Australian Capital Territory has become the first Australian state or territory to legalise the possession and small scale cultivation of cannabis after landmark legislation passed the ACT Parliament.
Under the new legislation, adults will be able to possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis for personal use and cultivate two plants at their residence – for a maximum of four plants per household.
It puts Canberra completely at odds with Australia's Commonwealth law, under which possession and cultivation is still largely illegal, carrying significant fines and imprisonment in some states.
HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The legislation isn't effective yet
Before you rush to Canberra to light up, you should know that it's not legal quite yet.
The new laws won't become effective until 31 January 2020, when they're due to be signed off on by the health minister. It's a date which will no doubt spark something of an informal festival in the capital.
POSSESSION AND CULTIVATION WILL BE LEGAL BUT WITH LIMITS
As long as you're over 18, you will be able to possess 50 grams of dried cannabis or 150 grams of the fresh stuff. In addition, an individual will be allowed to cultivate two plants at home with a maximum of four plants allowed at one residence.
WHAT'S STILL ILLEGAL UNDER THE NEW LEGISLATION?
It's a long list.
Firstly, you shouldn't get your hopes up before you start organising a February trip to Canberra. There won't be vendors popping up to sell weed and it'll still be illegal to buy any, as has been the case in parts of the US and Canada.
In fact, it'll still be illegal in the ACT to even be given any. ACT chief police officer Ray Johnson has warned that even if no money changes hands, gifting or sharing weed is still technically an offence.
"If there's evidence that someone is providing cannabis to someone else, that's supply and that's an offence," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
You can't smoke in public space and you also won't be able to buy, sell or provide seeds to anyone in order to grow plants. That creates a strange legal space where you'll have to technically break the law to begin legally growing.
Any hydroponic or "artificial" cultivation remains illegal, as does growing on commercial or community property, including nature strips. That goes to for driving under the influence of cannabis as well.
CANNABIS IS STILL ILLEGAL UNDER AUSTRALIAN LAW
That means that while Canberra's territory laws allow possession and cultivation, you could still be prosecuted under Commonwealth laws. It puts police officers in a very strange position.
"On the face of it, regardless of the passing of the bill, possession of cannabis would remain illegal in the ACT by effect of Commonwealth law," Johnson wrote to the ACT's Legislative Assembly. "This would create a tension for ACT Policing members between their obligation to implement ACT government policy intent and to have regard for the Commonwealth criminal law."
Those Commonwealth laws are pretty tough, including a maximum prison sentence of two years.
While clarity is still lacking, the general idea appears to be that it remains up to individual police to decide how to proceed. It's assumed they'll use discretion and go by the new Territory laws, but no one really has a concrete answer at this stage.
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE OTHER STATES AND TERRITORIES?
Again, it's very much illegal elsewhere in Australia – including New South Wales which fully encircles the ACT.
If you were to take legal weed from Canberra and then leave its borders, you can be charged just as you were before the legislation came into effect. Those penalties include fines and, in the most serious cases, imprisonment.
This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.au
Possessing and growing cannabis for personal use looks set to become legal in Australia’s capital.
The ACT Legislative Assembly is expected to pass a private member’s bill on Wednesday from Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson that would allow Canberrans over 18 to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants.
Labor needs the backing of the Greens to pass the bill, and they have offered conditional support.
The 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”, which is why the laws would be accompanied by more drug and alcohol services and the introduction of specific drug courts.
He acknowledged possessing and growing cannabis would remain a federal offence, and the risk of prosecution was “not entirely removed”, but “in practice” the laws would not apply.
The ACT shadow attorney-general, Jeremy Hanson, told the assembly on Wednesday the Liberal opposition would not be supporting the bill as it was badly drafted and would lead to a number of “perverse outcomes”.
He said it would encourage more people to use cannabis – which medical professionals say would lead to increased rates of psychosis – and more people would be charged with drug-driving.
And the fact it conflicted with commonwealth law would be confusing for police.
“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,” Hanson said.
A review of the laws will be conducted within three years.
Residents of the bush capital wouldn’t be able to light up immediately, with the ACT’s health minister needing to sign off on when the law would come into effect.
Pettersson said a defence exists for cannabis use under commonwealth law if the use is excused or justified by state or territory law.
“Commonwealth law has been written with the express understanding that there are differences,” Pettersson said.
“I don’t think it’s particularly likely the commonwealth government will try to fight this.”
Federal attorney-general Christian Porter said the bill was a matter for the ACT, but where commonwealth laws applied they remained enforceable.
A spokeswoman for ACT chief minister Andrew Barr said the government had consulted with ACT Policing and the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.
A spokesman for federal health minister Greg Hunt said any problems with commonwealth law were a matter for the attorney-general, but the federal government did not support legalising cannabis for recreational use.
Amendments made to the original bill require cannabis to be kept out of reach of children, and bar adults from using it near children or growing it in community gardens.
