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Concerns over bid to ban plants

Govt overkill: Permaculture College Australia principal Robyn Francis holds some of the many varieties of wattle/acacia plants.
Govt overkill: Permaculture College Australia principal Robyn Francis holds some of the many varieties of wattle/acacia plants. Marc Stapelberg

PEOPLE concerned about a proposed schedule banning plants deemed to be precursors to illicit drugs have until March 11 to respond to the Federal Attorney-General's Department.

Many ecologists and plant enthusiasts are outraged the list includes any plant containing DMT – a naturally-occurring hallucinogen predominantly found in wattle trees – as well as common garden plants like datura (angel's trumpet), various succulents and other plants like Diviners Sage, Kratom and Khat.

A spokeswoman for the Acting Minister for Home Affairs and Justice, Robert McClelland, defended the proposal, saying the implementation of nationally-consistent lists of illegal drugs and drug ingredients was important to stopping the drug trade across Australia.

“The Commonwealth's drug laws target people who are involved in the illicit drug trade and this will continue to be the case,” she said.

“Most of the substances to be included on the new lists arealready deemed to be illegal and have been for some time.”

Robyn Francis, principal of the Permaculture College Australia, disagreed.

“These plants have been around for ever and have multiple uses and could have very important healing or medicinal qualities for the future,” she said.

Ms Francis said history showed prohibition actually intensified the use of banned substances by ‘advertising' their mind-altering properties.

“It's really important people read what is being proposed and they make a response,” she said.



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