Researchers at the University of New South Wales are conducting a study to understand users’ experience of cannabis in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) since decriminalisation.

Professor Alison Ritter

The study led by Professor Alison Ritter aims to explore the experience of people who have used and grown cannabis in the ACT since The Drugs of Dependence (Personal Cannabis Use) Amendment Bill 2018 came into effect on January 31 2020.

The amendment means that while cannabis is not legal in the ACT, it is decriminalised, and a small amount can be possessed and grown by people aged 18 and over. 

In particular, the researchers want to understand how the practices of cannabis use and growing cannabis may have changed due to the new legislation and gauge participant views on models such as cannabis social clubs. 

While the study is still in its recruitment phase, it forms part of a larger project concerned with the role of participation in designing illicit drug policy solutions. 

The overarching aim of the larger 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 cannabis study will form one of three case studies for the larger project as it looks at decriminalisation, cannabis social clubs and mandatory treatment. 

Cannabis social clubs are non-profit associations formed by adults who consume cannabis, often existing in political contexts that have decriminalised cannabis such as the ACT.

The studies are funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project and involve collaborators from University of East Anglia (UK), ACT Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Association and the Association for Participating Service Users. 

Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...