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article imageAustralian territory becomes the first to legalize marijuana

By Tim Sandle     Oct 3, 2019 in Lifestyle
The Australian Capital Territory became the first territory in Australia to legalize “recreational possession and cultivation of marijuana.” The law comes into effect early into 2020.
The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is one of eight Australian territories and ti is the first to put measures in place to legalize marijuana, which run contrary to the federal law of the land, where recreational marijuana possession is still illegal, leading to some residual concerns that there may be issues in relation to police understanding the legislative framework due to the remaining inconsistencies between state and federal law.
Leading up to the law, possession of small amounts of marijuana had already been decriminalized. The ACT attorney-general, Gordon Ramsay, told the assembly it was time to treat drug addition like a health issue rather than an issue of “right and wrong”, according to The Guardian.
The new law comes with a number of stipulations, limiting the cultivation to private property, plus requirements that the drug is stored away from children (and the drug must not be consumed or smoked in front of minors). Furthermore, the legislation will also dictate that freshly cultivated marijuana be restricted to 150 grams (or five ounces), and with dried marijuana is limited to 50 grams. Anyone possessing the drug must be a resident to the state and aged 18 and older.
Speaking with the New York Times, Michael Pettersson, a Labour Party lawmaker who was a driving force behind the act, says: "he passage of this legislation is an Australian first. It will work to reduce the harm of drugs in our community by reducing the stigma of drug use and encouraging people to seek help without fear of arrest."
Putting the law into place did not go without challenges, according to Laboratory Roots. Opponents raised concerns about psychosis, pathways to 'harder' drugs, and addition. In addition, the Australian Medical Association put forward that that “use of marijuana could lead to chronic health problems.”
In 2019, Dr. Marta Di Forti and colleagues out of Kings College London noted that daily uses of cannabis are associated with a likelihood of developing a psychotic disorder, although this does depend upon the relative potency of the drug (and for this there were regional variations).
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