While some countries around the world have started to legalise the use of cannabis for both medical and recreational use, it's a different story here in Australia.
With Germany looking set to legalise cannabis and Thailand decriminalising it recently, this led to Reddit user u/AdditionalChest asking if it was time for Australia to do the same. The majority of Aussies agreed, and it led to an interesting discussion about the benefits of legalising cannabis in Australia.
1. "I've seen lots of drunk, abusive cunts at parties. Never seen an angry pot head, not once. As long as you don't drive impaired, who does it hurt?"
2. "The only real impediment to treating cannabis the same as alcohol is lack of an effective road side test for impairment. Everything else is hypocrisy."
3. "If we legalise, people will stop buying it illegally (to an extent). We can regulate the cannabis that goes on sale and stop funding organised criminal activities."
4. "Not my thing, but I've never seen a stoner start a fight like drunks do. They just shuffle to 7-Eleven, buying jumbo slushies, chocolate, chips, and every other snack they can buy."
5. "I don't smoke anymore, but I'd argue if alcohol is legal, which contributes to far more societal problems, then there's no coherent reason cannabis shouldn't be legalised and taxed too."
6. "I am not saying cannabis does not have issues. So does alcohol, porn, and sugar, to name only a few. Many people have health issues and mental health issues due to their weight, but nothing is being done to stop the shit being advertised and sold. There are a lot of benefits to cannabis, yet in 2022 we still pretty much have a black and white view toward it."
7. "Most definitely, yes! Think of how much tax revenue would be made, plus, the thousands of jobs. It's a real no-brainer."
8. "I think we [Australia] will be behind the times like normal. So it may take a while, but I'm 110% in favour!"
9. "Yes and for many reasons. It'll mean more money for the government — that's money that previously went to the black market. They'll also make bank on the tax. It'll free up police resources to focus on more important things, no longer wasting time for some bloke having a bit of plant matter. Plus, safety for citizens buying. Every year or so, there seems to be a story of a pensioner trying to buy for personal use and getting robbed or beaten up."
"There's no reason for it to be illegal anymore; we know the science, and we permit it medically. We grow massive amounts for medical, but also export our ganja to other countries. The government grows it — why not allow its citizens to partake?"
10. "There is no valid reason for it to be illegal. In a recession, frivolous government spending needs to be reduced. Our war on drugs has been a complete failure and a money pit. We need to stop wasting tax dollars on this and put them to worthwhile causes."
11. "Keeping it illegal is an antiquated idea. I don't think for a minute that the government is serious about tackling the opioid crisis when it is still impossible for those who need it to afford cannabis products. At the moment, the doctors prescribing it are glorified drug dealers, especially those who own cannabis crops and manufacturing plants. They call themselves 'medical marijuana specialists' and charge upwards of $250 for a 20-minute consult."
"Pharmaceutical-grade products should be on PBS [Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme]. Growing and distributing small quantities should be legal. Actually, I'd like to see seeds sold in Bunnings, and I'd like to be able to pick up a plant along with my cat grass and other herbs."
12. "The social harms of cannabis use are consistently found to be a lot less than those of alcohol and tobacco. There's good reason to think legalisation will 'convert' some proportion of alcohol and tobacco use to cannabis use. That would be a good thing. Cannabis doesn't appear to increase the risk of cancer; it can't poison users at a viable dose; it isn't (biologically) addictive, and it isn't associated with violence. Every future alcoholic or lifelong smoker we can divert onto cannabis would be a win."
"My main concern is who the manufacturers and retailers would be. Ideally, you'd gear the new market to favour small-scale enthusiast participants. I'd also hope the tobacco industry would be flat-out barred from getting involved."
13. "Yes! You can't overdose on it. Plus, I've never seen an angry or violent pothead, AND I think legalisation would see consumption shift toward edibles/away from smoking."
14. "I don't really care for cannabis. My dad treats many lung cancer patients and says that weed smokers are by far the worst, and many of them have some form of weed psychosis. Their cancer is usually the most aggressive because it fucks up the lungs more than darts. With that being said, I think we should eventually legalise it, but like darts they should be heavily priced up, restricted, and have health warnings — because as much as stoners and redditors across the board like to act like weed is harmless, it really isn't."
"This is actually the biggest reason why I want it legalised. Taxation, education, and research."
15. "Legalisation would see people shift significantly away from smokables toward EDIBLES. It would also transition a significant scope of users away from smoking, while we continue to ramp down tobacco. Legislation would also introduce major education and research to mitigate problem uses and problem punitive measures, significantly bolstering psych supports."
16. And lastly, "Prohibition of cannabis has never worked. But you know what would work? Legalising it, regulating it, taxing it, and using the tax revenue to help dig ourselves out of this post-COVID-19 economic slump. I'm not even a user; I just see the logic."
Some Reddit responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.
Australians, what are your thoughts on legalising cannabis? And for our international friends where it is legalised, what's been your experience with that?
Note: Responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.