Weeding through the facts – An overview of cannabis usage in Australia and New Zealand


Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in both Australia and New Zealand.

Here are some interesting facts.


In Australia

  • In 2019, 11.6% of the general population had used cannabis in the past 12 months.

  • The average age of the Australian cannabis user in 2019 was 35 years.1

  • Users primarily source their cannabis from a friend (65%) or a dealer (18%).1

  • In January 2020 ACT decriminalized cannabis but it is still illegal.5

  • In December 2021, the average consumption of cannabis in regional Australia exceeded that of the capital cities, with the highest consumption observed in regional NSW, NT and SA.2

  • Looking at the world stage, Australia ranks 6th of the 16 SCORE (Sewage Core Group Europe) countries on cannabis usage.2

In New Zealand

  • During 2020/2021 – 15.3% of adults (aged 15 years and over) had used cannabis in the past 12 months.3

  • 4.5% of New Zealand adults had used at least weekly or more frequently in the last 3 months.3

  • By age 21, approximately 80% of young New Zealanders will have used cannabis, with 10% developing a pattern of heavy, dependent use.4

  • In 2020, New Zealand held a referendum on legalising cannabis. The results of the referendum were that 50.7% of voters were against legalisation and 48.4% were in support.


Sources:

  1. National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019: in brief, Summary - Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (aihw.gov.au)

  2. Report 16 of the National Wastewater Drug Monitoring Program | Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (acic.gov.au)

  3. https://minhealthnz.shinyapps.io/nz-health-survey-2020-21-annual-data-explorer/ New Zealand Health Survey – Ministry of Health December 2021

  4. National Drug Policy 2015 to 2020 Ministry of Health NZ

  5. https://www.act.gov.au/cannabis/home


 

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