It’s not the first time laws introduced by the territory have clashed with federal laws.
In 2013, the capital legalised same-sex marriage only to have the federal government revoke the law after it took a challenge to the High court.
Before that, in 1995, the Northern Territory legalised voluntary euthanasia only to have the federal government later legislate to stop the nation’s territories from specifically introducing assisted dying.
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa set to introduce legislation banning most flavoured e-cigarettes
Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa has today announced that the government will introduce legislation banning most flavoured e-cigarettes, with the exception of tobacco, menthol and mint.
The new legislation also includes heavy restrictions on marketing, treating e-cigarettes in a similar way to tobacco, with bans on advertising, social media and discount pricing.
If you feel that this goes against New Zealand achieving the Smoke-free 2025 goal, or will impact you in any way, please let the government know your views by sending an email to Associate Minister of Health Jenny Salesa: firstname.lastname@example.org and Health Minister David Clark: email@example.com
You can also join the campaign to stop the proposed ban on flavoured e-cigarettes at the Aotearoa Vapers Community Advocacy Group on Facebook here: www.facebook.com/groups/NZAVCA/
The Helen Clark Foundation is launching a new research paper that says 'yes' to the 2020 cannabis referendum.
The report says New Zealand should expunge minor cannabis convictions and create a legal and responsible market for the drug.
In doing so, they want to keep the drugs from getting into a for-profit commercial industry.
Do you agree with the Helen Clark Foundation's recommendations on drug law reform?
Vote in the poll below.
Medical Kiwi is the first South Island-based company to be granted a cultivation licence by the Ministry of Health that will allow the company to establish a cannabis breeding programme for research and development for medicinal cannabis.
Established in December 2018, Medical Kiwi is a pioneering medicinal research and nutraceutical wellbeing company, created to take advantage of the global opportunity that medicinal cannabis represents.
The licence granted this week allows Medical Kiwi to move forward on development plans for a state-of-the-art research and development facility in Brightwater, Tasman.
The 8,000 –10,000 m2 facility is set to be started in late 2020. Its design aligns environmental responsibility with commercial objectives, including technology to ensure agricultural and commercial practices are sustainable.
Medical Kiwi’s Chairperson Aldo Miccio says the company’s board is thrilled to have been granted the cultivation licence.
“In just eight months, our experienced business and science-based Board of Directors has developed a clear strategy that is already on track,” says Miccio. “Prime land for a research and development facility is secured, designs are completed, global networks are established, and investors are lined up,” says Miccio. “The cultivation licence is another important milestone the company has achieved to date. It is an exciting time.”
“Our facility and the resulting products will have significant economic benefits for the Nelson Tasman region and for New Zealand,” he says. Our research will focus on the development of medicinal cannabis products, with a particular focus on the optimum growth conditions."
Miccio estimates Medical Kiwi will employ approximately 180 – 245 full time equivalents.
“The calibre of our staff will ensure that our New Zealand-made products will stand up against the best in the world.”
Company director and biotechnologist Dr Michael Packer says medicinal cannabis represents a long overdue health and wellbeing product that aims to improve health outcomes for not only New Zealanders, but the export market as well.
“Research and development are central to advancing the medicinal cannabis industry,” says Packer. “Medical Kiwi intends to develop safe, high-quality, accessible medicinal and wellbeing products including oil, balms, tinctures, sprays and creams. Our vision is that everyone who could benefit from medicinal cannabis products can access and afford them,” he says.
Having now secured the licence for cultivation, Aldo Miccio says Medical Kiwi Ltd has released an Investment Memorandum for private professional investors, offering shares in the company in two series.
“We raised $1 million in seed funding from both private investors and investors from the smart money sector in the US, who all recognise the value of New Zealand-origin medicinal cannabis products,” says Miccio. “We are now offering a new share issue to raise $7.5 million, providing investors with an opportunity to invest early in Series A. A Series B share offer will follow later this year.”
The full scope of Medical Kiwi’s operations from 2020 onwards will cover research and development and cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, supply and distribution, and marketing of medicinal and nutraceutical cannabis products.
More information can be found on the Medical Kiwi website: www.medicalkiwi.com
Call by 31 year retired veteran of the industrial hemp industry for the Prime Minister to initiate an inquiry into the activities of MOH Medicine’s control and the Industrial Hemp Licencing Authority.
Original member inter-agency working group on the cultivation of cannabis for industrial purposes 29 years chair NZ Hemp Industries association (retired) et al. Some refer to me as: The Godfather of Hemp in NZ, only others know if this is a truism.
Dear Prime minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern.
I write to you in desperation knowing a simple call from one of your staff seeking clarification re how are the Misuse Of Drugs Industrial Hemp 2006 regulations are working and has industry any complaints in this regard; may well be enough to get the regulations enabled which currently in the writers view they are not. I often state “ Im no expert! But here’s what I think I know.”
Many thanks Health Energy Humour
Stay Cool D J (Mack) Mcintosh