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Legal cannabis in ACT could pave way for further decriminalisation

The laws, passed on Wednesday and coming into effect on January 31, would make possessing 50 grams of cannabis or growing two plants legal.

On Thursday Attorney-General Christian Porter said he would consider what action if any the Commonwealth government should take with the ACT laws. Mr Barr said it would be a “massive overreaction” for the federal government to intervene.

“I presume none of them are arguing that recreational users should find themselves behind bars for two years which is what the Commonwealth Criminal Code allows for,” he told the Canberra Times.

Jason Jordan, director of Medical Cannabis Research Australia, said the Commonwealth and territory split on the issue was going to “cause even more confusion” for people who self-medicate with cannabis.

Mr Jordan, a patient advocate who takes medicinal cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis, said one positive of the change was that it would help to reduce stigma with medical professionals and hopefully improve the rate of people accessing medical cannabis properly.


“Normalising cannabis is an important part of what we do,” he said. “I can’t help but think that [legalising recreational use] helps with re-normalisation.”

Chief executive of medical cannabis company Greenfield MC Nicholas Hanna said he also welcomed any law that reduces stigma surrounding cannabis.

“We expect that many people who will benefit from this law will be persons who suffer from various medical conditions that are self medicating using cannabis,” he said.

“However it must be recognised that for any medicine to be most effective it needs to be produced at the highest standards, and cannabis is no exception.”

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