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The ACT Is Just One Vote Away From Legalising Cannabis

Cannabis was decriminalised in the ACT in 1992 -- but Labor MP Michael Pettersson said that means people are getting caught out. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) Possessing up to 50 grams of cannabis or four marijuana plants for personal use could soon be legal in the Australian Capital Territory. A private members bill to legalise cannabis for personal use has the unanimous support of the capital's Labor minority government and only requires one extra vote from either the Greens, or the Liberal Party. The man behind it, Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson, says Australia has lagged for too long on this issue. "I would say that Australian and Canberrans like to think they're forward thinking and we are more progressive than our friends in America but, on this, we are well behind the eight ball," he said. "Because of our current drug laws, getting caught with small amount of cannabis, could ruin your life." Cannabis was decriminalised in the ACT in 1992 -- but Pettersson says that has still meant people are getting caught out. "Under decriminalisation (in the ACT) for every one person that get a fine, three people get arrested. It's up to the arresting officer for discretion," he said. "Decriminalisation doesn't mean what people think it does. "That's why he wants to make it legal. And it has support in the ACT. Over the pas