A plurality of adults in Australia support legalizing recreational cannabis according to a new survey conducted at the Australian National University.
According to the poll, 43% of Australian adults support legalizing cannabis, with 32% opposed to the move. This is a huge shift from 2013, when a plurality was opposed to legalization; then support was at 34%, with opposition at 44%.
The newest poll found 25% of respondents to be undecided on the issue, indicating that a heavily marketed public campaign in support, or in opposition, to legalization could have a major impact on determining if which side reaches the 50% mark first (though at this point legalization supporters have every reason to be optimistic, while prohibitionists should be quite concerned).
Although no direct action has been taken by lawmakers to push full legalization forward, earlier this year Australia’s Parliament gave overwhelming approval to a bill to legalize medical cannabis, establishing “licensing and permit schemes for the cultivation and production of cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal and scientific purposes.” The measure was quickly signed into law by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“This is an historic day for Australia and the many advocates who have fought long and hard to challenge the stigma around medicinal cannabis products so genuine patients are no longer treated as criminals,” Minister for Health Sussan Ley said after the parliament's approval of the measure. “This is the missing piece in a patient’s treatment journey and will now see seamless access to locally-produced medicinal cannabis products from farm to pharmacy.”
Activists are hopeful that the nation's parliament will soon take up the legalization of recreational cannabis, now that they've passed legislation to benefit those who can benefit from using the plant as a medicine.