With the recent changes in medical cannabis laws, there has been significant in Australia in legalising recreational marijuana use. On the 31st of January 2020, the capital city of Canberra passed the descision to legalise recreational cannabis. You’ll find all the information you need on the legal push for cannabis seed purchase in Australia as well as other essential information on growing, using and selling weed in the country.
This guide aims to be a comprehensive reference for those coming to live in Australia as well as locals who intend to purchase marijuana seeds in the country. Cannabis laws are constantly evolving. What applies to one country may not necessarily apply to another, as such, it is always wise to stay up-to-date on local laws concerning the matter. This ensures that you are legally and safely buying, growing, possessing and using marijuana seeds wherever you are.
Know Your History: Cultivating, Usage, Sale and Purchase of Cannabis Seeds in Australia
The Geneva Convention on Opium and Other Drugs set the pace for restricting the purchase of cannabis seeds in 1924. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when the decriminalization of recreational marijuana was proposed. The movement had staunch supporters, particularly from the 1978 New South Wales Joint Parliamentary Committee on Drugs. However, there was heavy opposition from the 1979 Australian Royal Commission on the Inquiry into Drugs. The commission stated that the move to decriminalize marijuana use would go against the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Today, Australia’s National Drug Strategy focuses on harm reduction and use of treatment strategies as part of the law enforcement system. The federal drug policy on criminal sanctions is not as severe as it was in the past.
Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in the country. In fact, Australia has one of the highest usage rates for cannabis in the world, as such decriminalizing cannabis consumption has been largely debated for years.
2020 has been a progressive year for legalizing the use of recreational cannabis. The Greens party’s hard push has been instrumental to the current status. Even with opposition from the country’s Minister of Health, Greg Hunt, the legalisation of recreational marijuana was finally realised in Canberra in January 2020.
Residents over the age of 18 are now allowed possession of up to 50 grams of dried cannabis. Marijuana plant cultivation is also allowed with a maximum of 2 plants per person or a total of 4 cannabis plants per household. While this is considerably less than the original proposal to allow growth of up to 6 cannabis plants for personal use by citizens over the age of 18, the new four-plant maximum per household is still a big win. Taxes generated from these are intended for drug education as well as for harm-reduction and treatment programs.
Even with the big steps taken towards improving regularisation of recreational cannabis use in Australia, it is important to remember that on the federal level, it is still illegal to grow, sell, purchase and use cannabis. It is legal in states such as Canberra to cultivate cannabis at home, but this will not apply to all of Australia. The new laws are set to be reviewed after 3 years.
While recreational cannabis use is still a hot topic, the use of marijuana in the medical field is a totally different story. Since the 24th of February 2016, the Australian Parliament has given the go signal for medical marijuana use by people with chronic and severe health conditions. The legislation also approved growing of marijuana for scientific purposes to allow the much-needed cannabis research.
The death of Daniel Haslam has been an important driver for the passage of the law. The 25-year-old bowel cancer patient was an advocate for medical marijuana in New South Wales. His story drew national attention in 2014 when he talked about the benefits of marijuana for making the cancer battle and treatment more tolerable. Chemotherapy’s impact on his nausea and poor appetite were eased with the use of medicinal marijuana. He passed away in February 2015, after which, his mother Lucy started United in Compassion, a group that petitioned for the legal use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Malcolm Turnball’s federal government proposed an amendment to the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967, which was supported by the main opposition party. The revision allowed marijuana to be grown for the purpose of manufacturing medicinal cannabis products in Australia.
Medicinal Cannabis in Australia
The Victorian Access to Medical Cannabis Act 2016 enabled Victoria to be the first state in the country to allow legal access to medical cannabis. At the time it was enacted, the law restricted access only to eligible patient groups and specified cannabis products for use be strictly Victorian-made. However, in 2018, the restrictions on eligible patient groups were lifted. The cannabis -specific manufacturing license scheme for Victoria was also cancelled.
2016 was a banner year for legalisation of medicinal cannabis for other parts of Australia as well. Most notable of which was the lifting of strict laws in New South Wales. Doctors were allowed to prescribe medical marijuana by 2016. While the approval process for patients was initially slow, the government made significant improvements in 2018 to provide better and more timely access to the treatment.
In 2020, the production, manufacturing, distribution and use of medical marijuana is now legal on the national level. Australia is an ideal place to grow medicinal marijuana on a large scale. However, extensive licensing is still required to grow medical cannabis. There are a few stipulations that have to be met under the new regulations:
- Patients must have a valid prescription to use and possess medicinal marijuana grown in Australia
- The cannabis must have been approved under the Therapeutic Goods Act and must comply with laws in the relevant state and territory
- A government-sanctioned national regulator also tracks all medical marijuana products from the growing stage to supply to restrict any criminal activity.
