This is part 2 of our 8 part series exploring weed in Australia. We’re talking about weed in Queensland, Australia’s second-largest state behind Western Australia.
It’s so large that if Queensland became its own country, it would become the world’s 16th largest country, just behind Sudan and Indonesia. As far as its weed laws go, Queensland is relatively relaxed provided you’re only possessing for personal use. That said, the possibility still exists to spend over a decade in jail because of it.
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Weed Laws Queensland
Currently in Queensland, medical marijuana is legal while recreational weed use is not. Weed is a schedule 2 drug in Queensland, so supplying cannabis can carry a maximum of 20 years in prison.
For personal possession, weed in Queensland likely won’t carry any jail time provided you only have a small amount. From the Queensland government website:
“The amount of drugs involved in the offence is a significant factor. For example, being found with a small amount of cannabis for personal use is regarded far more leniently than possession of multiple bags intended for sale.“
If you are caught with a small amount of cannabis in Queensland, the likely outcome (although not guaranteed) will be a drug diversion program. This program offers the offender professional help, and likely removes the possibility of a criminal record.
It does however also state in the Drugs Misuse Regulation 1987 that the maximum prison sentence for possession of cannabis is:
- 15 years – if the quantity is less than 500g of cannabis
- 20 years – if the quantity is greater than 500g of cannabis
So while you might only have to go through a drug diversion program for having a few grams of weed for personal use, the possibility is still legally there for spending up to 15 years in jail.
Will Queensland Legalize Soon?
Queensland’s ideology is odd. It’s not only a very large state, but it also has a very distributed and decentralized population. In fact, it’s the most decentralized state or territory in Australia. Roughly half of the population lives outside of the capital city of Brisbane and its surrounds.
Up north you have places like Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, and Rockhampton that are typically quite conservative, and generally vote that way. Down south, however, there’s Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast, and Gold Coast which are typically a bit more liberal (actually maybe not the Gold Coast).
Queensland just went through a state election, re-electing the center-left Labor party. They didn’t have a specific stance on cannabis, so it’s unlikely they will be looking to legalize soon. The ACT legalizing in early 2020 definitely put some pressure on the rest of Australia, but seeing an actual state (and not just a territory) would truly put the wheels in motion for the rest of the country to start legalizing recreational cannabis. Currently, I doubt QLD will be that first state.