Australian capital legalizes recreational marijuana

Australia’s capital is the first part of the country to legalize recreational marijuana for personal use.

The Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly voted on Wednesday to legalize possession by adults of up to 50 grams (1.8 ounces) of dried marijuana and cultivation of two marijuana plants beginning Jan. 31.

The assembly is the local government of Canberra, the national capital with a population of 400,000.

The law requires that adults not use marijuana near children and to store it out of their reach.

Owners cannot sell or supply their marijuana to anyone else.

Households are limited to growing no more than four plants, regardless of the number of occupants.

Attorney General Gordon Ramsay said it was time to treat drug addiction as a health issue rather than an issue of “right and wrong.”

The opposition voted against the legislation, arguing that the change would encourage more people to use marijuana and lead to more drug-induced psychosis.

Possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized throughout Australia, but the Australian Capital Territory is the first of Australia’s eight states and territories to take the next step of legalizing possession and cultivation.

But marijuana users in Canberra will still face some legal uncertainty because possession of small amounts of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Meanwhile, an overhaul of Australia’s medical marijuana regulations has been described as “far too slow,” by some industry experts.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily