TCA Parliament Passes Bill to Legalize Personal Use of Cannabis
This is a first for an Australian state, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has become the first jurisdiction in the country to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. The legislators of the territory adopted Wednesday a historic bill allowing adults to own up to 50 grams and cultivate four plants per home.
Personal use of cannabis remains banned elsewhere in Australia, but medical use has been legalized in 2016.
About 35% of Australians over the age of 14 have consumed grass during their lifetime, according to health authorities. The ACT has about 400000 inhabitants and includes the city of Canberra and its surroundings.
Under its legislation, which will come into force on January 31, it will remain illegal to sell cannabis or consume it in public. Cannabis remains a prohibited substance under Commonwealth legislation and CAW police officers will retain the authority to arrest and charge anyone for trafficking under this legislation.
Proponents of legalization say the law aims to reduce the risks and stigmatization of users, while opponents argue that it could introduce more people to the consumer. Because it is not a state, the CAW is more vulnerable to its laws being overthrown by the federal government.
Lawmakers who sponsored the bill on Wednesday said they were "very confident" that it would not be challenged by federal politicians. However, they acknowledged the existence of legal uncertainties. The Commonwealth will also have the opportunity to repeal the law and have the laws removed as inconsistent with its own laws.
"This does not completely eliminate the risk of people being arrested under federal law, and we are frank with the community on this," said Attorney General Gordon Ramsay at the CAW Legislature.
New Zealand must organize a referendum next year on legalization.
So what is allowed and what is not?
- All adults in the Australian Capital Territory will be able to grow two cannabis plants per person, with a maximum of four per household.
- They will also be allowed to own up to 50 grams of dry cannabis or 150 grams of wet cannabis
- It can not be consumed in public or near children and should also be stored in a place inaccessible to children.
- Cannabis plants should be grown in places not accessible to the public.
- It's legal under the law but you can still be arrested