The Federal Government will develop legislation to ban the importation of unauthorised psychoactive substances or "synthetic drugs". The legislation will implement a “reverse onus of proof” scheme.
At the moment, synthetic drugs need to be banned in legislation to be illegal. If they are not banned, their importation, sale and manufacture is still legal.
A reversal of the onus of proof will flip this assumption - it will mean that new drugs coming onto the market are presumed to be illegal until the authorities know what they are and clear them as safe and legal.
There are a range of synthetic drugs being sold, including through the internet, that mimic the effects of illegal drugs like cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine.
New synthetic drugs, such as synthetic cannabis, are being marketed to the community as a legal alternative to illicit drugs.
A reverse onus of proof in relation to new synthetic drugs is operating in Ireland and is due to begin in New Zealand on the 1st of August 2013.
See the media release for more details of this new legislation.
Media reports about this announcement:
- 19 synthetic drugs banned nationally, SMH, 16 June 2013
- Federal Government to introduce short-term ban on synthetic drugs, ABC Online, 17 June 2013
There is a mixed response to this ban from academics
- Drug laws amount to scientific censorship by David Nutt, The Guardian, 12 June 2013
- Synthetic cannabis: even regular drug users don't trust it by Sarah Macgregor, The Conversation, 18 June 2013
See our earlier blog post for more information on this topic.