‘I won’t be partaking’: Scott Morrison jokes as ACT cannabis legalisation looms
This weekend, some of us will be able to smoke cannabis legally for the first time. But the Prime Minister has issued a warning.
Plumes of cannabis smoke are forecast to rise out of the nation’s capital this weekend — when Australians will be able to legally smoke cannabis for the first time.
From Saturday, the ACT’s new laws, passed by its parliament in September, allow adults to possess up to 50 grams of cannabis legally and grow their own plants.
And, while it’s anticipated there will be a few unofficial celebrations and a severe shortage of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, one man who certainly won’t be passing the dutchie is Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
He made this very clear with a dad joke when speaking at the National Press Club on Wednesday, saying he “won’t be partaking” in the weekend’s festivities.
While we can probably all agree that’s not in the slightest bit surprising, what remains unclear is how he feels about the ACT’s decision.
In a coded response to a question on the subject, he said drug laws were a matter for the states.
“States have the legal authority over these matters,” Mr Morrison said.
“I’ve always been a federalist and states will make their own decisions according to their own priorities and complexion of their own governments and that’s up to them.”
The ACT, however, is a territory not a state and the Commonwealth criminal code classifies cannabis as a controlled substance.
Heartbreaking reason Kobe was in chopper Get daily updates in your inbox
And Mr Morrison said he expected the law to be upheld.
“I would expect federal law enforcement agencies to enforce the law,” Mr Morrison said.
This follows similar statements from federal Coalition pollies, such as Attorney-General Christian Porter, who said they expect the ACT police to enforce the federal criminal laws after January 31.
This will result in a strange situation where people growing plants at home in the ACT could be breaking federal laws despite being allowed to under local laws.
And, with just hours to go before the new laws kick in, it is still unclear how police will respond to catching somebody smoking a joint.
Here’s a breakdown of what the new laws mean.
HOW MUCH ARE YOU ALLOWED TO HAVE?
Provided you are over 18, you’ll be allowed to possess up to 50 grams of the green stuff and grow two plants for your personal use. Hydroponic setups are illegal.
There will also be a maximum of four plants allowed at one residence.
WILL YOU BE ABLE TO BUY CANNABIS AT THE SHOPS?
If you were planning a trip to Canberra hoping to try the city’s soon-to-be legalised produce, you might want to think again.
There won’t be any shops popping up to sell weed, and it’ll still be illegal to buy any.
In fact, it’ll still be illegal in the ACT to even be given a toke of someone else’s joint.
ACT chief police officer Ray Johnson warned that, even if no money changed hands, sharing weed was still technically an offence.
“If there’s evidence that someone is providing cannabis to someone else, that’s supply and that’s an offence,” he told ABC radio yesterday.
WHERE WILL YOU BE ABLE TO SMOKE/CONSUME?
While you’re free to spark up in your own home, smoking in public places will still be off limits.
Driving under the influence of cannabis is obviously still illegal as well. Exposing a child to weed smoke is also illegal.
WHAT’S THE GO WITH GROWING YOUR OWN BUSH?
One of the strangest quirks of the new legislation is that you will technically have to break the law to start growing your legal crops.
This is because you still won’t be able to buy, sell or give seeds to anyone in order to grow plants.
CAN I TAKE SOME HOME WITH ME?
Even if you’ve stuck to all the rules about growing and possessing weed in the ACT, it’s definitely not advisable to try to bring any outside of the border.
That’s because it’s very much illegal everywhere else in Australia, including NSW that completely surrounds the ACT.
So, if you attempt to take any out, you could be fined and in serious cases even jailed.