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South Pacific: Australia Wants to Ban the Bong

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #466)
Consequences of Prohibition
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Australia's Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Christopher Pyne, said over the weekend that the government of Prime Minister John Howard wants to ban bongs. The water pipes widely used for smoking marijuana are sold all across Australia, and not just in "head shops," but also at tobacconists and even gas stations.

bong with pot leaf emblem
The comment came as the country staggers through a fit of Reefer Madness related to fears that marijuana causes mental health problems. Those fears were heightened last week by the release of a Mental Health Council of Australia report linking pot smoking to increased risk of mental illness and the worsening of existing mental problems. While the report itself was careful to note that such problems occurred in only a tiny number of users, Australian press coverage has not been so careful.

In remarks reported by the Sydney Herald-Sun, Pyne said that allowing bongs to remain legal signaled that the government approved of their use and that the display of such items in shops reduced public concern about the impact of drug use. "I'm certainly concerned about the proliferation of apparatus for the use of illicit substances," Mr. Pyne said.

In addition to playing to rising hysteria over the marijuana-mental illness connection, Pyne is following the lead of the National Cannabis Strategy Group, which last May called for "closer and more appropriate regulation of drug paraphernalia."

A national bong ban may prove impractical, however. The state government in Victoria banned "cocaine kits" earlier this year, but found that too many ethnic groups used bongs to smoke tobacco and other legal substances to allow it to impose a blanket ban.

It would also be unpopular, at least among shoppers consulted by the Sun-Herald at one Sydney store that sells bongs and pipes. "No, I don't like smoking through plastic bottles," one shopper said.

"It's not going to stop anyone from smoking anyway," another said. "They will find a more unhealthy way to smoke it."

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

hahaha. i agree. i mean, there are no reported deaths from marijuana and how many people die each year from guns?

Sun, 12/31/2006 - 1:12pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

are you stupid ?? take the guns from the people and only crimanals will have them , do you think the cops are going to stop them from having them?? they can't evin stop the pot , and why?? because it's all a money thing , they couldn't care less about the people ,, al the want is the money

Thu, 01/04/2007 - 8:47am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

How about banning cigarette papers, lighters, potting mix, grow lights, fertiliser etc. All of these things can be used to smoke or grow dope. Seems a bit stupid when you give out needles to junkies but look at banning the sale of utensiles for smoking a class c drug.

Fri, 12/22/2006 - 7:18pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The early stages of the onset of schizophrenia induces heavy cannabis use in individuals who have easy access to it. It's a case of psychosis leading to heavy cannabis use. Prohibition is responsible for all of the harms associated with the use of recreational drugs.

Sat, 12/23/2006 - 11:44am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Exodus 30:23, Song of Songs 4:14, Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27:19.
The title Christ means literally "anointed".

Sun, 12/24/2006 - 1:08am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Let them ban it, spend more aussie taxpayers money on useless idea's.
Kids will just go back to stealing plastic bottled drinks and garden hose to smoke. Garden hose and plastic bottles are not food grade quality, and releases toxic fumes... but who cares?
You can use anything to smoke, papers, cigarettes.. the list goes on. With all the recent huge crackdowns on marijuana, people are just turning to other drugs, mostly methamphetamine because its cheaper, stronger, easier to hide and WAY easier to get.
Australia is Number 1 for methamphetamine abuse now, yes, more then America... even tho Australia has only 20million people compared to the 300million in the USA. Why does Australia continue to 'clean up' weaker substances when this is our alternate? They won't have to worry for much longer, they will be dealing with meth addicts soon, and tell me which is worse?
Australia is completely backwards and I am glad I don't live there anymore.

Wed, 03/14/2007 - 5:13pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Something is wrong with the state of the world when you can get hard drugs very easily, but light drugs are scarce.
The misconception is that there aren't a lot people sitting around smoking bongs. Marijuana can be eaten. It can be drank in a liquid form, smoked with papers the list goes on. I'm surprised the Government has not even legalized it yet.
Looking at the statistics, it shows smoking cigarettes, drinking excess alcohol and methamphetamine are the top 3 most abused drugs in Australia.
Tobacco kills with toxic smoke, causes cancer and many vascular problems. Alcohol can kill you if you drink 750ml 50%+ proof, within 30mins, and also it makes people get into situations they would not normally do. (car accidents, assaults, rapes)
Why it isn't sold and taxed like cigarettes and alcohol, which are obviously much worse is beyond me.
Many people argue that marijuana is 'mind altering' like there is a chance that you can 'flip' out and try to fly off the top of a building or something. But this is not true. You only experience problems if you already Have underlying problems. This is the same with any drug, alcohol for example; people try to drive and have car accidents, increased violence and fighting, infact the statistics show that many more psychological problems start from alcohol then marijuana, and it also kills your brain cells.
Sell it, Tax it then Make money off it and give something back to the Australian taxpayers; they deserve a break.

Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:50am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

hey.... it's jessie the sex worker here and I'm performing tonight at the Rhino room!
I'm going to be speaking about how screwed up the laws are becoming..

I'll be have my prop of a red bucket on stage.... whats next won't be able to go to bunnings and buy a bucket? or garden hose...

SMOKING kills thousands it's discusting and I quit 3 years ago and never felt better....

Think harm reduction... without bongs and the water joints make the smoke harsher and then worse for ya...

let go of the control!!!!!

Wed, 03/26/2008 - 12:30am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I reckon Legalize it
please mate

it make u feel better

Sun, 04/20/2008 - 5:49am Permalink

I am so surprised ! Everywhere in Australia you can find good stuff - but you couldnt found a big glass bong! I saw only small shit from USA for very big price! Where all good brands? I am living in Moscow - and there are more bongs than here! it is extremly bad!

Tue, 07/07/2009 - 12:06am Permalink

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