History of CBD and Cannabis: Australia
Cannabis use has comprised a large part of Australian life for decades. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 33.5 percent of the adult population have ever used cannabis, while nearly one million residents report using it regularly.
With one of the highest rates of cannabis use out of any developed country, Australia provides a model for how to secure consumer safety while not acting overly punitive towards offenders.
Technically, recreational use is still illegal in Australia; however, rates of enforcement are lower than ever. Additionally, state government has fully backed softening penalties, passing medical marijuana policies, and pushing for further decriminalization.
In part, Australian officials’ current attitude towards cannabis is due to historical economic, cultural, and social ties that residents continue to hold.
Cannabis, CBD, and Australia
Hemp and cannabis were first introduced to Australia more than 150 years ago. For decades, the government was in full support of cannabis commerce since it generated high revenue throughout the state. Hemp imports were even subsidized, allowing a broader range of agriculturalists access to the highly lucrative crop.
Eventually, Australian government was forced to restrict the sale, distribution, and trade of cannabis following worldwide restrictions. Cannabis came to be associated with illicit compounds like opium, morphine, and heroin through the mid twentieth century.
It wasn’t until the sixties that cannabis started to pick up in popularity again. In opposition to the Vietnam war, young Australians started to adopt socially progressive ideals and experimented with compounds like LSD and marijuana.
Additionally, drug trafficking reached a peak during this era due to the frequent travel of United States military men in the country. This prompted authorities to begin a massive hemp destruction campaign through most habitable areas of the country, in addition to tightening penalties on cannabis.
Throughout the last two decades of the twentieth century, police continued to crack down on cannabis use, possession, and distribution.
Now, the country has started to soften its stance towards cannabis and hemp products. Instead of criminal charges, those who illegally possess marijuana typically get off with a small fine. Some territories have required repeat offenders to undergo drug treatment programs.
Though marijuana is federally illegal, specific territories, like the Australian Capital Territory, have legalized the cultivation and possession of marijuana for any adult resident.
Recently, the national government has restarted programs aimed at educating farmers on the value of hemp crops for food, fabric, and composite production. Slowly it seems the national government is reversing its stance on cannabis criminalization, causing many smaller regions to adopt legalization or decriminalization schemes.