AUSTRALIA—Australia’s legal high and synthetic cannabis industry expressed its support this week for a proposal by Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Justice Jason Clare to reverse the onus of proof on unauthorized psychoactive products coming into Australia. The Minister said last week that he intends to propose legislation that states that “new drugs coming onto the market will be presumed to be illegal until authorities know what they are and clear them as safe and legal,” 7News reported.
Eros Association CEO Fiona Patten said the plan was the first step in making recreational drugs safe for the community. “By following the lead set by the New Zealand government, the Minister is putting in place the first step toward a regulated scheme. All recreational and mildly psychoactive drugs need to be tested for toxicity and harm,” she said. “We are assuming that the government will be subjecting these products to the same standards that pharmaceutical and other drugs are subject to, and that if they turn out to be no more dangerous or toxic than alcohol, then they would be scheduled in the same way as alcohol under Appendix B of the SUSMP [Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons]."
She added that under the federal government’s own website, drinkingnightmare.gov.au, alcohol was said to cause the death of four under 25 year olds every week. “Our member’s products are mainly mild cannabinoids which will cause nothing like the deaths of four young people every week,” said Patten. “We are confident that, like real marijuana, most of these products will not even have a fatal dose and that people would fall asleep long before they could overdose”.
Additionally, said Patten, the Minister's proposal needs a lot more detail before it can be said to be workable and that turnaround times for testing needed to be established so that products do not languish on Customs storage sheds for months on end. She called on the Minister to release details of the testing procedures he has in mind.
"In the meantime,” she said, “we will develop a suggested testing regime and submit it to the Minister. We intend to be extremely proactive about this.
Patten said she recognized the potential for some people to have adverse reactions to some products. “People have bad reactions to many drugs and foodstuffs including coffee, aspirin, peanuts and caffeine drinks but in terms of harm minimization, drug users will be far better off without having to buy their products from a black market.
“Safe dosage information, standardized dosage levels and other health information on packaging will also make for a much safer market place than we currently have,” she added.
Society, concluded Patten, would be far better off—crime rates would come down and alcohol related deaths would also decline—if young people could use natural marijuana or synthetic cannabinoids as an alternative to alcohol.
For more Eros Association information, go here.