Starting from January 31, people in the Australian Capital Territory will be legally allowed to grow and smoke cannabis for recreational purposes. Just more than 400,000 thousand people live in Canberra, with several thousand living in surrounding townships. They will be the first in Australia to legally use cannabis recreationally.
Now, it’s not a free-for-all, as there are some rules to this. Firstly, recreational cannabis is still federally illegal, so there’s a legal grey area and arrest is theoretically possible. Second, growth will be limited to two plants per individual — four per household — and users must be aged 18 or older. The maximum amount one can carry is 50 grams, and smoking is banned from public places. Obey those rules, and Canberra residents will be able to grow and smoke cannabis in the privacy of their own homes whenever they please. Oddly selling plants and seeds will still be illegal, so it’s unclear how people are supposed to get plants.
Medical cannabis has been legal in Australia since 2016, and the market for Oceania is expected to be worth nearly $3.5 billion by 2028, according to Prohibition Partners. Should recreational use become legal, the market for Oceania is predicted to be more than $8 billion across the region. New Zealand will hold a nonbinding national referendum on recreational use at next year’s election.
So what comes next for residents of Canberra and the ACT. Well, the law, which Liberal party members oppose, will go under review three years after taking effect. Who knows, however, where public sentiment will be by then? Canada and Uruguay have legalised recreational use, as have nine US states and the District of Columbia.