As of January 2020, Australian Capital Territory will become the first Australian state to legalise the possession and personal use of cannabis.
The laws passed through the ACT Legislative Assembly yesterday afternoon, a landmark ruling and a huge step in the right direction for Australian drug policy.
Australian Capital Territory has legalised the possession and personal use of cannabis. Come January 2020, you’ll be free to own and grow weed in our fine capital.
There’s a few important caveats though, and the actual ruling is closer to conventional decriminalisation than full legalisation. Most importantly, possession and consumption of cannabis will still be illegal until January 31, 2020.
The buying and selling of weed will also remain illegal after that date, so don’t expect dispensaries to start popping up under the shadow of Parliament House anytime soon. What will be legal is possessing up to 50 grams of dried Mary Jane, or up to 150 grams fresh.
Citizens will also be able to grow two plants in their homes, which is neat.
However, the new ruling also directly conflicts with Commonwealth Law, so there remains a chance that users and growers will be penalised with fines or prison sentences after the new laws come into effect.
It’s not clear which side police officers will take at the moment. Two recent letters from Commonwealth prosecutors have acknowledged the legal complexities the new rulings will present, meanwhile ACT Attorney General Gordon Ramsay has warned that local police will still have prosecuting powers. That said, ACT Policing has confirmed that they will be focusing less on the average cannabis user henceforth, and more on larger scale dealing and organised drug crime.
Regardless of how you look at it, the simple fact that the legalisation of cannabis passed has opened the door for a more considered and more modern approach to drug law in Australia.