Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter says that cannabis possession in the Capital Territory “is still against the law” despite local lawmakers passing a bill last month allowing residents to grow up to two plants and possess up to 50 grams, Reuters reports.
“The ACT laws removed the criminal component at a territory level but didn’t establish anything that is a positive right to possess, which means that there’s no defense to the Commonwealth law that criminalizes amounts under 50 grams.” – Porter, in an interview with Insider
Australian federal law still prohibits cannabis possession, use, and cultivation; the ACT law is set to take effect on January 31, 2020.
Porter called the reforms “terrible laws for a variety of reasons.” Porter has previously said that the cannabis reforms might have no impact because of separate laws in the commonwealth that still provide for the prosecution of cannabis-related crimes.
Following the measure’s passage, Health Minister Greg Hunt said federal officials had “no plans” to fight the law but Porter said federal interference isn’t even necessary because of how the law is written.
“If they leave their law as it is, why would there be any need to override a law which is effectively to no effect?” he said in the interview.
Australia has legalized medical cannabis nationwide but non-medical possession and use remains illegal.
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