Canberra Legalizes (Some) Cannabis

September 26, 2019

Adults will be allowed to carry up to 1.8oz of dried cannabis and grow two cannabis plants – albeit no more than a maximum of four plants per household.

Australia’s capital has become the first part of the country to legalise the use of cannabis for personal recreational use.

Under the new law, which takes effect on 31 January, adults in Canberra will be able to carry up to 50 grams (1.8oz) of dried cannabis and grow two cannabis plants.

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly voted on Wednesday to legalise such possession of the drug for personal use.

The opposition had voted against the legislation, arguing that the change would encourage more people to use marijuana and lead to more drug-induced psychosis.

However the assembly’s attorney general, Gordon Ramsay, said it was time to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than an issue of “right and wrong”.

Former Australian Federal Police commissioner Mick Palmer issued a joint statement, with the Take Control drug law reform campaign, congratulating the territory on the change.

“I welcome what I consider to be a courageous decision by the ACT parliament to put control into a completely uncontrolled environment,” the statement said.

The new law comes with a number of restrictions on the legal use of the drug; it requires that adults not use marijuana near children and to store it out of their reach; owners cannot sell or supply their marijuana to anyone else; and households are limited to growing no more than four plants, regardless of the number of occupants.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalised throughout Australia, but Canberra is the first of Australia’s eight states and territories to take the next step of legalising possession and cultivation.

But marijuana users in Canberra will still face some legal uncertainty because possession of small amounts of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

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