Canberra is on a high after becoming the first Australian city to legalise cannabis.
The landmark legislation passed by Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on Wednesday allows anyone over the age of 18 to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants.
But there are still a number of loopholes smokers need to be aware of before they light up in the nation’s capital.
The new ACT law still has loopholes where smokers will be breaking the law if they share a joint
Weed won’t be sold in stores and it will still be illegal to supply the drug to others or enjoy a puff on someone else’s joint, even if no money is exchanged.
‘If there’s evidence that someone is providing cannabis to someone else, that’s supply and that’s an offence,’ ACT chief police officer Ray Johnson told ABC Radio.
Smoking weed in public places and anywhere near children will still be illegal, along with growing it in community gardens or hydroponically.
Driving under the influence of cannabis will remain an offence in the ACT.
Interstate visitors visiting the nation’s capital will won’t be able take it home as cannabis remains illegal in every other state and territory.
Enjoying a joint legally in the nation’s capital won’t come into affect until January 31 next year
Despite the legislation already being passed, the new law doesn’t come into effect until January 31 next year.
Until then, it’s still illegal to possess cultivate, sell or supply any quantity of the drug in the ACT.
‘Penalties start at $100 fines for simple cannabis offences, and range up to $250 000 fines and life imprisonment for more serious cannabis offences,’ the ACT Police website states.
The bill also needs to be first be signed off by ACT Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith before it becomes law.
There will be limited access to the drug after the law comes into effect early next year with a limit of four cannabis plants per household.
There will be a limit of four cannabis plants per household under the new ACT cannabis laws
There are also fears the ACT legislation will clash with federal drug laws, where cannabis remains a prohibited substance.
‘This does not entirely remove the risk of people being arrested under Commonwealth law, and we are being up front with the community about that,’ ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.
Police say they will support the ACT government on the new laws but admit there will be challenges.
‘We’ll work to make [the laws] as effective as it can be,’ Chief Police Officer Johnson told ABC Radio.
‘Police officers will have their views, and they’ll execute the law of the day as best as they can.’
There are concerns the federal government will consider challenging new ACT laws.
Cannabis remains a prohibited substance under federal drug laws (stock photo)
‘I think it might be trendy for the ACT government to go down this path, and they’ll say they’re enlightened and progressive and all the rest of it,’ Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told 2GB radio on Thursday.
Greens national leader Richard Di Natale welcomed the new law but wants to see a national approach.
‘There are concerns that the federal police could still intervene in the ACT, so what we need is a national approach,’ he told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Thursday.
‘Every state should take the issue of cannabis out of the hands of criminals, it should be treated as a health issue.
‘We should ensure that we have tightly regulated access and by doing that we reduce harms, we take it out of the hands of criminal syndicates and ensure we have got a tightly regulated health model for a drug that many Australians are already using.’
If signed by the ACT health minister, the new law will allow anyone over the age of 18 to possess 50 grams of cannabis and grow two plants in the nation’s capital