Spliff politics: Weed legalised in Canberra

Our Australian Capital Territory has become the first territory to legalise possession and growth of cannabis for personal use.

Media reports from news.com.au and the ABC revealed a private member’s bill on Wednesday from Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson allows Canberra residents over the age of 18 to possess 50 grams of cannabis and a maximum of four plants per household.

This legislation will come into effect from January 31, 2020.

According to the ABC report, however, there also remain plenty of rules around when and where cannabis can be consumed. It cannot be consumed in public, or anywhere near children, and will also have to be stored somewhere inaccessible to children. Cannabis plants will have to be grown somewhere not accessible to the public.

However, it’s not yet time to relax completely as cannabis use and possession is still a prohibited substance under Commonwealth law and police officers in the ACT will retain the power to arrest and charge anyone with cannabis under those laws, the ABC reported.

According to the same report, it will also be possible for the Commonwealth to overrule the ACT, and seek to have the laws struck out as inconsistent with its own legislation.

The legalisation of cannabis is slowly spreading around the world with some countries legalising recreational marijuana in full, such as Canada almost a year ago, as well as Uruguay and Luxembourg, the first European country to do so. Eleven states within the US have also legalised weed for recreational use.

Anecdotal and scientific evidence of the effectiveness of cannabis for medicinal and therapeutic treatment of many medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain and endometriosis is increasingly coming to the fore with pioneering research being conducted in countries including Israel, the US and Canada.


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