The ACT was the first place in Australia to legalise cannabis after passing the Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill 2018. The bill permits residents to possess a small quantity of cannabis, and it officially came into effect over a year ago (on January 31st 2020).
As the sky didn’t fall down in the months after ACT legalised cannabis, many researchers and policymakers have started looking to the ACT for guidance on successful drug policy. Several of these researchers are running the UNSW study. The study is part of a larger project that’s asking diverse groups of people with different values to weigh in on potential solutions for cannabis.
The overarching goal of this project is to test whether participatory processes that engage with values, community goals and diverse stakeholders can enhance the design of drug policy solutions.
The research focuses on three key “dilemmas” as case studies. These include legalisation (aka the ACT study), mandatory treatment and cannabis social clubs. Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC’s) are non-profit organisations where cannabis growers can share cannabis legally and for free with other cannabis users. CSC’s aren’t legal anywhere in Australia, though they have been explored as a potential solution before (most recently in the Victorian government’s Inquiry into the use of Drugs report).
UNSW’s study will examine people’s perception of both CSC’s and ACT’s current decriminalisation laws.
The study is being funded through the Australian Research Council as a Discovery Project and UNSW ethics committee already approved it (reference number HC200911). The ACT Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association (ATODA) will also collaborate on the study.
If you live in the ACT and are interested in participating in the research, please click here for more information.