The Growing Use of E-Cigarettes in NSW

Sales of e-cigarettes have soared in recent years, mainly at the expense of more traditional cigarettes. But these new products are not just giving cigarette companies a run for their money – part of their market is cannabis users who have been taking advantage of this new technology.

Across the world, both medicinal and recreational cannabis users have gravitated toward the e-cigarette.

Users can take advantage of e-cigarettes to ‘vape’ cannabis resin in public without fear that the distinctive cannabis odour will give them away. This is because cannabis in wax or resin form does not emit the same smell as smoking buds and leaves does, allowing users to brazenly ‘vape’ in public.

All that a person would need to do is replace the e-liquid (typically a mixture of nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals) with cannabis oil.

Even in US states like Colorado where it is already legal to purchase and smoke marijuana, some prefer the convenience and feeling of e-cigarettes. They say the high is more intense, and have taken advantage of the fact that it allows users to circumvent limits on the amount of cannabis that one person can buy.

The legal limit is a quarter of an ounce for fresh cannabis – but cannabis oil is sold in cartridges so strong they it can last for weeks at a time.


What about those who might enjoy the sensation of smoking cannabis, without the high?

Well, there has been a product invented for this, too.

Along with the more generic flavours of vaping liquid, such as cherry or watermelon, Dutch company E-Njoint BV has now introduced the electronic joint. They claim that their product is completely legal and safe and – and that it won’t actually get you high.

The e-joint has a small picture of a cannabis leaf that lights up when a user draws on the e-cigarette.

The company website describes the product as allowing people to enjoy “a variety of products and flavours, relaxing, while expressing themselves in a unique way”.

It is true that the product does not contain THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. It has the same flavour, but will not have the same effects as smoking cannabis would have.

That being the case, some might wonder why anyone would want to buy it at all!

But orders of the product are said to be increasing, perhaps due to its novelty.

What is the law in Australia on e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes have been banned in Western Australia since 2014, and while they remain legal in other states, some users have been adapting the devices for illegal purposes.

In NSW, e-cigarettes are not currently covered by tobacco legislation, although selling the liquid nicotine inserts is illegal. Despite this, sales of e-cigarettes remains lawful, and it is not an offence to possess the nicotine inserts, as long as you’re not selling them.

However this may not be the case for long, with Premier Mike Baird recently announcing plans to crack down on e-cigarettes.

What are the penalties for vaping cannabis in NSW?

There is no specific offence of vaping cannabis. Instead, it would fall under the provisions of the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985. Under this Act, possession of cannabis – whether it is the oil, resin or leaf – is a criminal offence in NSW.

The penalties for possession are a maximum two years in prison or a $2,200 fine.

In order to prove this offence, the prosecution must establish beyond reasonable doubt that you:

  • Had the cannabis in your possession; and
  • Knew, or should have reasonably known, that it was there.

If you are facing charges or have concerns, it may be wise to get advice from a good drug lawyer. An experienced lawyer may be able to get your drug charge dropped or thrown out of court, or may be able to help you to avoid a criminal record even if you wish to plead guilty.

Ugur Nedim About Ugur Nedim
Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Specialist Criminal Lawyer and Principal at Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Sydney’s Leading Firm of Criminal & Drug Defence Lawyers.

Show Comments

Comments are closed.