Victoria’s Book Ban on the Horizon for 2016

Written by on December 18, 2015

The Victorian Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Bill 2015 has not yet passed the Victorian Upper House. Parliament has completed sitting for the year and will return on February 9th 2016.

The Bill has been drafted as part of Victoria’s Ice Action Plan which in turn was created off the back of a largely exaggerated epidemic of ice use.

Tough new laws to stop dealers
New offences will be introduced to target people who deal ice to school children or around school premises. New offences will also deal with the publication of instructions for how to make ice, allowing a premises to be used as a clandestine drug lab and using violence or threats to force another person to deal ice.
These recommendations and the subsequent Bill fly in the face of nearly every single expert who has spoken about this issue. Former Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Ken Lay was the chairperson of the ice inquiry and has repeated calls by others that we, “Cannot arrest our way out of this problem.” Despite this pragmatic suggestion, the Bill introduces new offenses and expands on old ones. It is a Bill which aims to arrest its way out of this problem.

“We can’t arrest our way out of our problems. Perhaps it is time that we changed the debate to get smart on crime.” – The Age

Enpsychedelia has been focusing on Sections 71E and 71F of the Bill in particular. These sections introduce penalties of up to 5-10 years in jail for the mere possession, publication or distribution of information which could be considered instructions for cultivating, manufacturing or distributing a ‘drug of dependence’. Just a quick reminder to any new readers: The term ‘drug of dependence’ is nonsense legal jargon and does not reflect whether or not a drug causes dependence. It is essentially a place-holder for Schedule 11 drugs in Victoria, which include cannabis, LSD, heroin etc.

12313933_810766482383321_5675646108674842226_nThis means that someone could end up with a jail sentence for owning a book or magazine that has cannabis cultivation information in it. Even if they’ve literally never touched an illicit drug in their life. This is highly unlikely as the judiciary have their heads screwed on a little better than that. But it is a far better option to not enact bad laws that have the potential to be abused in the first place. However, those who are involved with underground medical cannabis and possess instructions of not only cultivation of cannabis, but manufacture of tinctures too, may indeed face hefty penalties.


All of this is predicated on there being an ice epidemic. Which there isn’t. And it comes at a time when the Victorian Government has moved toward legalising a highly regulated system of medical cannabis. It makes us wonder if some of the underground medical cannabis folks are in the cross hairs of the government with this awful proposed addition to our already highly questionable prohibitionists legislation, the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981.

We are working on a plan to combat this piece of legislation at the moment. You can help combat this legislation by writing to your local Member of the Legislative Council (Upper House). You have until February 9th to write to your local member and ask them to re-think their position on the Bill, especially around Sections 71E and 71F.

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