Legal Cannabis Use on the Rise in Australia, New Data Shows

Legal Cannabis

The number of Australians who use cannabis for medical purposes has remained stable over the past three years, but the proportion of those who access it through legal pathways has increased significantly, according to new data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Medical Cannabis Users Seek Legal Options

The AIHW released its findings on Friday, based on a survey conducted between mid-2022 and mid-2023. The survey found that 3% of Australians sought medical relief from cannabis during that period, which is consistent with previous surveys. However, the number of people who obtained cannabis through legal channels, such as prescriptions or authorised suppliers, rose from 9% in 2019 to 28% in 2023.

This indicates that more Australians are turning to legal pathways to access medical cannabis, rather than relying on illicit sources or self-growing. The AIHW attributed this trend to several factors, such as the increased availability and awareness of legal cannabis products, the reduced stigma and barriers associated with medical cannabis use, and the improved regulation and quality control of the legal cannabis market.

Support for Legalisation Grows Among Australians

The AIHW survey also revealed that the majority of Australians support the legalisation of cannabis for either medical or recreational purposes. According to the survey, 78% of Australians agreed that cannabis should be legal for medical use, while 41% agreed that it should be legal for personal use. These figures represent an increase from 75% and 36%, respectively, in 2019.

Legal Cannabis

The survey also found that the most common reasons for supporting legalisation were the belief that cannabis has medical benefits, the respect for personal choice and freedom, and the potential for economic and social benefits. On the other hand, the most common reasons for opposing legalisation were the concern about the health and social harms of cannabis, the risk of increased use and addiction, and the perception that cannabis is a gateway drug to harder substances.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Cannabis Industry

The AIHW data suggests that the cannabis industry in Australia is facing both challenges and opportunities as the demand and acceptance of legal cannabis grows. On one hand, the industry needs to overcome the regulatory and logistical hurdles that still limit the access and affordability of legal cannabis products for patients and consumers. On the other hand, the industry can capitalise on the increasing public support and awareness of the benefits and potential of cannabis, as well as the innovation and research that are driving the development of new and improved cannabis products and services.

The cannabis industry in Australia is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years, as more states and territories consider legalising or decriminalising cannabis for personal use, and as more international markets open up for cannabis exports. According to a report by Prohibition Partners, the Australian cannabis market could be worth up to $1.5 billion by 2025, making it one of the largest and most lucrative in the Asia-Pacific region.

By Amelia Brooks

Amelia Brooks is a seasoned senior content writer at CBD Strains Only, specializing in the cannabis niche. With a wealth of experience and a keen interest in the therapeutic properties of cannabis, Amelia brings a unique perspective to her writing. Her insightful articles aim to educate and inform readers about the latest trends and developments in the cannabis industry.

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