While possession of Cannabis is still illegal in several countries, Australia takes a step forward. Canberra, Australia Capital Territory (ACT) becomes the first city to legalize the personal use of cannabis. The bill was passed earlier this week. It allowed adults, people of 18 years and older to possess and cultivate marijuana for recreational use.
What does this law allow?
The law may come into effect starting 31 January. Thus, the residents of the ACT and nearby territories cannot bush up immediately. The law allows the possession of 50 grams of marijuana.
Moreover, it allows the residents of the territory to cultivate two plants person and four plants per household. This makes the ACT the first in six states of Australia to legalize the use of Cannabis.
There are still some limitations to this law. It doesn’t allow the public intake and use of the drug. It can’t be consumed anywhere near children. The plant cannot be grown in any public place. Moreover, the buds once harvested are to be stored safely away from children.
Conflict with the Federal Law
This new law conflicts with the national law of Australia. That states that the possession of marijuana is illegal. There is the slightest possibility that this news will get overrule because of the inconsistency with the national law.
The prosecution of ACT residents for possession of marijuana under commonwealth and federal law might still happen. This conflict in the legal framework might be confusing for the police. In a way, it puts the citizens of ACT at risk.
The review of the law will be conducted in three years. One cannot say for sure what will happen. Currently, the focus is on the black market selling of marijuana, not personal use. The same sort of conflict happened in 2013. At that time same-sex marriages were legalized in the capital. The law was later revoked by the federal authorities.
In 2016, Australia passed an amendment to legalize the growth of Cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Thus, the tolerance level and mindsets are changing. A drug survey conducted in 2016, showed that the majority of the population was in support of the decriminalization of cannabis for personal use.
Benefits of the law
This law if helps reduces the stigma around drug use. Affected people will be able to seek help without being a criminal and risking arrest. It will treat addiction like a health issue rather than something right or wrong.
On the contrary, some groups have a different opinion. They said that liberal opposition will not accept the bill as it is badly drafted. Moreover, it would lead to more people using cannabis. Rates of psychosis will increase and will result in more people getting charged for drug-driving.
Until now Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries to illegalize the recreational use of marijuana. Whereas nine states in the U.S. and some parts of Europe have also decriminalized its use.