Majority Of Australians Support Medicinal Marijuana

Australia - Medicinal cannabis poll
Cannabis Image: BigStock

91% Australian support the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes according to a recent Roy Morgan telephone survey.

The poll revealed just 7% are against legalisation, with 2% undecided.

Support was widespread, regardless of gender, age group, states of residence and political affiliation. Interestingly, the highest amount of support was among those  65 and older; with 94% believing medicinal marijuana should be legalised.

But perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising. Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research noted older age groups are most susceptible to some of the conditions that medicinal marijuana can provide relief from; including Parkinson’s disease, cancer, glaucoma and other ailments.

State-wise, Western Australians demonstrated the the highest rate of support at 97%.

In terms of voting intention, 92% of those intending to vote for the Coalition in the next federal election support the use of medicinal cannabis, 94% of would-be ALP voters do and legalising medical marijuana was almost unanimously supported among Green voters (97%).

However, when it comes to smoking cannabis, it was a very different story.

“It should also be noted that the special telephone survey found that only one third of the population believes that the smoking of marijuana should be made legal,” said Ms. Levine. “This demonstrates that Australians understand that smoking and consuming marijuana for medicinal purposes are two very separate issues.”

Medical marijuana does not need to be smoked and given the potential health risks associated with inhaling combusted plant materials generally; it’s probably wise not to. It can be delivered in a variety of safe, quality controlled forms – vaporizing, tablets, liquids, creams and various edibles.

The Roy Morgan poll was  sparked by a recent announcement by the Australian Federal Government that it  will seek parliamentary support for a licensing scheme permitting the local cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific applications. Part of the plan is to enable each state’s government to decide whether they will allow cannabis will be grown; so the poll’s results showing strong support throughout Australia are particularly important and may play a role in how each state proceeds.