Australian capital's decision to legalize cannabis "a very bad idea": attorney-general

Source: Xinhua| 2019-09-27 19:02:01|Editor: ZX
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CANBERRA, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Australian government has not ruled out overturning new laws passed in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) to legalize personal use of cannabis.

The ACT Legislative Assembly on Wednesday voted to legalize the possession, use and cultivation of small amounts of cannabis, becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to do so.

However, while the substance will be legal under ACT law it will remain prohibited under federal laws.

It means that federal police will still be able to make arrests for the possession and use of cannabis in the ACT, which consists of Canberra and its surrounding suburbs.

Responding to the laws recently, Australia's Attorney-General Christian Porter told Perth radio station 6PR that the government is assessing how it will respond to the move.

"We'll have a look at their legislation and reserve our position," he said.

"There is still Commonwealth law that applies to the ACT, where a person commits an offence if they possess a prohibited substance, which would include marijuana.

"I must say I think this is personally a very bad idea."

The laws, which will come into effect on Jan. 31, 2020, allow possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis per person and a maximum of four cannabis plants per household.

Peter Dutton, who as the minister for home affairs is responsible for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), described the laws as "unconscionable."

"I think it might be trendy for the ACT government to go down this path, and they'll say they're enlightened and progressive and all the rest of it," he told 2GB radio.

"But I think it's dangerous."