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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Legislative Options for Cannabis - Australian Government

Chapter 3.


Free availability.

This policy option could not be accommodated under the Conventions and would place Australia in breach of its treaty obligations. This discussion of international instruments suggests that Australia has some flexibility in considering and implementing policy options in the context of treaty obligations. However, for some options it might be thought necessary to seek amendments to the Conventions or, indeed, denounce them.4

An important question to be answered is whether Australian drug laws, so long dominated and directed by influences beyond our shores, and so little attuned to Australia's own circumstances, should continue to be determined externally. As cautious an inquiry as the Williams Royal Commission commented, in relation to the Single Convention, that the spirit and intention of the treaty was 'a secondary matter in the sense that Australia must first decide what is the correct domestic policy and then shape its international course accordingly' (1980, pC263).


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