Legalities About Hemp Use In Australia

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.

australia-marijuana-law

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.

Western Australia Marijuana law

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.

New South Wales Marijuana law

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.

Reference:

  • Clough, A., D’Abbs, P., Cairney, S., Gray, D., Maruff, P., Parker, R. and O’Reilly, B. (2004b) Emerging patterns of cannabis and other substance use in Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory: A study of two communities. Drug and Alcohol Review, 23, 381-390.
  • Copeland, J., Gerber, S., Swift, W (2004). Evidence-based Answers to Cannabis Questions: A Review of the Literature. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of NSW.
  • Clough, A., Cairney S., D’abbs, P., Parker, R., Maruff, P., Gray, D., O’Reilly, B. (2004a). Measuring Exposure to Cannabis use and other Substance use in Remote Aboriginal Populations in Northern Australia: Evaluation of A ‘Community Epidemiology’ Approach using Proxy Respondents. Addiction Research and Theory, Taylor & Francis, Volume 12, Number 3 / June, 2004. Pages 261 – 274.
  • Watson C., Fleming J., Alexander K. (1988), A Survey of Drug Use Patterns in Northern Territory Aboriginal Communities: 1986-1987. Northern Territory Department of Health and Community Services, Darwin.
  • Ferero, R., Bauman, A., Chen, J. and Flaherty, B. (1999) Substance use and sociodemographic factors among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students in New South Wales. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 23, 295-300
  • “Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy Joint Communique 1″. Australian Government. August 2003. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  • Spooner, C. and Hetherington, K. (2005) Social determinants of drug use. NDARC technical report No. 228 Sydney, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, 23) University of New South Wales.
  • “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
  • Single, E., Christie, P. and Ali, R. (1999) The impact of cannabis decriminalisation in Australia and the United States Adelaide, Drug and Alcohol Services Council
  • 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