Cannabis, the law and social impacts in Australia


Cannabis law enforcement costs the Australian community well in excess of $300 million per year (about three-quarters of the total cost of illegal drug enforcement). The enforcement of laws relating to cannabis can have an impact on future employment, education and travel prospects of thousands of young Australians.

This Trends and Issues looks at the social impacts of cannabis and of actual and potential law enforcement and criminal justice system responses to cannabis, particularly to minor cannabis offences. It derives from a larger, ongoing study commissioned by the National Drug Strategy Committee (NDSC) at the request of the Ministerial Council on Drug Strategy (MCDS), Phase 1 of which was completed in April 1995. A range of analytical points from the research and some basic data are presented here, to help inform this important policy debate.