A collective, yet familiar, sigh echoed around the Australian cannabis industry this week as the Australian Lawyers Alliance’s (ALA) ‘Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021’ was stubbed out by Tasmania’s Attorney-General Elise Archer.  The rationale, Archer claims the government doesn't support decriminalising cannabis in Tasmania because "it is illegal for a reason" and because it “can lead to more complex health and other issues”.  Before we look at what exactly was shut-down and any potential silver-linings, let’s start with some quick fact checking…

No, Cannabis Is Not Illegal

As we have learnt from the COVID-19 response, the States of Australia do not necessarily have the same rules and regulation (learn about your state’s cannabis laws here).  However, even at a national level cannabis has been approved over for over 150K Australians for medical use via the SAS-B application form, not to mention the uncounted number of prescriptions from licenced doctors that are Authorised Prescribers and compounding pharmacies.

Perhaps Archer was referring to recreational use?  Interesting, since according to the ACT Govt. own website,

Specifically, if you’re aged 18 and over in the ACT, you can now:

  • Possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis or up to 150 grams of fresh cannabis
  • Grow up to two cannabis plants per person, with a maximum of four plants per household
  • Use cannabis in your home (personal use).

So, while cannabis is not blanketly “legal”, it is widely, and increasingly, prescribed by the medical practitioners and decriminalised in the home territory of Australian government.

As for the plant leading to “more complex health and other issues”, well, this is simply too broad to address and counter to clinical evidence.  But as a reminder, there have been zero deaths in recorded history from the use of cannabis.  For information on a the quantity and effects of a "toxic dose" of CBD or TCH please visit our FAQs.

What The ALA’s ‘Cannabis Decriminalisation Bill 2021’ Proposed

The bill was drafted with the intention to only apply to residents of Tasmanian over the age of 18.  Further, it only looked to decriminalise cannabis in specific circumstances.  Essentially, the Bill aimed to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 to decriminalise the non-commercial cultivation, possession, and use of small quantities of cannabis and for related purposes.

Had the Tasmanian government passed the Bill, it would still be illegal to:

  • Supply cannabis to someone under the age of 18
  • Grow cannabis outside of your property
  • Grow cannabis in an “area lawfully accessible to a member of the public” (like a public park)
  • Use cannabis in public or near a child
  • Have, use or grow above the allotted amount of cannabis

You can read the full proposal here.

Silver Linings

It is understandable for many in the Australian cannabis industry, culture and every-day Tasmanians to feel frustrated and let down by the less-than-considered rejection of the Bill.  However, there is some hope.  With every illogical decision passed down, we are forced as a society to look at the evidence.  Evidence that Australian patients are providing.  Evidence from clinical trials taking place across the planet.  And yes, the mounting anecdotal evidence coming from the rest of the world that is emerging from prohibition and transitioning from discrimination right through to legalisation, without the feared negative consequences (i.e. no recorded uptake in youth use).

In the meantime, those looking to harness the unlimited potential of cannabis for health and wellbeing have the ability to engage highly trained doctors, such as those on the Canwell platform.  Telehealth services such as Canwell are making access to Australians possible (legally) from anywhere in Australia… even Tasmania.


If you believe medicinal cannabis may be right for you, take our free Eligibility Test.