As of February 1st, 2020, recreational marijuana is coming to Australia’s capital.
In September 2019, ACT’s legislative assembly passed a bill to legalize the growing and possession of cannabis for personal use. The bill was sponsored by a private member- Michael Pettersson. His motivation was to make cannabis use a health issue and not a criminal one. In his words as quoted on The New York Times, he says:
“It will work to reduce the harm of drugs in our community by reducing the stigma of drug use and encouraging people to seek help without fear of arrest.”
The law takes effect on January 31st, 2020.
A Clusterfug to Work Through
Just like in the US, cannabis remains illegal under the federal government laws. This poses a challenge in the implementation of this new law. Will Australians in Canberra be arrested for smoking weed since it’s a violation of federal law?
ACT as a territory is subject to commonwealth laws. Therefore, there is a chance of people being prosecuted for smoking pot in the capital.
However, Mr. Pettersson has a contrary opinion. In his view, the two laws even with clear differences can co-exist. He remains “very confident” that there will be no hitches in the implementation of the new law, come January 31st.
Here Is What The New Cannabis Law Allows
- Adults (18 years and above) will be allowed to use and possess up to 50 grams of cannabis by dry weight or 150 grams of the fresh cannabis
- Adults will be allowed to grow up to two plants per individual or four plants per residence. Pot can only be grown in private residences
- Recreational cannabis has to be kept out of the reach of children
- Recreational pot cannot be consumed in public spaces, it can only be consumed in private residences
- Recreational pot cannot be shared with other people, whether money changes hands or not
- Driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal
Where To Buy Weed In Canberra
If you are planning on lighting up this weekend in Canberra you should know that this is technically impossible. As much as recreational weed will be legal, you cannot buy it from a weed dispensary in Canberra.
Adults in Canberra are allowed to grow weed for personal consumption. So the only weed that you will be allowed to light up come Saturday is one of the four plants growing in your private residence. When should you have grown this weed? It seems like you will be having some explaining to do if you are found toking on your patio on 01/02/2020.
Where To Smoke Weed In Canberra
The phrase, “not freedom yet” aptly applies here. Unlike Canada where you can light up in several outdoor places, ACT laws restrict smoking pot to private residences only. Smoking weed in public will attract a penalty.
Can I Grow Weed In Canberra?
Yes, the new law set to take effect on February 1st will allow residents to grow up to 4 cannabis plants in private residences (two per adult). Growing weed at home gives the consumer control over crucial factors such as organic farming practices and the quality of the buds. Fortunately, one can easily access marijuana growing courses online. For starters, a master class in cannabis farming can come in handy.
However, there is one technicality that may be hard to get through.
It will be up to the discretion of the police to determine whether the people found with small canopies in their residences will be guilty of contravening the law. In the least, they should have some explaining to do.
Can I travel With Weed From ACT?
Traveling with weed from one country to another is not allowed, even if you are traveling between two countries that allow recreational weed. Even though marijuana will soon be legal in ACT, the airports remain under the federal jurisdiction. This further compounds the risk of attempting to fly with weed.
What’s In The Future For Marijuana In Australia?
As it stands, marijuana is a commonly used recreational drug in Australia, in spite of the prohibitive laws. Different groups are pushing the commonwealth government to legalize the herb at the federal level. So far, a few states have decriminalized possession of small amounts of weed. ACT is the first to legalize recreational weed. This is while medicinal cannabis was legalized in 2016.
The world over, in places where cannabis has been legalized, the rollout has not been smooth. As mentioned above, many technicalities seem to be complicating the implementation of the cannabis law in ACT.
In the short term, we expect to see some level of confusion as the residents and governing authorities try to implement boundaries and confines of this law. This can be called “growing pains.”
There is reason to remain cautiously optimistic about the future of recreational cannabis in ACT and Australia as a whole. For sure, this move will spark positive conversations about the herb in different states and we may see other states taking the bold step to legalize recreational weed. We also expect to see the public sale of recreational weed being allowed; something similar to what is happening in Canada and the US. Unfortunately, the commonwealth government is likely to maintain its hard stance on this issue, leaving Australia is a similar position to where the US has been in the last couple of years.
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