The Australian Capital Territory legislature has approved a measure to allow residents 18-and-older to grow up to two plants and possess up to 50 grams of cannabis beginning Jan. 31, the Guardian reports. It’s the first time an Australian jurisdiction has approved cannabis legalization, although cannabis is not allowed to be sold or given away under the law.
Under Australian federal law, cannabis use and cultivation are illegal.
ACT Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said the risk of federal prosecution for use and cultivation are “not entirely removed” under the bill but the laws would not apply “in practice.”
ACT shadow Attorney General Jeremy Hanson said the bill would have “perverse outcomes,” encourage people to drive under the influence, increase cannabis use, and would be confusing for police.
“This puts not only individuals at a greater level of risk but our police will be out there on the beat working in this unclear legal framework.” – Hanson, via the Guardian
Labor Party member Michael Pettersson, who introduced the bill, said Commonwealth law provides a defense for cannabis use if it is justified by a state or territory law and was written, “with the express understanding that there are differences.” Pettersson said he didn’t believe the federal government would try and fight the reforms.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the federal government does not support cannabis legalization.
In 2013, the ACT legalized same-sex marriage but the federal government challenged the law in court and the law was ultimately revoked.
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