Canberra At Crossroads With Federal Law After Cannabis Recreational Use Legalization

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Canberra At Crossroads With Federal Law After Cannabis Recreational Use Legalization

Cannabis recreational use will soon be legal in Australia. Barely a year after Canada legalized recreational use at the federal level; Australia Capital Canberra has become the first territory in the country to legalize recreational use in addition to medicinal use.

Starting 31 January 2020, possession and use of the plant for recreational purposes will become legal a move that could have a ripple effect on other territories also pushing for the same. However, the legalization runs counter to federal laws that still affirm cannabis is a prohibited substance at the federal level. As the capital legalized pot, it remains prohibited in other territories across the country.

Canberra Recreational Use Regulations

As part of the new law, adults above the age of 18 will be able to grow and possess cannabis for personal use. However, there are strict regulations that people must adhere to, as part of the regulation of the plant. Cannabis growing is restricted to private property and two plants per person.

The new law also requires that no single household is found with more than four cannabis plants at a go. The law also bars possession of more than 50 grams of dry cannabis per person. For wet cannabis, the cap is 150 grams.

The legalization also bars people from consuming pot in public places or anywhere close to children. People contemplating growing the plant will also have to do the same in an area that is inaccessible to people below the age of 18.

Cannabis Advocates vs. Opponents

The legalization comes at a time when authorities appear to be softening their stance on drug laws a move welcomed by cannabis advocates. Calls to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than the issue of being right or wrong has gone a long way in lessening the stance held by authorities when it comes to things like pot.

Advocates of the cannabis plant have always insisted that legalization is the right call as a way of combating illegal sales in the black market. Supporters also insist that legalization will go a long way in reducing the risk and stigma that has always afflicted people using the plant for various purposes.

“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,” said Michael Peterson the driving force behind the legalization drive in Canberra

In contrast, opponents insist that making pot legal could lead people to more harmful drugs in the process. Researchers have also warned that increased pot consumption could lead to increased risk of psychosis a move that could also see people driving under the influence.

Even with the prohibition of cannabis in place, pot remains the most widely consumed illicit drug in the country. In the 2017-2018 financial year, police made over 72,000 cannabis-related arrests of which 92% of the arrests involved consumers.

Cannabis Legalization Standoff: Commonwealth Law vs. ACT Law

However, consumers in ACT will have to be on the lookout as they go about growing and consuming cannabis for personal use. Just as is the case in the U.S, the pot will remain illegal at the federal level even with the legalization in Canberra. This is because legalization in ACT somehow conflicts commonwealth law, which as it stands still prohibits cannabis possession.

The legal risk of arrest by police officers will be there even as recreational use becomes legal early next year. In addition to detention, consumers stand the risk of a jail term of not less than two years under commonwealth laws.

With the Commonwealth law still in place, ACT legalization could still be challenged at the federal law a mover that could lead to a total overhaul. This would not be the first time that the federal government has challenged a law passed by territories in the commonwealth.

In 2013, the Canberra legalized same-sex marriage only for the law to be overturned by the highest court on the land. The federal government went on to legalize same-sex marriage in 2017 following push by advocates. As it stands, national laws always take precedence over territorial laws.

Even as recreational use remains a contentious issue at the federal level, the country has already legalized the use of cannabis medicinal purposes. The country went on to legalize the export of cannabis products as it sought to score big on the growing demand for cannabis products for medicinal purposes across the globe.

Cannabis legalization in Canberra follows months of debate over the policy as well as the legal and health issues at stake. The legalization echoed development in other parts of the world. In the U.S for instance, ten states have already legalized recreational use even as it remains illegal at the federal level.

Canada and Uruguay are some of the few countries that have legalized recreational use at the federal level. While personal use remains illegal in New Zeeland, the country is heading into a referendum that could change the destiny of the plant in the years to come.

Cannabis Market Global Outlook

The legalization craze is increasingly giving rise to one of the biggest markets on a global scale. A study by Markets and Markets indicates that the global cannabis market is poised to reach $39.4 billion by 2023 from $10.3 billion as of 2018.

The 30.7% compound annual growth is attributed to many factors key among them being the growing medicinal application of the plant. Increased legalization, especially for recreational purposes, also continues to fuel the growth.

Australia legal cannabis market is projected to grow to over $1.2 billion by 2027 from $52 million as of 2018. The process of cultivating and producing the plant alone should give rise to more than 50,000 jobs by 2028, expected to boost local economies.

However, the rapid growth is dependent on lenient cannabis laws that should allow the company to tap growing opportunities not only at home but also abroad. For instance, China demand for cannabis is projected to clock record highs of $178 billion, which would present exciting opportunities for Australians on the export business.


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