A new poll commissioned by drug law reform group Unharm has found half of Australians support the legalisation of recreational cannabis.
The online survey of 1,086 adults aged 18-plus, conducted by polling company Essential Research from March 30 to April 2, found 50% of respondents support making cannabis use legal, double the number recorded in the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.
And a majority — 55% — favour regulating and taxing cannabis sales like alcohol or tobacco.
Meanwhile, 58% want medicinal cannabis made more affordable and accessible by allowing people with prescriptions to grow their own, and 62% support scrapping current drug-driving laws.
Unharm said the huge increase in public support since 2013 stands in stark contrast to government drug policy, with cannabis-related arrests up 23% to 76,669 over the same period.
CEO Will Tregoning added the ongoing criminalisation of cannabis by governments around the country is at odds with community values.
“More and more people recognise the harm caused to our communities by the outdated, ideologically driven criminalisation of cannabis,” he said.
“The message is clear — nobody wants to see people locked up for accessing pain-relieving medication or enjoying cannabis with friends.”
“Our political leaders are out of touch. It’s time they get with the program and legalise cannabis now.”