Legalise cannabis


Donated by Peter Stanley

Museum of Australian Democracy collection

Cannabis use was prohibited in Australia in the decades before recreational use by young people became widespread in the late 1960s, when it was introduced into Sydney. It became associated with Australian youth culture in the 1970s and its use increased until the late 1990s.

From the 1970s advocates called for reduced penalties for cannabis use, arguing that there were few health risks associated with it. The Australian branch of NORML (National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) was one such organisation lobbying to repeal prohibition. In the late 1970s and early 1980s the Australian Marijuana Party also campaigned for law reform, but never elected a candidate.

In 1987 South Australia became the first state to decriminalise cannabis, with the Australian Capital Territory enacting similar legislation in 1992.

The donor of this badge, Peter Stanley, writes:

I bought this in the Pipe Dreams shop in Rundle Street, Adelaide, about 1984. I didn’t smoke marijuana (and never have) so I felt rather daring going into a shop that basically sold bongs and drug accoutrements.