Cannabis policy and policing: user perceptions

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Project Supporters:

Australian Government Department of Health

Drug Type:
Project Members: 
Dr Peter Gates
Research Officer
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Professor Jan Copeland
Honorary Visiting Professor
Project Main Description: 

The state of cannabis legalisation varies between countries and there has been a recent increase in those which legalise medicinal cannabis use and regulate its use and production for recreational use. In contrast, the classification of cannabis as an illegal drug has not changed in Australia although the proportion of the public who associate cannabis use with a drug problem declined while approval for adult use and the proportion of recent users increased between 2007 and 2010 (AIHW 2011). Surprisingly in this climate, the perceived impact of legalising medicinal cannabis use is rarely investigated and the opinion and attitude of cannabis users is largely unknown. Scant research from Europe and the US suggests that drug policy has little impact on cannabis use practices or attitudes (Cohen& Kaal, 2006; Reinarman & Cohen, 2007) and that users share a low perceived risk of arrest (Van der Maas et al. 2013) and few are aware of roadside sobriety testing for cannabis (Looby et al., 2007). This study addresses this gap in research by examining the opinions and attitudes of cannabis users regarding cannabis drug policy and policing, or the perceived risk of arrest.

Aims: 

To examine the opinions and attitudes of cannabis users regarding drug policy and policing, or the perceived risk of arrest.

Design and Method: 

Individuals who approach the Hemp Embassy Information Booth during the MardiGrass festival (3rd and 4th of May, 2014, in Nimbin, New South Wales) will be questioned on inclusion criteria and, where appropriate, will be invited to complete the information and consent form and short survey.

Progress/Update: 

Data collection is complete at N=216 and data is being analysed.

Output: 

The expected output will be a journal article and conference presentation describing the findings of the research to APSAD and NDSC.

Benefits: 

The study will assist NCPIC to assess emerging trends in aspects of cannabis use amongst a sentinel group of heavy users and their assessment of risk associated with use while driving and policing issues.

Project Research Area: 
Drug Type: 
Project Status: 
Current