How Canberra’s cannabis laws are and aren’t being used nearly two years on from decriminalisationPosted by On


When the personal use of cannabis was decriminalised in the ACT in January 2020, Mary couldn’t wait to start growing the plant that she uses to treat her chronic depression and arthritis.

“It was time to take our power back and grow for ourselves and produce our own medicine at a lower cost in a healthier way,” she said.

But she soon found Canberra’s cool climate unsuitable for a steady supply of the drug and was concerned plants grown outdoors would be stolen.

So she opted to grow using artificial lights indoors.

Although growing up to two plants per person and four maximum per household is decriminalised in the ACT, using artificial lights still carries a maximum jail sentence of two years.

Hydroponic cannabis being grown in Canberra
Mary says she started growing with artificial lights due to climate and security concerns.(Supplied)

But Mary — not her real name — said the reward was worth the risk because the creams, oils and edibles she made from her cannabis harvests had changed her life.

“I have comfortable movement, my depression is completely in remission at the moment,” she said.

“I’ve done that through using the plant medicine and I’m just so grateful that I have access to it, even though I need to do that illegally.”

cannabis, medicinal
Mary says her regime of medicinal cannabis products had changed her life.(ABC Canberra: Mark Moore)

Under the ACT law, Canberrans can possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis and 150 grams…

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When the personal use of cannabis was decriminalised in the ACT in January 2020, Mary couldn’t wait to start growing the plant that she uses to treat her chronic depression and arthritis.

“It was time to take our power back and grow for ourselves and produce our own medicine at a lower cost in a healthier way,” she said.

But she soon found Canberra’s cool climate unsuitable for a steady supply of the drug and was concerned plants grown outdoors would be stolen.

So she opted to grow using artificial lights indoors.

Although growing up to two plants per person and four maximum per household is decriminalised in the ACT, using artificial lights still carries a maximum jail sentence of two years.

Hydroponic cannabis being grown in Canberra
Mary says she started growing with artificial lights due to climate and security concerns.(Supplied)

But Mary — not her real name — said the reward was worth the risk because the creams, oils and edibles she made from her cannabis harvests had changed her life.

“I have comfortable movement, my depression is completely in remission at the moment,” she said.

“I’ve done that through using the plant medicine and I’m just so grateful that I have access to it, even though I need to do that illegally.”

cannabis, medicinal
Mary says her regime of medicinal cannabis products had changed her life.(ABC Canberra: Mark Moore)

Under the ACT law, Canberrans can possess up to 50 grams of dried cannabis and 150 grams…



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