Canberra, Australia’s capital has passed a bill making it the first in the country to legalize the cultivation, possession and recreational use of marijuana. The bill is not yet in effect but is set to come into effect as of January 31, 2020.
The law allows adults over the age of 18 years to possess up to 50 grams per person and permits up to 4 marijuana plants per household. The law states that adults must use and store marijuana away from children and are not allowed to sell their supply of marijuana to anyone else.
Contradictions of The New Bill
While the new bill is a landmark for Australia and is a move in the right direction, the bill contradicts other state and commonwealth laws, causing some confusion.
While cannabis will be legalized under ACT law, it will still be illegal under commonwealth law. Meaning that if someone was prosecuted in a commonwealth court and under commonwealth law, a constitutional matter would need to be raised in order for the ACT to intervene.
Another concern over the law is that although it’s legal to grow your own use your own supply, it will still be illegal to give away even a small amount of cannabis to someone else.
Pettersson says that:
“Their intention is by leaving the offence but including an exemption it sends the message to police that they are following the law when they make the determination not to prosecute.”
So the exemption for marijuana has been made, but the overshadowing commonwealth law will still be in effect.
“It creates uncertainty where we don’t seem to have a formal position from police themselves,”
While the passing of the new bill is certainly not perfect, it’s at least a step in the right direction.