September 2022

Majority of Australians support decriminalisation
All Media Room

A survey by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare finds nearly 8 in 10 Australians support the national decriminalisation of cannabis. Of these, a high proportion wouldn’t use cannabis themselves if the law was changed.

As household sentiment shifts and many other countries move from prohibition towards legalisation, the question is raised: are our federal and state laws evolving to reflect Australian public sentiment?

Speaking to the ABC, Ted Noffs Foundation chief executive, Matt Noffs, explained that decriminalisation, as supported by so many Australians, does not mean cannabis use would be legal. ‘It would still be against the law but you would only risk getting a fine, not the possibility of a criminal record’ he said.

He added, “One of the biggest takeaways of this survey is that people don’t want to see these drugs regulated in order to use it themselves, but rather it’s that we don’t want to see people locked up or harmed”.

On the practical shifts in how drugs are legislated for in Australia, Noffs says ‘it’s very messy, but getting better all the time. This debate is not just legalisation, decriminalisation, or prohibition, it’s about a nuanced approach to regulation. If you’re going to instil a law, make sure it’s sensible and respectable. If it really is about safety, people will abide by it”.

Listen to the whole interview here: