Following a landmark vote on Tuesday, Canberra becomes the first city to legalize recreational marijuana in Australia. The passed bill allows individuals who are 18 years plus to legally possess, use and cultivate small amounts of weed for recreational use.
The ABC state broadcaster reported that the new law would be implemented as from the last day of January next year. The new law stipulates that Canberra residents can legally possess up to 1.76 ounces of dried weed and cultivate a maximum of two or four plants per person or household, respectively.
Although the Australian government does not support the legalization of marijuana for personal use, Canberra becomes first in Australia’s six states such as Victoria, South Wales, and two territories; Northern Territory and Southern Australia to legalize recreational marijuana.
In Australia, drug laws differ on a state by state basis. The current ACT law stipulates that a person cultivating marijuana plants or in possession of 1.76 ounces of dried marijuana will attract a fine of $108 while those possessing more than 1.76 ounces will attract a two-year sentence or a fine of 8000 Australian dollars.
Marijuana is one of the primary drugs that is highly abused in Australia. In the financial year 2017-2018, cannabis-related arrest were 72,000, of which 92% of these comprised of cannabis consumers.
Conflicting with the national drug laws is the ACT’s new law allowing people to possess marijuana. ACT’s law which was passed by ten votes, states that driving with detectable levels of marijuana is a prosecutable offense. It is not the first time for the federal laws to conflict with the ACT’s laws. In 2013, same-sex marriage was legalized by the ACT, but the High Court of Australia cancelled the bill citing that it was inconsistent with the federal law.
Times are changing, and the Australian parliament is not left behind. In 2016, it approved the first bill in Australia, allowing people to grow marijuana legally for medical and research purposes.
New Zealand, a country which neighbors Australia, has legalized the used of medical cannabis. However, recreational marijuana is prohibited in New Zealand. The country plans on holding a referendum to legalize marijuana for personal use in 2020. If New Zealand is successful in legalizing Marijuana for recreational purposes, it will be the third country on the globe.
In the United States, nearly a dozen states, including Washington, D.C., permit the use of recreational marijuana. Additionally, many parts of Europe have decriminalized recreational marijuana.
Industry experts think that whenever marijuana companies like Therma Bright Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF) and TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) see news of marijuana reforms in other jurisdictions, they wonder when the U.S. federak government will take the cue and reform its own outdated marijuana laws.
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