Recreational Cannabis Legalized in the Australian Capital
The start of February 2020 will be a great day for citizens of Canberra: the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly successfully voted on Wednesday to legalize the possession of dried cannabis up to 50 grams (about 1.7 oz) and the cultivation of two cannabis plants per person. Hence, Australia’s capital is officially the first in the country to legalize cannabis for personal use in this way. Of course, it is important to mention that medical marijuana has already been available to Australian patients with doctor’s prescriptions since 2017.
However, laws on cannabis differ elsewhere, as the current ACT law fines individuals who cultivate or possess 50g of cannabis with 160 Australian dollars, whereas possessing more than 50g may lead to a maximum of 8,000 Australian dollars or two years in prison. Sometimes individuals need to pay the fine and serve jail time as well!
Nevertheless, the Australian government reports that cannabis is one of the most frequent reasons for arrest in the country. For example, there were more than 72,000 cannabis-related officer reports in Australia in 2017-2018.
The situation concerning cannabis legalization is completely different in close-by New Zealand. Even though cannabis usage and cultivation is still illegal there, the country is planning to hold a referendum on cannabis legalization in 2020. Until then, cannabis is considered an illegal substance under New Zealand’s Misuse of Drugs Act and the cultivation of it may follow up with a shocking 14 years in prison!
Australia has always displayed its liberal policies towards illegal drugs in the past. For instance, Canberra managed to host the country’s very first pill-testing facility in April, which examined substances for unexpected contaminates before the visitors had a chance to take them. By performing this, seven young individuals escaped the clutches of possible death when the pill testing trial at the festival, Groovin the Moo, triumphantly identified lethal substances in the drugs.