Someone has apparently advised the Federal Attorney General that there are a whole bunch of plants, including many native species, that contain trace amounts of a compound called DMT dimethyltriptamine. If a person had a sufficiently huge amount of these plants and a factory full of expensive equipment they might conceivably produce a drug of some sort. So the AG, in his wisdom, had decided that the appropriate response is to BAN IT ALL!
The Federal Attorney General wants to expand the list of federally prohibited plants. The list currently has 5 types of plants in which can be used as drugs. This is to be expanded to include hundreds (possibly thousands) of other species that are common garden plants and include a significant number of common native plants including our national flower, the wattle (Acacia spp).
The purpose of this new legislation is supposedly to stop major drug trafficking, yet many of the targeted plants have never been traded for drugs and have no value as drug plants, because they only contain traces of the compounds.
The proposed laws will make hundreds or possibly thousands of plants illegal. Many of these are common garden plants that honest, law abiding citizens have legally grown for as long as they remember. The laws will affect the commercial propagators, nurseries, farmers, collectors, botanic gardens, seed merchants, landcare groups and most gardeners.
We believe that the government is making lazy laws that erode our freedoms and are unjustified. Many of the plants the government is proposing to ban do not pose a danger to society and are not used for drugs as they claim. We urge the government to make better laws that more specifically target what they are trying to achieve rather than eroding our liberties and invading our gardens.
The government is making these laws to reduce drug trafficking, yet most of the plants caught up in these blanket laws have no use as drugs, nor can they be used to extract drugs from as the quantities are usually present in only trace amounts.
Aside from the fact that banning wattles is ridiculous and practically unenforceable, we have more than enough evidence now that banning things doesn’t work. Legal drugs such as tobacco, alcohol and many pharmaceuticals are much more dangerous than marijuana and other illegal drugs. The war on drugs is now widely acknowledged to be an expensive failure, worth more for a knee-jerk PR value than for any actual effectiveness in preventing crime or illness.
While the Australian Government in this regard appears to
have its head lodged firmly up its own arse have been ill advised. Many, many other people with much more sense and experience in health care and law enforcement are campaigning to end the war on drugs and decriminalise them instead. As a response to crime and substance abuse, it is much more constructive. The Netherlands, where many drugs have been either legal or managed, is closing prisons for lack of crime.
It’s the 21st century. We are well aware that we can’t incarcerate our way out of social problems. Rather than bans which are expensive and difficult to enforce, how about mental health care, education and social justice? You’re never going to stop humans wanting to alter their consciousness. As a species, we’ve been doing it for thousands of years. But we can at least mitigate the circumstances that drive people to need to self-medicate.
Banning winter grass and wattles is not going to help anyone. Please send an email or letter to the Minister and tell him
to bloody grow up drug law reform requires more thought and a more intelligent approach than this ridiculous proposed ban. Submissions are accepted until March 11th, 2011.