The Australian government is now on track to possibly branding the national plant (this acacia contains less than 0.02% alkaloids and it is currently unknown whether or not it is possible to derive psychoactive compounds from it), along with thousands of other native plants, illegal. This is apparently part of a move to create uniform anti-drug legislation across the country. All the plants targetted by this new legislation contain or produce chemicals which are either drugs or drug precursors which are either illegal in Australia or which the government intends to make illegal.
The Garden Freedom website goes into greater detail regarding the legislation, who it will affect and which species of plants are to be classified as contraband. The list includes, but is not limited to; datura, cacti, wattle, salvia, ephedra (aka Mormon Tea) and assorted other species.
Personally I think this current move is ridiculous. As someone of a more libertarian bent, I think that people ought to be able to do whatever they like, including drugs, as long as the choice is freely made and does not impinge on the rights of others. Ideally that choice should be made only with a thorough understanding of the risks involved. I realise, of course, that most people in this world, especially politicians and law enforcement do not agree with me. So putting aside my views regarding personal freedom aside for the moment, this particular change in legislation is still ridiculous for the following reasons:
- Most of the chemicals listed which can be made from Australian plants are already illegal; the actions required to produce drugs like N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) are already covered by existing legislation. Legislating against plants such as acacias and cacti won’t make any real difference to the current illegality of DMT or mescaline.
- Most of the plants affected by this proposed legislation are incredibly common throughout the country, on both public and private land. It is quite likely that this will directly affect the gardens of a vast number of Australians, most of whom won’t even know (or care) the exact species of plants on their property. Likewise most of them won’t know (or care) that boiling the bark off several trees of these plants might produce a compound that will make someone vomit and then hallucinate (or vice-versa).
- Most, if not all, of the drugs being targetted by this legislation do not produce the same type of anti-social effects as alcohol or a number of synthetic drugs.
- The plants will not be able to be eradicated.
- Attempting to destroy the native plants proscribed by this legislation will have an adverse affect on the environment. Consider, for a moment, the number of acacias which produce flowers and how many bees visit those flowers to collect pollen to produce honey. That’s just one little link and there are many, many more.
Yet the Attorney-General wishes to make the growing and sale of thousands of Australian flora as illegal as marijuana.
As with most, if not all, government consultations and inquiries, submissions are accepted from the public. The closing date for this one is Friday the 11th of March.