W.A. Bans on Synthetic Cannabinoids May Go Up in Smoke
Bans on possession of herbal smoking mixes known as Kronic, Mango Kush and Kalma etc by the West Australian government, may run foul of a host of Constitutional and international trade agreements.
W.A. Mental Health Minister, Helen Morton, issued a media release yesterday stating that the products had been banned on health grounds and that people had a few days to drop their stashes off at the police station.
Representing the producers and distributors of the herbal mixes, Eros Association President, Fiona Patten, said that Section 92 of the Australian Constitution, the Mutual Recognition Act 1992 (AUS), and the Tran Tasman Mutual Recognition Act (NZ) all potentially nullified state bans on possession of the products.
“Not only has the Minister acted prematurely on this matter but she has acted contrary to the findings of last week’s report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy which recommended that personal possession of cannabis be decriminalised”, she said. “She has also ignored the good science on this product carried out by the New Zealand Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). The director of the ESR Dr Keith Bedford said that, ‘every indication seems to be that they (cannabinoid derivatives) are not a high or even medium level of risk – there’s a low level of risk.’ No Australian government has done such in depth research.”
Dr Bedford said he backed the Government’s moves to make ‘legal weed’ products restricted substances instead of banning them outright. He said a ‘moral panic’ was fuelling attitudes to ban the products instead of restricting them.
Ms Patten said the WA government should be investigating ways to restrict and regulate the products rather than handing over their supply to local drug dealers and interstate and international on-line dealers. “It is a futile task to keep trying to ban certain substances when there are already 80 others that are not caught by the legislation, ready to hit the market”, she said. “Ms Morton’s ban on the half a dozen products commonly being sold have already pushed them into the hands of suburban drug dealers from this Friday but she has also pushed the producers to make another batch of these substances that will not be caught buy her legislation. She is actively fuelling the drug trade through unenlightened legislation”.
The Minster claimed that she was ‘happy with the level of public debate’ on the issue however she did not consult with the industry that was producing and retailing the products. Ms Patten said that the government had no scientific research on the effects of the products and relied totally on the advice of mining companies and the AMA. The latter had produced no medical research at all and relied on tabloid newspaper stories to arrive at its decision. “How can you claim to consult widely on an issue like this when you ignore the retail group that is selling and producing it” Ms Patten said. “The only recent in depth scientific research into these substances was done by the New Zealand Expert Committee late last year and they found that smoking Kronic was significantly less harmful than drinking alcohol and allowed its sale through registered adult shops and tobacconists”.
Ms Patten said the smoking mixes needed to be kept away from children, out of the workplace and the prison system and if regulated, that could be achieved with testing and education.
Fiona Patten: 0413 734 613
Robbie Swan: 0413 871 604