Despite many advances that have occurred in previous years, both in Australia and in other countries, the legalization of cannabis is still a sensitive topic all around the world. Moreover, the issue is still being resolved or on standby in numerous states for some of which we believed would perhaps be among the first to adopt the consumption of this substance as something regular. Probably due to their liberalism and kind of different attitude. Indeed, this year has brought some milestones and changes in this area that have been expected for a long time, and the good news is that the constraints are slowly being eased and that the perception of legalization is also changing from day to day. With this in mind, it’s assumed that the citizens of the whole of Australia can hope that 2021 will bring them some fresh and exciting news related to cannabis use.
However, as we said that its first few months brought some moves in this field though, it might not be bad to remember the moments that at least made Australian laws take a step closer to some more concrete solutions.
A little bit of history
Let’s start with the past years, when the cultivation and consumption of marijuana for any purpose was strictly prohibited by law, which was somewhat expected. Australia followed the example of all other countries that strongly opposed even the idea of making this type of psychoactive substance legal. Having in mind the mentality of that time and countless controversies that accompanied the appearance of cannabis use, this plant was already characterized as harmful at the beginning of the 20th century. And, truth be told, it could be assumed that even then the type of revolution that would change this wasn’t the plan.
Since the number of users only increased over the years that passed by, in the middle of the sixties of the twentieth century this substance was officially declared illegal and banned. Authorities at the time put it in the same basket with much heavier drugs, such as heroin and MDMA. And, although today it’s clear that the effect of hard drugs in most cases can’t be compared to soft drugs, officials explained that cannabis, just like them, affects health and quality of life. And this was the end – at least legally.
The reality, of course, was different, but it can’t be said that there were major shifts until the very beginning of this century. This is the time when numerous countries including Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and others one after the other implemented cannabis use – primarily for medical purposes. However, it took Australia a little longer to reach that stage and a lot of research had to be conducted to get the first results in 2015 – the federal government passed a law that legalized the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.
The entire decision was shaped in 2016 by changing the law from the 1960s. So, this year, not only the cultivation, but also the consumption of cannabis was approved, but in certain circumstances, and that is exactly what opened the door to significant progress in the years that followed. That’s because the goal was reached, but again – only partially. In 2018, the ACT district became richer for another law that allows the possession and cultivation of this plant in small quantities. Also, the export of these goods became possible afterwards, as well. Another small but encouraging step forward, as these rules didn’t include healing purpose only, but also the recreational use.
What happens in 2020?
Since the entire territory of Australia is divided into several units that have their own autonomy and special rules apply to each of them, those particular parts have adopted their own laws that don’t apply to the rest of the country. This is the case with cannabis use as well.
The first significant thing that happened was the strengthening of the 2018 law concerning The Australian Capital Territory, which passed a law declaring the possession and growing of a slightly larger amount of cannabis. At the end of 2019, a decision was made to implement a new rule starting from January 2020, which allows the inhabitants of this part of Australia to grow their own marijuana. That was confirmed quite soon, to the delight of many, and Canberra received some new instructions that need to be followed to this day.
Unlike the once insignificant amounts that were considered acceptable a couple of years ago, an adult is able to keep up to 50 grams of dried marijuana or 150 grams of fresh leaves. However, you can only use your stock in person, as it’s still strictly forbidden to sell it or offer it to others. Of course, when we say an adult, we mean everyone who’s older than 18 – minors are still not allowed to use it or grow it.
As for the planting itself, it’s feasible to make four seedlings on the household level, and regarding the limitation per person, you can’t own more than two. What you grow shouldn’t be visible or exposed to the public, especially if you have minors in the area. Knowing this, the question is where to get the seeds. A lot of attention needs to be paid here, since just like all other things that we take into the body, it should be chosen with caution. In its article on seed selection, Vela Community cites the reputation of the seller, varieties and payment and delivery options as some of the main things to consider.
However, due to the fact that each district and part of the state has its own special regulations, the rules regarding this are subject to change and their authorities are free at any time to cancel their application to the territory for which they’re responsible.
In some of them, concluding with the current events, quite small amounts are tolerated, but you’re more likely to get a tiny fine for that. Cultivation is punished much more severely though and you can even go to jail, so the fines definitely aren’t monetary only. Certain territories send those caught in such activities to counseling centers if the situation is mild, but most of them still don’t accept recreational use at all.
As can be seen from the previous lines, the situation in the country is still in favor of the ban, so the question is how long it will take until a final solution is reached that might implement similar laws in all or at least most of the territories. What is certain is that the percentage of Australian citizens who are passionate enjoyers of marijuana is quite high and that numerous organizations will absolutely continue to fight for a satisfactory solution that’ll bring the desired freedom in this field to everyone.