Monday, March 7, 2011

The day they banned nature

New laws being introduced in Australia are set to make illegal thousands of plant species, including many native plants, endangered plants, and even the nation's floral emblem, the wattle.

The Minister for Justice, Brendan O’Connor, is taking submissions on the proposed legislation, which is on "issues relating to the implementation of model drug, plant and precursor schedules for Commonwealth serious drug offences." Submissions close on March 11.

As explains,

The proposed new schedules will include:
8. any plant containing MESCALINE including any plant of the genus Lophophora
9. any plant containing DMT including any plant of the species Piptadenia Peregrine
10. Salvia divinorum (Diviners Sage)
11. Mitragyna speciosa (Kratom)
12. Catha edulis (Khat)
13. Any species of the genus Ephedra which contains ephedrine
14. Any species of the genus Brugmansia
15. Any species of the genus Datura
All that may sound  rather obscure if you don't understand what species are involved. Let's explain.

Banned too?

DMT, a hallucinogen, is very common in nature. Common pasture grasses, natives like wattles (acacias), and many common garden plants fall under this category. For example, Sturt's Desert Pea (South Australia's floral emblem) and screwpine. Hell, even the human brain makes small quantities of DMT! The traditional hallucinogenic drug ayahuasca - basically DMT - has been legalised in Brazil, with studies indicating that it helps treat depression by permanently raising seratonin levels.

Lopophora cactus

Many cacti contain mescaline, in small quantities, including many species popular with gardeners and collectors. Only a few have amounts that can be turned into a drug. The genus Lopophora contains some plants that have no mescalin, but they are all banned under this law!

Brugmansias and Daturas - aka Angels' Trumpets - are popular (and pretty) garden plants. You would have probably seen them growing in public gardens all over town if you live in Melbourne. They contain "deliriants", that is powerful poisons that cause delirium (where you don't just hallucinate, but believe the hallucinations to be true). But as toxic substances they are already covered by other laws as much as they need to be! I remember seeing European hemlock growing wild in Tasmania - it's a noxious weed and completely lethal if you (or a cow) eats it, but that doesn't mean you prosecute people for having it on their land - unless there's a noxious weeds act that covers it, which is all it would need.

Salvia Divinorum (Diviner's Sage) is also to be banned (why bother, it's already illegal under all state laws!). I wonder if the reasons for this madness aren't to be found in the comment at gardenfreedom regarding Diviner's Sage:

Still legal in many places
Salvinorin A, the active constituent in Salvia divinorum has been shown to have strong antidepressant properties. Various research teams around the world are investigating this. In Australia such research is hindered by the scheduling of this herb as a drug, but researchers nonetheless manage to apply for exemptions via the state health departments. Adding an extra level of federal scheduling will not add any further protection to the community, but will make such research even more difficult.
So go to and get informed, and write a letter to the minister, and the papers, and anyone who cares.  If this one gets through we could see native species eradicated, innocent gardeners prosecuted, harmless hippies gaoled, and possible natural cures for depression languishing unresearched.


  1. i ate 25 sturt peas and it did fuck all but make my mouth dry and frequent urination.

  2. LoL! I ate nutmeg many years ago, and was completely off my head for 3 days. And not in a good way. Like 3 second attention span, headaches etc... yet nutmeg was never under question.

  3. dmt isnt active when taken orally

  4. I guess next he will ban brain or perhaps the designers of act did ban their brain from feedback when they drafted this. :-)


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