Australia Cannabis Laws: The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Legalize Cannabis For Personal Use


The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) on January 31st, 2020 facilitated people to possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use. This act has been passed by the Parliament of Australia in September 2019 and came into effect. The Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use of Cannabis) Amendment Act 2019 (ACT) was the outcome of an amendment in the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 (ACT) for the withdrawal of penalties for those persons who are above the age of 18 years. They can possess up to 50 grams of dry cannabis or 150 grams of “fresh cannabis” or they can grow up to two marijuana plants per person with a limit of a maximum of four plants in each household.

In addition to this, under the Amendment Act, now it is illegal to:

  • smoke or make use of cannabis in a public place
  • expose a young person or child for smoking cannabis
  • storage of cannabis where children can reach it
  • grow marijuana by making use of artificial cultivation or hydroponics
  • grow marijuana plants where they can be easily accessed by the public

Other ACT cannabis offenses will also remain in effect which are inclusive of sharing, selling, or giving cannabis as a gift to another person, being under the age of 18 and possessing or growing marijuana, or driving with any amount of marijuana in the system of the driver.

The ACT is the first Australian jurisdiction for making the use and growth of marijuana legalized for personal reasons. Certain minor offenses might be dealt with through infringement notices in some other jurisdiction, and some facilitate the application of a diversion system for low-level offending.

The Commonwealth (federal) government has stated that it will not intercede to overturn the new ACT law, in spite of the fact that it contradicts federal legalization criminalizing the possession of marijuana.

Under the amended Drugs of Dependence Act, possessing a small amount of marijuana and one or two plants remains an offense. However, the Act creates exceptions for particular groups of people. Under the Act, these cannabis offenses remain simple cannabis offenses.

If a police officer comes to reasonably believe that a person has committed a simple cannabis offense, and it is not an exempt person, he might even issue a Simple Cannabis Offence Notice (SCON). Those persons who are under the age of 18 will not be considered exempted people under the Act. They might be issued an SCON or might be diverted to an alcohol or drug diversion program.


Currently, the ACT makes use of numerous legislative instruments for drug offenses which are inclusive of the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 (DDDA), the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Good Act 2008 (ACT), and the Criminal Code 2002 (ACT). There are no offense provisions for a huge range of drugs under these legislative instruments which are inclusive of modern synthetic types. The ACT is always updating legislation for keeping pace with changes in drug markets.

Commonwealth law is also applicable in entire Australia, including in the ACT. All of the police officers under this law are empowered for enforcing these laws. Key Commonwealth legislation is inclusive of the Narcotic Drugs Act 1967 and the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995.

ACT Police officers are having the discretion for doing the utilization of the ACT or Commonwealth Laws and they will also make use of their discretion which is dependent on the situation. Under the Commonwealth law, police can seize marijuana as evidence of a potent offense and subsequently destroy it.

Child Protection

A huge number of offenses that are included in the legislation are for the protection of children. These are inclusive of the offenses for obtaining a child to traffic drugs, smoking cannabis in the presence of children, supplying drugs to a child for the child to sell.


It is also an offense to driving while under the effect of illegal drugs that are inclusive of any amount of marijuana. There is a zero-tolerance for drugs in your system when driving, unlike alcohol.

Information for businesses

Common household items that are sold in retail stores might be used in the manufacturing of illegal drugs. When these are purchased alone, the items below don’t represent any illegal drugs activity. However, large and frequent quantity purchases of one or more of the items that are mentioned below or similar items might be an indication of illegal drug manufacturing.

If you suspect that a suspicious purchase has occurred in your store, you must try to:

  • keep a copy of the receipt as proof of your transaction
  • keep a copy of the credit card details if it has been used
  • make note of the physical description of the person and the time of purchase
  • keep a record of CCTV footage of people behaved in a suspicious manner
  • If it is safe to do so then you can keep a record of vehicle registration.