Australia’s federal government has “no plans” to fight the recently approved cannabis legalization law in the Australian Capital Territory, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt, The Guardian reports. Hunt did say he was “very concerned” by the law, citing the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the United Kingdom who, he claims, have “directly linked marijuana use to psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia.”
Fighting the law would require an act of Parliament and while several officials have come out in opposition of the law, they have stopped short of supporting overriding the law. Attorney General Christian Porter has warned that citizens may not be protected by the law because of a separate law in the commonwealth that would still provide for prosecutions. Porter indicated he has asked for Australian Federal Police’s advice on how the two laws interact. Porter said that if the commonwealth law applies “the expectation would be commonwealth laws would be enforced.”
Michael Pettersson, the Labor member of the ACT Legislative Assembly who sponsored the bill, said that Hunt and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton are sending mixed signals about the law.
“Peter Dutton might be advocating that they interfere by changing ACT Self-government Act or potentially changing the criminal code. But Greg Hunt is out there saying based on current laws that this is a state and territory issue.” – Pettersson, to the Guardian
Under the law, citizens in the ACT 18-and-older can possess up to 50 grams and grow up to two plants for personal use. Sales or gifting of cannabis remains prohibited. The ACT is the first Australian state or territory to legalize cannabis in any form.