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Pictures of Australian of the Year Grace Tame with a bong has renewed debate about the prohibition of cannabis, with some saying it should be legalised.

The Instagram photo posted in 2014 pictured the then-19-year-old sitting on a couch with a bong between her legs. Daily Mail Australia doesn’t suggest Ms Tame had used the bong.

The resurfaced image was quickly deleted by the 2021 Australian of the Year, but sparked much debate with some saying it showed that marijuana use was commonplace, so prohibition should be overturned. 

21 Australian of the Year Grace Tame (pictured) received overwhelming public support after a photo resurfaced of her pictured next to a bong

21 Australian of the Year Grace Tame (pictured) received overwhelming public support after a photo resurfaced of her pictured next to a bong

21 Australian of the Year Grace Tame (pictured) received overwhelming public support after a photo resurfaced of her pictured next to a bong

Richard Denniss, a chief economist at the Australia Institute, took to Twitter on Monday night to share his two cents on the contentious cannabis debate (pictured)

Richard Denniss, a chief economist at the Australia Institute, took to Twitter on Monday night to share his two cents on the contentious cannabis debate (pictured)

Richard Denniss, a chief economist at the Australia Institute, took to Twitter on Monday night to share his two cents on the contentious cannabis debate (pictured) 

Richard Denniss, a chief economist at the Australia Institute, took to Twitter to share his two cents on the contentious cannabis debate. 

‘The lack of photos of me smoking bongs at 20 is due only to the high cost of film photography in 1990 rather than any shortage of bongs in my life back then,’ he tweeted on Monday night. 

‘While I think private photos should stay private, thanks @TamePunk for leading our debates again. Let’s legalise it #auspol.’

Many other Twitter users agreed with the economist over his calls to make cannabis legal.

‘Good one Richard and @TamePunk. Love it, on so many levels. We are all human, with or without photos to prove it,’ she said. 

‘Absolutely – enormous waste of taxpayer resources goes into attempted control through criminal justice system. Great for tax income Colorado earned $432 million in the last year,’ another agreed.  

In recent years calls have loudened for cannabis to be legalised in Australia in a move that would follow Canada, a suite of European countries and 18 states in America including Colorado, Washington D.C, New York and California. 

A 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed a significant minority – over 40 per cent of Australians – believe cannabis should be legalised for personal use. 

That compared with 2013 when 25.5 per cent of citizens backed the move. 

The number of people who said they had used cannabis at some point in their lives has seen an increase from 33.5 per cent in 2001 to 38.1 per cent in 2019. 

In Australia, laws related to cannabis very significantly across states and territories.

In South Australia, possession of small amounts is subject to fines but is not a criminal offence, similar to parking fines, while in the ACT possession and cultivation of limited amounts is effectively legal.

Elsewhere, possession and cultivation is normally treated with warnings and diversion into drug counselling programs but repeated infractions and large amounts still carry jail terms. 

In the legalisation of the drug in 2018, Canada has banned advertising, enforced plain packaging, regulated the display of ingredients and limited the number of stores that can sell cannabis. 

The minimum age to purchase the drug is 19, except in two provinces where 18 year-old’s are permitted. 

A 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed over 40 per cent of Australians believe cannabis should be legalised for personal use (pictured, a woman smokes in Canada)

A 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed over 40 per cent of Australians believe cannabis should be legalised for personal use (pictured, a woman smokes in Canada)

A 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey revealed over 40 per cent of Australians believe cannabis should be legalised for personal use (pictured, a woman smokes in Canada)

Calls have loudened for the psychoactive drug to be legalised in Australia in a move that would follow Canada, a suite of European countries and 18 states in America including Colorado, Washington D.C, New York and California (pictured, a woman smokes in Paris)

Calls have loudened for the psychoactive drug to be legalised in Australia in a move that would follow Canada, a suite of European countries and 18 states in America including Colorado, Washington D.C, New York and California (pictured, a woman smokes in Paris)

Calls have loudened for the psychoactive drug to be legalised in Australia in a move that would follow Canada, a suite of European countries and 18 states in America including Colorado, Washington D.C, New York and California (pictured, a woman smokes in Paris)

Many high-profile personalities were quick to signal their support for Ms Tame when the photo went viral on Monday.

Comedian Wil Anderson was among the most outspoken supporters and posted an old photo of himself pictured with a bong as online debate raged.

‘It’s hard but I forgive Grace,’ he joked in a follow-up tweet.

Anderson echoed the support by others by sharing their tweets, including Australian musician Ben Lee.

‘She just keeps getting better,’ the four-time ARIA award winning singer and songwriter wrote.

The Project host Peter Helliar joked the picture could even get Ms Tame a second nomination for Australian of the Year.

Comedian Wil Anderson (pictured) was among the most outspoken supporters and posted an old photo of himself pictured with a bong as online debate raged

Comedian Wil Anderson (pictured) was among the most outspoken supporters and posted an old photo of himself pictured with a bong as online debate raged

Comedian Wil Anderson (pictured) was among the most outspoken supporters and posted an old photo of himself pictured with a bong as online debate raged

The massive wave of support for Ms Tame (pictured) extended to the world of politics.

The massive wave of support for Ms Tame (pictured) extended to the world of politics.

The massive wave of support for Ms Tame (pictured) extended to the world of politics.

The massive wave of support for Ms Tame extended to the world of politics.

‘Putting out photos of the much respected former Australian of the Year partying as a youth is beyond pathetic,’ Darcy Byrne, mayor of Sydney’s Inner West Council wrote.

‘Grace Tame’s manners are fine, it’s the politicians scraping the bottom of the barrel that need to learn about respect.’

But not everyone jumped to Ms Tame’s defence.

‘Good grief this person was Australian of the year, we need to take a long, hard look at how she was selected and who selected her’, a reader commented online.

Another added: ‘Excellent response by the PM’s wife. Grace is really losing her message in her behaviour.’ 

Grace Tame (right) has come under fire from Scott Morrison's wife over her frosty exchange with the Prime Minister (left) at an Australian of the Year function at The Lodge

Grace Tame (right) has come under fire from Scott Morrison's wife over her frosty exchange with the Prime Minister (left) at an Australian of the Year function at The Lodge

Grace Tame (right) has come under fire from Scott Morrison’s wife over her frosty exchange with the Prime Minister (left) at an Australian of the Year function at The Lodge

Ms Tame has been consistently been in the news headlines over the past week, after delivering a rousing speech at the National Press Club and throwing her now famous ‘side eye’ at the Prime Minister while greeting him and his wife in Canberra. 

Ms Tame was seen giving Mr Morrison a less than friendly handshake with a scowl on her face before throwing him an icy sideways glance.

Of the awkward moment, the PM’s wife Jenny said in a 60 Minutes interview: ‘I just found a little bit disappointing, because we were welcoming her in our home. 

‘I just wish the focus had been on all the incredible people coming in. I respect people that want to change things, stand up for their beliefs, and are strong, but I still think there are manners and respect.’

CANNABIS USE IN AUSTRALIA:

For people aged 14 or older in Australia in 2016:

– 35 per cent (or 6.9 million) used cannabis in their lifetime.

– 10.4 per cent (or 2.1 million) used cannabis in the last 12 months.

– 18.7 years was the average age people first tried cannabis.

– 21 per cent had the opportunity to use cannabis in the previous 12 months.

– 22 per cent of people in their 20s had recently used cannabis

Among recent cannabis users aged 14 or older in 2016

– 34 years was the average age of recent cannabis users

– 14.4% used cannabis every day

Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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Source: DailyMail

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