ACT residents will have to wait until next month to see how local law enforcement react to the conflict between territorial and federal law.
New cannabis laws come into force in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, this Friday , but it’s not exactly the legalization free-for-all that many Aussie weed enthusiasts were hoping.
The Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) new rules are in direct contradiction of federal law, which prohibits the possession and cultivation of adult-use cannabis and strictly regulates medical use of the drug. It is as yet unknown if the feds will step in to impose prohibition or allow ACT to continue to go rogue on reefer.
Canberra’s new cannabis regulations allow residents aged 18 or older to legally possess up to 50 g of dried cannabis flower for recreational consumption.
ACT adults are also permitted to cultivate their own cannabis plants, with a maximum of four per household or two per person. The plants must be grown on private properties, and exclusively by residents of those properties.
The caveat? Supplying cannabis seeds remains illegal, so it’s unclear how prospective home-growers will acquire the means to grow their legally permitted plants.
Similarly, retail sale of cannabis in dispensaries or coffee shops remains verboten, demanding the question where and how are Canberrans supposed to be stocking their stashes? Large-scale cultivation of cannabis also remains illegal, as does supplying plants.
ACT residents will have to wait until next month to see how local law enforcement reacts to the divide between territorial and federal law.
Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter has made it clear that federal law is still in effect in Canberra, meaning his office expects law enforcement in ACT to abide by federal rules, including those governing cannabis. Additionally, Home Affairs minister Peter Dutton has expressed distaste for ACT’s plans to legalize.
Under the federal Criminal Code, possession of a controlled substance can result in as much as two years imprisonment upon conviction.
Written by Emma Spears