More Australians approve of regular cannabis use by adults than tobacco, according to new analysis of the 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey data released today (Friday).

The survey of around 20,000 people aged 14-plus, conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, found 20% supported regular adult cannabis use against only 15% who approved of tobacco.

Meanwhile, as previously reported, 41% of respondents supported legalisation in 2019, compared to 37% who opposed it. In 2010, only 25% favoured legalisation.

Survey respondents were asked about their support for the legalisation of cannabis and the penalties and actions taken against people using it. 

Support for measures relating to cannabis use, people aged 14 and over, 2010 and 2019

Figure 3: This figure shows how support for legalising cannabis and approval of regular use of cannabis by an adult has increased between 2010 and 2019, while the proportion reporting that possession of cannabis should be a criminal offence or that penalties for supply should be increased has decreased between 2010 and 2019.

Fewer people thought that possession of cannabis should be a criminal offence (34% compared to 22% in 2010) or that penalties should be increased for its sale or supply (44% versus 60%).

But while the proportion of people who said they would ‘try it’ increased from 5.3% in 2010 to 9.5% in 2019, 78% of respondents said they would still not use it if it was legalised . 

Households are randomly selected to complete the survey. The 2022 edition is currently in the field and will be completed in early December 2022.

  • Use this interactive map to find out the level of support for legalisation in your area.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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