Australia’s capital city, Canberra, has become the first jurisdiction to legalise cannabis for personal use.
Citizens of the state will be allowed to possess and grow cannabis from January 31, 2020, after the law was passed at the ACT Legislative Assembly, reports The ABC.
ACT attorney-general, Gordon Ramsay, stated at the conference that he believed it was time for drug addiction to be treated like a health issue rather than something that is ‘right or wrong’.
In the amendment, it will be required that cannabis be kept out of the way of children, that it isn’t smoked near children and it isn’t grown in community gardens.
Along with the new bill, drug and alcohol services will be introduced, plus specific drug courts.
However, Ramsay acknowledged that the risk of prosecution hadn’t ‘entirely’ been removed, but ‘in practice’ the laws wouldn’t be applied.
Opposing the new bill was ACT shadow attorney-general, Jeremy Hanson, who informed the assembly that it would lead to ‘perverse outcomes’.
He argued that it would be encouraging people to use cannabis, despite medical professionals warning it can lead to an increased risk of psychosis. He then said there would be a surge in drug driving.
Hanson continued: “This puts not only individuals at a greater level of risk but our police will be out there on the beat working in this unclear legal framework.”
A review of the new bill will be conducted in three years time but in the meantime, residents of the capital will be able to light up.