Graphic of map of the Australian Capital Territory with marijuana leaves imposed on the background.

Graphic of map of the Australian Capital Territory Canberra with marijuana leaves imposed on the background.

By Chris Bovey

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) has passed a bill legalising possessing and growing cannabis for personal use in Canberra.

The new law, due to come into force next year on 31st January 2020, will allow people aged 18 or over to possess up to 50 grams per person, as well as four plants per household.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis is already decriminalised throughout Australia. The ACT, the smallest Australian territory which includes the nation’s capital, Canberra, is the first to pass legislation to legalise possession and cultivation.

Photo of Michael Pettersson who introduced a bill to legalise cannabis in Canberra.

Canberra lawmaker, Michael Pettersson.

The bill, introduced by Labor backbencher, Michael Pettersson, was passed last Wednesday with the support of the Greens and Australian Liberal Democrats.

Federal ban on marijuana remains

Technically, cannabis is still illegal federally in Australia, creating a situation similar to the USA where many states have legalised recreational cannabis while it remains nationally a federal criminal offence.

However, Mr Pettersson said that while legalising cannabis in Canberra might clash with federal laws, he was “very confident” there wouldn’t be any problems.

Mr Pettersson said his motivation for introducing the bill was to make drug use a health issue, not a criminal one.

“Because of our drug laws, getting caught with a small amount of cannabis can ruin your life,” he said.

Amendments made to the original bill require cannabis to be kept out of reach of children and barring adults from growing it in community gardens or consuming it near children.

The legalisation of cannabis in ACT is just the latest in the long list of the dominoes of prohibition that the world has witnessed falling in recent years.

Canberra joins Uruguay, Canada and much of the USA

Uruguay and Canada have both legalised recreational cannabis for adults, defying the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board who told them not to do it. It’s legal in 11 US state plus the District of Columbia.

The tiny Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is to be the first EU country to officially legalise cannabis, following the re-election last year of Liberal Prime Minister, Xavier Battel, who famously humiliated Boris Johnson by empty chairing him at a press conference.

New Zealand is also to hold a referendum on legalising cannabis which all polls indicate should pass comfortably.

Meanwhile, the UK government continues to peddle the lie that cannabis is dangerous and they have no intention of legalising the herb. This is despite the fact senior people associated with the Conservative Party are allowed to grow acres of it mainly for export abroad, because the Home Office gave them a license to grow it.

You too could apply for a license from the British Home Office to grow cannabis in the UK, but unless you have very high connections to the Conservative party or have donated them an obscene amount of money in the past, it will be declined.

The catastrophic consequences warned by prohibitionists if any country dared to legalise cannabis have not materialised. In fact, a study showed that pot usage amongst teens went down in US states that have legalised recreational marijuana.

The only major national political party in the UK who are committed to reforming national cannabis laws in the UK are the Liberal Democrats, so they’ll be getting my vote. Plus, they think Brexit is a shit idea and would cancel that.

Birthday wish

There is much talk of a November election in the UK. My birthday is in November, what a nice birthday present that would be, Tories out of government, Brexit cancelled and cannabis legalised. I’ll be able to get on with my life, build new businesses and stop ranting about this useless fucking government of cretins.

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.

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