The use of hemp or cannabis is not allowed in Australia though there are different laws for hemp offenses in each Australian state and territory. It is worth noting that it is illegal to use, grow, sell, or possess cannabis in Australia.
In some Australian states, one can be charged a fine of $50 if caught with a “small amount” of cannabis while there are strict laws (jail sentence, hefty fine, and a criminal offence charge) in other states.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT): The territory introduced a civil penalty system in the year 1993 for the possession of small amounts of cannabis. A fine of $100 with 60 days to expiate instead of a criminal charge is levied on any one caught with up to two non-hydroponic cannabis plants, or up to 25 grams of marijuana (cannabis plant material). The individual may select to attend a drug assessment and treatment program instead of paying fine.
Northern Territory: A fine of $200 with 28 days to expiate rather than face criminal charge is in force since 1996 for adults in possession of up to 50 grams of marijuana, 10 grams of hash or cannabis seed, two non-hydroponic plants, or one gram of hash oil.
Southern Australia: It became the first Australian state in 1987 to decriminalize minor cannabis offences. A fine from $50 to $150 with 60 days to expiate is meant for the possession of up to one non-hydroponic plant, cannabis smoking equipment, 20 grams of hash (cannabis plant resin), or 100 grams of marijuana.
Western Australia: The Australian state introduced a civil penalty scheme for the possession of cannabis. A fine from $100 to $200 with 28 days to expiate has been in place since the year 2004 if an individual is found possessing two non-hydroponic cannabis plants, up to 30 grams of marijuana, or cannabis smoking equipment. Fine and court appearance could be avoided by attending a cannabis education session.
New South Wales: An individual caught with up to 15 grams of cannabis in this Australian state receives a “caution” from the police officer and every individual is allowed only two cautions.
Tasmania: An individual caught with up to 50 grams of cannabis in this Australian state receives a “caution” by the police officer and every individual is allowed only three cautions. Information and referral is offered for the first caution, a brief intervention is offered for the second caution, and the offender must be assessed for dependency on drugs and attend either a treatment program or brief intervention.
Victoria: An individual caught with up to 50 grams of cannabis in Victoria receives a “caution” by the police officer and every individual is allowed only two cautions. An opportunity to attend a cannabis education program could be offered by the officer at the time of “caution.”
Queensland: An individual caught with up to 50 grams of cannabis in Queensland receives the option of diversion. It is the only Australian state in which diversion must be provided to a minor offender, which includes a brief intervention program and mandatory assessment. An offender is allowed only one offer of diversion.
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- “Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy Joint Communique 1″. Australian Government. August 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
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- “NCPIC Cannabis and the Law Factsheet” (login required). National Cannibis Prevention and Information Centre (NCPIC). Retrieved 26 March 2010.
- Stafford, J, Burns, L. Drug Trends Bulletin; October 2009. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales
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- Illicit Drug Data Report 2007-08 Australian Crime Commission, Canberra. ISSN 1327-9068
- Stafford, J, Burns, L. Drug Trends: October 2009 BulletinNational Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales