Weed in Australian Capital Territory – Australia Series

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This is part 4 of our 8 part series exploring weed in Australia. We’re talking about weed in the Australian Capital Territory, the smallest region in Australia and home to Canberra. Ok, technically Jervis Bay Territory is the smallest region within the Australian mainland, but anyway.

Size-wise, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is around 13 times larger than D.C., or 75% of the size of Rhode Island. Canberra is essentially the only city or town with the territory. There are a few other minor settlements, but urban sprawl has almost engulfed them. Like D.C. is to the US, the ACT is the most liberal and forward-thinking place in Australia. Or at least, that’s what the typical voting habits suggest. Canberra legalized recreational cannabis use earlier in 2020, and made history as the first Australian state or territory to do so.

weed in Australian Capital Territory

Disclaimer: We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this article at the time of reading. We take no responsibility for any inaccurate information.

Weed Laws in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

On January 31st, 2020, the ACT legalized weed. Adults aged 18 and over can now legally possess:

  • up to 150 grams of fresh cannabis
  • up to 50 grams of dried cannabis

Adults can legally use cannabis, provided it’s for personal use, and on private property such as your home. Smoking weed in public in Canberra is still an offense. As is exposing minors to cannabis use or storage, and growing cannabis with hydroponics.

To legally grow cannabis, it cannot be accessible to the general public, for example, growing in your front yard where passers-by could reach over your fence. These rules still leave cannabis users with a legal loophole to deal with however.

The Legal Loophole

Apart from medical marijuana, you cannot legally buy weed in Canberra. You also can’t legally buy cannabis seeds, and gifting or sharing cannabis is also illegal. So no matter how you initially get your cannabis in Canberra, it is currently illegal. You can legally grow your own (with the few caveats listed above), however getting those initial seeds is illegal.

Although this sounds like a potential legal nightmare, obtaining cannabis has always been illegal, so really nothing has changed there. Put simply, this law change means the risk of using cannabis at home is removed for adults. So yes, it’s not perfect, but it’s currently the best in Australia.

Medical Marijuana In Canberra

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Medical marijuana is also legal in the Australian Capital Territory. An individual needs approval from both the territory’s Chief Health Officer and the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

To be eligible, a patient needs to have one of the following conditions:

  • nausea/vomiting due to chemotherapy
  • refractory pediatric epilepsy
  • spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis
  • anxiety or pain due to a terminal illness with less than 12 months prognosis

Other conditions can be considered on a case by case basis. This seems like a fairly rigorous approval process, and a fairly narrow eligible conditions list for a region that has legalized recreational weed. With legal adult weed use in Canberra still being less than a year old, these requirements might be due for an update soon.

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