Australia: Capital Territory Becomes First Jurisdiction to Legalize Marijuana for Personal Use

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Canberra, Australia: Members of the Legislative assembly for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have enacted legislation depenalizing activities related to the personal possession and cultivation of cannabis. An estimated 400,000 people reside in the ACT, which includes Australia's capital, Canberra.

Under the new law, which takes effect on January 30, 2020, adults may possess up to 50 grams of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants per household without penalty. Public cannabis consumption, or use within close proximity to children, will remain prohibited. Under the territory's existing law, low-level marijuana offenses are punishable by civil fines.

The ACT's policy conflicts with Australian federal law, which defines cannabis-related activities as criminal offenses. Between 2017 and 2018, Australian police made over 72,000 marijuana-related arrests – 92 percent of which were for personal possession.

For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director.