Australia Capital Territory:
The Australia Capital Territory, or ACT for short, is the federal district of Australia. Logically, Canberra (the capital city of Australia) is contained within the ACT. While it isn’t a state exactly, it is a territory. That means it has slightly different laws and regulations than other Australian states. Let’s take a look at what those laws are, and how you should proceed in terms of using and growing marijuana in the Australia Capital Territory.
Australian marijuana laws
With the state of Victoria leading the way in the legalization of medical marijuana in Australia, the federal government finally changed the 1967 Narcotic Drugs Act to allow medical marijuana in the country as a whole. Different states have slightly different laws within this, especially when it comes to how patients can be prescribed medical marijuana.
If we look at the ACT specifically, it’s important to note that people can just get medical marijuana if they have a certain type of illness. These are classified as “category 6 illnesses” and include multiple sclerosis with spasms, nausea, and vomiting from chemotherapy, pain or anxiety in a terminal case, or refractory paediatric epilepsy. This is stricter than some other states, which often function more on a case-by-case basis and don’t have strictly defined categories.
However, some people use a type of medical marijuana that does not need the same approval process for use and can, therefore, find relief for their other ailments. One example of this is cannabidiol, which has 2% or less of any other cannabinoids and is a differently classed medicine. Therefore, no authorization from the Australia Capital Territory is required.
Meanwhile, recreational marijuana remains illegal altogether. That is not to say that no one uses it, of course. In fact, it is culturally a highly accepted and commonly used drug -- one in three Australians admit that they have at least tried it once. Even so, every type of law (local and national) bans the use of recreational marijuana. Some places have effectively decriminalized recreational marijuana, slapping offenders with a minor fine rather than giving them jail time and a criminal record, but it is still not legal (yet).
Australia Capital Territory information
The ACT can be a little surprising because it is not as strict as you might imagine for a national capital territory. Although recreational marijuana remains illegal, in the ACT it can be less strict because you might get caught with a certain amount of marijuana without receiving a criminal record for it.
Simply put, people caught possessing less than 50 grams of marijuana in the nation’s capital will most likely not receive a criminal record. In effect, this means that it has been decriminalized. Even so, the neighboring state of New South Wales could actually lead to you being thrown in jail -- so it’s important to keep in mind how much marijuana you have, and where you are!
The ACT is the federal district of Australia and is often known exclusively for its capital city and the capital of Australia as a whole, Canberra. You might think of Australia as hot year round, but in fact, this is not the case for certain parts of it. Canberra (and the ACT in general) is one of those exceptions. It is elevated more than 2,000 feet above sea level and isn’t particularly close to the coast, meaning it has four very distinct seasons.
In general, the ACT experiences hot, dry summers and fairly cold winters that include frost quite often. Some of the mountains are often snow-capped throughout the winter. Canberra and the ACT are located in the southeastern part of Australia, but are not right on the coast and therefore have a slightly different climate to the coastal region nearby.
Specific growing laws
In the ACT it is illegal to give, distribute, possess, or cultivate marijuana. When it comes to growing marijuana, you’re not even allowed to assist in any part of the grow process. That said, a lot of the penalties are not particularly strict -- especially when compared with the penalties in surrounding states.
If you are caught possessing a small amount of marijuana, for example, you might only be slapped with a $100 fine. This applies to “simple cannabis offenses.” If you’re distributing to minors, possessing a lot more marijuana, or are doing something else that is considered to be more than just a simple offense, the penalty could be huge. You could end up with a fine as high as $250,000 and could even be imprisoned for life. Therefore, it’s important to keep your possession and grow operation small and avoid giving it to anybody else.
Two plants (as long as they are grown outdoors rather than in a hydroponic or “artificial” setting, which has heavier penalties) are the total that you can grow without it being likely that you would get more than a fine. It needs to also be clear that it is only for your personal use and is not being shared with anyone else. As long as you pay this fine in time (two months), you won’t even have a mark on your record for it. For this reason, I’d recommend keeping your grow operation to two plants or less.
Growing marijuana in Australia, even in the Capital Territory, is possible, but you’ll need to be creative. Do your research and understand your risks, but most of all – have fun. Happy growing!