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Canberra Becomes the First City in Australia to Legalize Marijuana

(CNN)The Australian capital Canberra will become the country’s first city to legalize marijuana following a landmark vote Tuesday night.

Lawmakers in the Australian Capital Territory voted to pass a bill allowing people aged 18 or over to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use.

The new law is set to come into effect from January 31, 2020, state broadcaster ABC reported.

Under the new regulations, residents in the territory — which is home to the capital — will be able to legally possess up to 50 grams (1.76 ounces) of marijuana and cultivate up to two plants per person, or four per household.

The change makes the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) the first of Australia’s six states and two main territories to legalize marijuana for personal use.

Drug laws differ depending on the state or territory. Under the ACT’s current law, cultivating one or two cannabis plants or possessing 50g (1.76 ounces) of cannabis carries a possible 160 Australian dollar fine ($108), while possessing more than 50g (1.76 ounces) of cannabis carries a maximum 8,000 Australian dollar fine or two years in prison — or both.

According to the Australian government, marijuana is the country’s most widely-used illicit drug. In the 2017-2018 financial year, there were over 72,000 cannabis-related arrests made in Australia — and 92% of those arrested were consumers.

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