis will be restricted to people aged 18 years and over, and people selling cannabis would be required to complete a course similar to RSA for alcohol.
Cannabis will only be available from licensed retailers, who would be subjected to ongoing strict rules, monitoring and evaluation, with strong sanctions for license breaches.
How much cannabis will I be able to buy, and how strong will it be?
The Cannabis Authority will determine the specific quantities of cannabis that can be purchased, and how much you can carry at any time. They’ll determine the best range of strains to meet the demand while also limiting harmful strains.
How will I know what I’m getting, and whether it’s safe and legal?
Products will be plain packaged with clear information about THC and CBD levels, including the ‘street’ name for those products to allow people to understand what they are purchasing.
Regulations will apply to the growth and sale of cannabis, with spot checks of production locations to ensure compliance and purity standards are being adhered to.
What advertising would be allowed?
No advertising would be allowed under any circumstances, including at point of sale.
Where will I be able to use cannabis? Will we have cafes like in Amsterdam?
Cannabis consumption will be permissible in line with current smoking laws. Initially, we would not introduce cafes as per the Netherlands arrangements. The 2 year review of the arrangements would allow for examination of the regulations and any possible reforms.
Will it be legal to buy cannabis from drug dealers?
No. Legal cannabis will only be available from licensed retailers under strict regulatory conditions. Purchasing black market cannabis from drug dealers would be illegal, with tough penalties to those dealers if caught.
How much cannabis would I be able to grow? Can I sell it to friends?
It would be legal to grow up to 6 plants for personal use only. You won’t be able to sell it. Anyone found to be selling cannabis from unlicensed personal plants will face significant penalties.
Who can grow it to sell commercially?
Cannabis being sold would only be produced by licensed growers who would be required to produce at particular levels of THC and CBD, and meet other regulations put in place. Licenses will be issued for the production of cannabis, with more licenses offered for smaller scale production than for larger operations. The license requirements will will be closely regulated and monitored.
Health and Education Funding
Would it be taxed? Where would the money go?
While revenue is not the reason to legalise cannabis, it would be subject to GST as well as a level of federal excise to ensure that the price is broadly similar to the current price of cannabis.
A portion of the revenue raised through the taxation of cannabis should be redirected to drug treatment, health education and harm reduction. Other revenue can go to the general budget.
Legalising cannabis will create a commercial market for its production and sale. Jobs will be created in the production and cultivation of cannabis as well as its retail sales.
Keeping People Safe
What about the dangers of smoking?
Cannabis products will be available for preparation for home consumption. Smoking is harmful, so vaping cannabis may be a preferable option for consumption.
What about mental health? Doesn’t cannabis cause schizophrenia?
Protecting people and reducing harm are key facets of this approach. We are very conscious of the potential risks associated with people with existing mental health conditions and vulnerable populations – in particular young people. It is clear that for those with a predisposition to mental health issues, cannabis can exacerbate those issues. Medical advice would be essential.
For those with mental health concerns, high quality drug and harm reduction education is essential. That’s why a key role of the agency would be to deliver on this.
Legalisation is a way of monitoring and controlling the quality and quantity as well as strength of the cannabis people consume – and to bring them into contact with people who can refer them to supports and treatment they might need.
Anyone selling cannabis will be required to have mental health first aid training, and all packets will carry health warnings.
Is cannabis dangerous if you’re pregnant?
There isn’t a lot of data at present about the impacts of cannabis use during pregnancy, but doctors advise caution. Clear labelling and education and good selling practices will allow pregnant women to make the right choice for them.
What about young people?
Protecting young people from cannabis use is a key objective of legalisation – we would have strict prohibition on sale to minors and penalties for breach of that. Criminal drug dealers have no such barriers to sale to children and young people.
Drug education is essential and is currently significantly under prioritised. Our plan would provide a revenue stream for greater drug education campaigns including in schools and for young people.
What about drug driving and road safety?
Penalties for those found to be driving under the influence of cannabis would continue under our plan.
We do recognise that more needs to be done to improve the testing for drug impairment, and this would be a priority.
Is cannabis a gateway drug to other drugs?
No. The link between cannabis and other drugs comes from the drug dealers. Legalising cannabis will mean that people are not exposed to criminals when purchasing cannabis and therefore are less likely to transition to more harmful drugs.
Why not legalise all illicit drugs?
Legalisation of cannabis is an appropriate harm reduction approach to this particular drug.
We continue to support a harm-reduction approach to drug use, which can include decriminalisation. It varies drug to drug, but the key foundation of our policy is harm reduction and ensuring people have the support they need.
Will this increase crime rates?
No. The legalisation of cannabis will reduce crime rates by allowing people the freedom to buy legal cannabis in a shop with clear protections and a regulated market. This model will reduce crime associated with the supply of illegal black market cannabis.