The laws in Australia make it so that you can’t possess cannabis, grow it or sell it. With that said, one of the things that you will learn is how the laws in each state differ. For some states, you receive no more than a $50 fine, but you have other states where they could charge you with a criminal offense, and you will face either a larger fine, or you will face jail time. Australian legislature in 2006 amended its Australian Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act.
Legal in the Territories?
Australia is interesting that the ACT became the first jurisdiction in the Land down Under to make it legal to possess cannabis of up to 50 grams. Keep in mind, you still can’t possess it in the states without a fine. In some states, you could call it like a parking ticket, but in other cases, it will lead to a court summons.
In the territories, adults can possess two plants per person, or they can possess up to four plants per household. Meanwhile, the plants can be accessible to either children or the public. Unlike in parts of the United States and all of Canada, marijuana largely remains illegal here. You can still get charged with a criminal offence. In September, New Zealand plans to hold a referendum in September where they will decide if they should legalise it altogether.
Drug Reform Worldwide
We have witnessed large changes to drug reform on a worldwide level where possession of cannabis has become less and less of a crime to possess it. More people have begun to emphasise that they go after organized crime and the big drug dealers over the small time users. No matter where in the world it has existed, prohibition has always failed, and in fact, it helped to give rise to the mafia coming into power. That was one of the reasons that they ended alcohol prohibition in the United States.
How Does Decriminalisation and Legalisation Differ?
Decriminalisation means that if you get caught carrying a small amount of marijuana, you will have to pay a fine for it. Basically, it becomes a civil matter like a speeding ticket, rather than a criminal case. It still hasn’t reached legalisation, but you don’t have to worry about spending time in jail for it. On the other hand, legalisation means that cannabis no longer classifies as an illicit drug. Under Australian cannabis laws, you have some states that have decriminalised it in smaller recreational amounts, but they still could give you a ticket for the use of it. Legalisation means that it has become legal to possess under a set of guidelines, and you don’t have to worry under the weed laws as long as you follow them.
What States Have Decriminalised the Use of Cannabis?
That begs the question, what states do you still have to worry about jail time under current pot laws and what states have decriminalised marijuana? Let’s have a look.
South Australia has long held the views of decriminalisation, and in fact, as far back as 1987, they had it decriminalised. That goes to show that the state has been ahead of the pack in terms of Australian cannabis laws. You can possess up to 100 grams of marijuana and no more than 20 grams of hashish and not have to worry about legal ramifications. For anyone who gets caught with marijuana in this state, they will pay a fine of anywhere between $50 to $150. They have 60 days to pay for it.
Western Australia is the other state where they introduced a civil pentalty in 2004. They overturned this law in 2008, and they changed it again in 2011. In 2011, they made it a point where people would have to attend cannabis intervention. They will have to attend a cannabis intervention session within 28 days after they have had an arrest, or they could face criminal charges. Nevertheless, if you grow cannabis in Western Australia, all the weed laws of this state mean that you will face criminal charges.
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A lot of people support changes that will at the least, decriminalise the use of marijuana. This means that they would receive a civil fine, rather than facing drug charges and a possible jail sentence. Instead of looking to put the marijuana smokers away, they might seek to reform them and help them to stop with smoking marijuana.
What to Know About the Territories
One of the things that you should understand about the territories is that while it has been legalised in the territories, it remains illegal under federal law. That puts it in a somewhat tricky position. Much like in the United States, you have 11 states where they have legalised marijuana, but it remains illegal under federal laws. This has given has to problems from time to time as federal law occasionally steps in, but if you fly under the radar, you shouldn’t have too much for problems, and it does provide you with some level of defence against it.
Criminal Offence in the Other States
In the other states, you still face a criminal offence in Australia. Someone who gets arrested with marijuana could receive large fines and jail time. That will also give them a criminal record. Nevertheless, you probably don’t have to worry if you get caught in possession of cannabis with only a small amount, and it’s your first time getting caught with it. Many of these states run diversion programs to help.
The diversion programs were designed with the intention of helping non-violent offenders. They keep them out of the criminal justice system so that they don’t come out worse. Also, laws like this set the aim to break the criminal cycle through education and treatment. Still, a lot of this depends on the police officer that catches you with it. If you happen to get caught with it and the officer isn’t a good one, you could face more serious penalties. Juveniles under the age of 18 could face a diversion program intended to help them overcome it. This law hopes to steer the juvenile offenders away from the court system so that they don’t have more problems later on.
The one thing about Queensland is that they still offer you the option to enter a diversion program if caught with marijuana, provided you only get found in possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis. The offer of diversion must be offered to minors in this state, which makes them somewhat unique. Meanwhile, police officers have the choice if they will charge someone or offer them a diversion program to adults. They only allow a single offer of diversion to each person. What does this mean? It means that if you get arrested with marijuana the second time, it will become a criminal charge against you.
The Island State of Tasmania
While they haven’t decriminalised it in the state, you do have some distinct advantages in Tasmania. For example, if you get caught in possession of marijuana, you can possess up to 50 grams and be given a warning. This can only happen within three times within a 10-year period. If you get caught the third time, you will be assessed for a possible drug treatment program.
Someone who gets caught with marijuana on their person in the state of Victoria will have the opportunity to enter an education program for cannabis. They only have this opportunity if they get caught with under 50 grams. This state has similarities with New South Wales in that they will only let you off with two cautions before you will be criminally charged.
New South Wales
Let’s say that you were caught with 15 grams of cannabis in New South Wales. You could get let off with two cautions in 10 years before you will receive criminal charges, but you should still exercise caution. During the caution, it means that you will receive information about some of the ills that come from using cannabis. In any of the places where they criminalise the use of marijuana, you should especially exercise caution because of how if you get caught, you could face some penalties for it.
Like with the rest of the world, Australian pot laws have moved in the direction toward legalisation or decriminalisation at the least. Still, you have to be careful in some places. In the territories of Australia, they have made it legal, but the states haven’t made that leap forward as of right now. That means that if you get caught in possession of it in the states, you could still face charges. Most of the time, first-time offenders won’t suffer too much for consequences, but those who have received repeated charges for it could face jail time even if they’re non-violent offenders.