Cannabis and the Australian Legislation
Seed Purchase – There are many reputable sources for purchasing cannabis seeds online. MSNL Seed Bank based out of London and Crop King Seeds in Canada are two of the recommended places for purchase. They offer discreet worldwide shipping and accept credit cards. It is important that you are aware that buying seeds and getting caught possessing, using or selling marijuana is still illegal outside of Canberra and on the federal level. Always check the local laws where you live to ensure you understand the legal implications of non-compliance.
Cultivation – The new laws introduced in January 2020 allows growing of 2 plants per person and 4 plants per household of marijuana for personal use within the Australian capital of Canberra. Distribution of the weed to the public is still illegal. Outside the Australian Capital Territories, marijuana is still categorised as a Schedule 9 Drug
Cannabis law penalties for cultivation vary by state and territory. The leniency is also quite different, here are examples of how they differ between South Australia and the Northern Territory:
- South Australia – Buying marijuana seeds and growing one non-hydroponic plan will be fined between $50 to $150 with a payment period of 60 days.
- Northern Territory – If you’re found with two non-hydroponic plants you will be fined $200 with a 28-day payment period.
Due to the differences in legislation, it is always wise to do a bit of research to find out what the legal repercussions are before you decide to do some recreational cannabis planting in Australia.
Possessing, Using and Selling Cannabis – As with cultivation, the sanctions for possession and sale of marijuana varies by state and territory:
- South Australia – Possession of 100 grams of dried weed and 20 grams of hash and owning and smoking paraphernalia have the same penalties
- Northern Territory – Carrying 60 grams of marijuana or 10 grams of cannabis seeds or hash will face a fine of $200 with a 28-day payment period
- New South Wales – Possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana carries a criminal penalty but two warnings are allowed before it is issued.
- Queensland – Carrying 50 grams of pot is a minor offense and will require participation in a drug assessment diversion program if caught.
- Victoria – Possession of marijuana amounting to 50 grams or less will be issued a warning. There is a limit of two warnings.
- Tasmania – There is a warning for possession with a limit of three in 10 years.
- Western Australia – has the strictest laws where 10 grams of marijuana possession will result in either a $2000 fine or two years of jail time. If you possess under 10 grams, you will receive a Cannabis Intervention Requirement and will need to attend a one-on-one drug counselling session.
Growing Cannabis Seeds in Australia
Australia’s warm temperatures, humid climate and soil conditions make for optimal growing conditions for marijuana. Indoor seedlings usually start in October. When spring comes a few months after, the cannabis plants can be moved outdoors. Harvest runs from March to May in regions with seasonal temperature changes.
In regions with milder temperature fluctuations, cannabis seeds can grow year-round outdoors. Growers can have as much as four harvests a year. However, the outdoors are susceptible to issues such as scorching temperatures and intense sun. The cannabis buds might also be affected by mold, which can ruin a harvest.
Generally, Australia offers an excellent environment for cultivating cannabis, especially with the right research and training.
A Summary of Australia’s Cannabis Culture and Laws
Australia has a strong and vibrant cannabis culture. According to the Australian Drug Foundation, approximately 39% of Australians aged 14 years and above have admitted to trying cannabis at least one time in their lives. Of that number, 18% have used it within the last 12 months. According to their research the age at which individuals first try marijuana or began smoking pot regularly is 17 years old.
In general, buying cannabis seeds for recreational purposes, possession, use and sale are still illegal under federal law. Great strides have been made and a law was recently introduced in Australia’s capital, Canberra to decriminalize growth and use of recreational marijuana.
As of the 31st of January 2020, Canberra is the only place where it is legal to possess up to 50 grams of dried weed per person and to grow up to 2 plants per person. However, possessing, distributing and growing cannabis for the purpose of reselling is still illegal and punishable by law.
Recreational marijuana cultivation, possession, selling and buying are governed by different laws of each state / territory within Australia. Please consult with the specific law where you reside or where you intend to travel to to avoid criminal sanctions.
On the medical end of the spectrum, cannabis has received strong support from the public. A Roy Morgan poll was conducted in 2015 prior to the legalisation of medicinal marijuana in Australia. Results show overwhelming support from Aussies, with 91% voting in favour of legalisation of cannabis for chronically ill patients afflicted by cancer and epilepsy. In 2016, medicinal marijuana was legalised across the country and has since positively affected the economy and quality of life of many patients.