A bill before the NSW parliament this week will make it illegal to possess or sell any live plant that contains an illegal compound or structural analogue of such a compound. This legislation impacts native species such as wattles (many of which contain trace elements of an illegal compound) which were and are used as food sources and medicine as well as having significant ornamental and environmental import. It also impacts many other species in the pea and bean family. In addition, more than half the cactus family contain illegal compounds in trace amounts, but the law makes no distinction between trace amounts and usable drug amounts.
It is likely that the NSW government is aiming at the handful of abusable species and is probably unaware of what they are about to do.
This law will apply to many ornamental and food species in the Solanaceae family, as well as important food and medicinal plants of many other families.
The Australian Ethnobotanical Society urges everyone to make a submission to the NSW government within the next 48 hours to avoid a potentially serious mistake being made to the legislation. Please include the following to your letter of concern.
We urge the government to alter the definition of ‘substance’ in section 36ZD so that it does not include live plants. Alternatively please consider removing schedule 1 (item 1), ie the proposed reference in section 3 of the Act so that the new definition of substance is limited purely to section 2C.
Submissions to the Federal Government concerning a similar law change has just been announced as successful, with no significant changes to plant scheduling, and we strongly urge the NSW Government to follow suit.
Please email your submissions to:
Minister for fair trading:
Shadow attorney general:
Greens: (before Wednesday afternoon when they make their representation)