Australia’s Capital Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis
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Australia’s Capital Legalizes Adult-Use Cannabis

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly voted to legalize possession of up to 50 grams and the personal cultivation of two plants in Canberra, beginning Jan. 31, 2020.

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September 25, 2019

Canberra, Australia’s capital city, has become the first part of the country to legalize adult-use cannabis possession and cultivation after the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly voted to legalize possession of up to 50 grams and the home cultivation of two plants.

The new law goes into effect Jan. 31, 2020, according to The Washington Post, and applies to adults age 18 and older.

Under the new law, adults cannot use cannabis near children, and must store it out of their reach. Households can grow no more than four total plants, regardless of the number of occupants, and the plants’ owners cannot sell or distribute their cannabis to others, according to The Washington Post.

The possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized in other parts of Australia, but the Australian Capital Territory is the first of the nation’s eight states and territories to legalize possession and cultivation, The Washington Post reported. Patients with a prescription from a doctor have been able to legally access medical cannabis since 2017, according to the news outlet.

As in the U.S., there is some legal uncertainty now that Canberra has legalized cannabis, which remains illegal under federal law; Chief Minister Andrew Barr said cannabis-related prosecutions would require the approval of federal prosecutors, and indicated that prosecutors are “concerned with larger matters than the possession of a small amount of drug,” according to The Washington Post.