Australian state to investigate legalizing recreational cannabis

Australia’s second-most populous state will explore international developments around “cannabis for adult use” as part of its investigation into drug law reform.

In a 586-page report, a parliamentary committee in Victoria recommended the creation of a council to investigate global changes in marijuana usage, as well as several other considerations involving comprehensive drug law reform.

“The development and implementation of cannabis regulatory models for adult use is an area of drug law reform worthy of exploration,” the authors wrote, “especially now that there are various models that can be monitored and reviewed,” including Uruguay, some U.S. states and Canada.

The report was tabled in Parliament on March 27.

“There is increasing recognition that despite extensive enforcement efforts, cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world,” the report noted.

Uruguay was the first country to legalize recreational cannabis at a federal level, while Canada will be the first G-7 country to follow suit later this summer.

Australia’s medical marijuana market, meanwhile, has seen anemic growth due in part to separate regulations at the state and federal government level.

That’s despite significant capital flowing into the country from Canadian companies such as Canopy GrowthCronos GroupAphriaAuroraPUF Ventures and MedReleaf.

The committee wants to streamline federal and state requirements to improve patient access to medicinal cannabis products.

The committee also asked for an investigation into the role of general practitioners in providing access to medicinal cannabis “and consider how they can be best supported in this area.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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