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Personal marijuana cultivation restricted March 01, 2005 news.com.au
RECREATIONAL marijuana growers in the ACT will have to rip out three of their five dope plants this weekend, under drug law changes designed to combat organised crime.
However, ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said organised drug traffickers appeared to have been taking advantage of the scheme.
"Recent evidence suggests that criminals are organising a large number of individuals to grow five plants each, then combining the harvest," Mr Stanhope said.
"This is a particular problem when it involves hydroponically grown cannabis, which can yield up to five crops a year, each plant producing up to 4kg of drug in that time."
Under the Criminal Code (Serious Drug Offence) Amendment Act 2004, which comes into force on Sunday, recreational users will be allowed to grow only two plants for personal use, Mr Stanhope said.
Hydroponically grown marijuana will be banned altogether.
Police will also have wider powers to arrest people for possessing large quantities of chemicals that can be used to make illegal drugs, many of which can be purchased in any pharmacy or supermarket.
"In backyard laboratories these products can be turned into illegal drugs, particularly amphetamines," Mr Stanhope said.
"A range of new offences has been created to crack down on this activity."
Such chemicals include pseudoephedrine, commonly found in cold and flu tablets, phosphorus, which is used to make match heads, and safrole, a commercial and industrial chemical often used in deodorants and air fresheners.
The reforms also significantly increase penalties for commercial-scale drug offences.
For a large commercial quantity of cannabis ? 125kg or more ? the maximum penalty is now life.
-------------------- "Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz