Cannabis, CANZUK and the Commonwealth: Where is it Legal, Where Can You Toke Up?
Commonwealth nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain share a common political and cultural heritage. Recently, a non-profit organization by the name of CANZUK has attempted to solidify this close link by means of law.
Among other things, the organization strives for greater freedom of work, travel, and residency across these four countries. With their petition already at over 235000 signatures as I live and breathe and type this article, now is as good a time as any to study cannabis laws across the CANZUK countries. So what do stoners need to know before they spark up in these four nations?
Cannabis Laws Across The CANZUK: Australia
But the news is not all good. The political climate in Australia might not be ready for the hemp plant to flower just yet.
Such statements fly in the face of scientific fact and reflect a government that is far too conservative to consider the prospects of legal weed. However, farther north, prospects for legalization seem a little less bleak.
Cannabis Laws Across The CANZUK: Canada
With the recent decision to privatize the province of Ontario’s cannabis industry by Doug Ford’s Conservative government, perhaps Canada could demonstrate to its CANZUK siblings how lucrative the legalization of weed can be.
However, the federal government’s legalization plan is not without its flaws particularly on the enforcement side of things. Notably, drivers convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana could face as much as 10 years in prison. That’s double the amount of time one would face for driving drunk.
Cannabis Laws Across The CANZUK: Great Britain
There is a reason to be optimistic though, as the floodgates to full legalization may have been recently opened. Great Britain recently passed legislation to allow doctors to prescribe medical cannabis. Notions of recreational weed have a powerful opponent however in Home Secretary Sajid Javid. The nation’s highest medical officer has shut down notions that this landmark decision could be a stepping stone for further cannabis rights.
Public opinion seems to be in favor of legalization by a slight margin. In a 2014 UK survey, 52% of those polled were in favor of legalizing the sale and possession of marijuana.
Cannabis Laws Across The CANZUK: New Zealand
New Zealand is going through a period of reevaluation. The current coalition government plans to hold a referendum in 2020 on the legality of Cannabis for recreational use. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has publicly stated that she does not support the imprisonment of cannabis users.
Until then, however, it appears New Zealand pot smokers could still face legal repercussions for their recreational activities. The severity of these charges sometimes lies on the arbitrary lines of how cannabis users choose to use. Possession for cannabis itself is relatively minor, resulting in a $500 fine and no more than 3 months of jail time. Cultivation is a different tale, however, as growers could face as long as a 7-year imprisonment, while manufacturers of hashish and oils face double that.
Conclusions on Cannabis Laws Across The CANZUK
There seems to be a fair bit of popular demand for greater unity between the Commonwealth nations. While culturally similar, and sharing a common heritage, these four nations could not be more dissimilar in their government’s stance on the legality of cannabis. Perhaps greater unity could bring about some sort of consistency for how the plant is regarded and classified legally… but only time will tell.
By: Stefan Hosko