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Australia: South Australia Bans Bongs

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #532)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

The Labor government of South Australia has banned bongs as part of a bill that makes possession of drug paraphernalia a criminal offense punishable by up to two years in jail or a $50,000 fine. In addition to bongs, the law covers such implements as hookahs, "cocaine kits," and glass pipes used to smoke methamphetamine and crack cocaine.

The measure won final passage in the South Australian parliament on April 10. The government of Premier Mike Rann was quick to embrace it.

"The Rann Labor government has banned the bong," crowed state Attorney General Michael Atkinson in remarks reported by the Adelaide Advertiser. "Commercial outlets retailing drug paraphernalia in South Australia will now either have to shut up shop, or find another line of business," he said, pointing out that one shop had already closed.

The new legislation closes what drug warriors saw as a loophole in state law. Previously, courts had to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the person in possession of the item planned to use it for illegal purposes. Now, possession in itself becomes the basis for a guilty verdict.

"To my knowledge just a handful of cases have been brought against commercial outlets selling drug paraphernalia because of the difficulty of proving that the seller intended the equipment be used in connection with preparing or consuming an illicit drug," Atkinson said.

The bill was the brainchild of Member of the Legislative Council Ann Bressington, an alcohol and drug counselor who lost a child to a drug overdose in 1998, and sits on the board of Drug Free Australia and is a member of the Australian National Council of Drugs (ANCD), peak advisory body to the prime minister's office.

But while the state government portrayed the legislation as a blow against drug use, one local drug expert, pharmacology associate professor Rodney Irvine, told the Advertiser users will seek other ways to inhale smoke and that could be more dangerous. "When you close one loophole another one emerges, a different pattern of use emerges," he said.

"I would say that there's a possibility those alternative homemade ones will have some problems," Irvine added, suggesting that using a water pipe or bong could be less harmful than smoking a joint or pipe. "Intuitively, I would say that smoking anything through a water pipe is a better option than smoking it in a joint or a spliff," he said. "If you're smoking tobacco through a water pipe you've got cooler smoke. If there's cooler smoke, there are less volatile substances, therefore less tar."

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)

"The war on Drugs" has never been about public safety, it is about control. The war--like the war on 'terror'--was never meant to be won., it was meant to be continuous and profitable

Sun, 04/20/2008 - 12:09am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Thanks a lot, Mike Rann, now I (and all the other people that used to smoke tobacco through a bong) have to roll my tobacco and smoke it, instead of smoking through a water bong which is healthier, and uses less tobacco.

I do not endorse drug use.
But it's obvious this legislation will not hinder drug use even one bit.

Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:12am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Being a father to an irriplacable only daughter.I can't imagine or want to the imagine the pain of the loss of Ann Bressington's child.

This bill alone will contribute to the potential loss in the long term to many parents children. Think about the reality & consequences to one family's suffering .

Only in the use of 'heavily taxed legal' drugs such as alchohol & higher consumption in tobacco.
It is inevitable that marijuana will be consumed for what ever reasons no matter what draconian laws will be in place,but the situation will be worsened for the views of a few il' informed people or well informed people i.e. UK government but to win a few politcal votes because of what few newspapers may indicate with their( Rupert Murdoch) overtures.

You have the power for change.

The UK is stepping backwards in response to the the drug culture following the USA yet again(highest consumers of illegal drugs on the planet).

Policies must be working their then ???

Listen to the British government advisors ,
The government spent multi millions of pounds on researching marijuana & it's effects & then as per usual completely ignored those & imposed laws for the view of one unvoted prime minister.

Come on lets WAKE UP!!!!!! to the real issues on this planet.
Smoking a herb is not one of them.

Sat, 05/24/2008 - 2:34pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

thats is not fair for people who smoke tobacco in bongs and they dont do drugs + people who do drugs are still going to make home made bongs

Fri, 06/20/2008 - 4:09am Permalink
Richard C (not verified)

Yeah GOOD! While you guys are on to banning mood.
Why not ban alcohol as well? It causes same problems as drugs.
DEATH due to liver failure and other medical issues, addiction, dangerous driving, fist fights, etc..

Sat, 04/03/2010 - 9:10am Permalink
Cheech (not verified)

Its been proven that alcohol and tobacco cause more health risks and deaths than what marijuana, lsd and mdma, put together, but these two things are still readily available over the counter. Its only legal because they have control of the market, they can tax it and make money off it. If they legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, sell it cheaper for what the average street price is now, the government would make a killing.

You never hear about the millions of people who have a great time on these 'illicit' drugs, you only hear about the occasional over dose or person who can't handle their shit. Not to mention that marijuana can be used for many different medicinal purposes, I for one have used it in the past to help with my insomnia and chronic fatigue. Just look at the US, there are more and more states legalising medical marijuana, California is the most recent one I know of, which was legalised about a month, two months tops, ago. If its so unhealthy, why are all these states in the country of which australia has its nose stained brown from, legalising it.

People need to be taught the FACTS about drugs and every affect they have on you. Not just the health risks and completely untrue statements that the media and government come up with to portray drugs as something evil. Most people who do these things regularly on a recreational basis, know the risks related with street drugs and limits of their body. The ones who don't are the ones who have a bad experience. Don't blame the drug, blame the user for messing with things they don't understand more than "its illegal and it fucks me up".

We need a system like they have in amsterdam where there is a clear and definitive line between soft and hard drugs. This will help everyone understand these things alot better and reduce crime rate (no-one going to jail for something as trivial as selling/growing weed) and would make the 'soft' drugs alot safer for consumption as people will do things properly, if the proper tools and ingredients are easily obtainable so they can make money. so less crap going round like piperzines sold as pills, or someone rolling a joint instead of using their tripple perc bong, which filters out ALOT of the unhealthy stuff (tar and other plant matter), to make much smoother and cleaner hits.

Piperzines give similar effects to those of MDMA and are sold as ecstasy (What originally, is supposed to be an MDMA pill) but on a much smaller scale. Except, piperzines are much harsher on the body and this is what normally is the cause of deaths and bad reports for ecstasy. When you hear a report about a "death pill" its most likely a piperzine and not MDMA. Usually what causes something bad to happen, is that they think its just a weak pill and then try to 'chase' the high, so they munch on more and then its too much for their body and they start to go into a downwards spiral, hot/cold shivers, jittery, excessively fast and loud heart beat, sickly feeling etc.
Now, if we went and implemented a 'soft' and 'hard' drug regulation system, MDMA would make the 'soft' drug list and be more easily available, you would get cleaner drugs therefore less health risks and more good times are to be had.

It just frustrates me so much at how so many people, can be rediculously ignorant to the facts. The media has turned all the god fearing sheep into anti-drug fanatics. People need to understand what it is that they are hating. You can't say something is bad and evil until you've actually tried it and know the ALL the facts (Think. Research. Rationalise.). Its like me saying that I hate Subway because it tastes disgusting and will give me food poisoning and a heart attack, when I've never had subway and know nothing about whats in it or the preperation. Its exactly the same principal with weed, people have been brain washed to believe that weed is a very harmfull and corrupting drug, when in reality, its actually alot healthier for you than smoking tobbacco, or drinking copius amounts of alcohol. You can eat bake weed into eatibles and have an awesome time without actually ingesting any smoke at all. What are the consequences of this you may ask? well, other than some slight memory loss (alcohol is worse) you might come down with side affects such as, feeling awesome, good times, new friends and a much happier outlook on life. But we wouldn't want that legalised now would we?

Lets compare weed (illegal) to alcohol (legal)
Pros- Serves many medicinal purposes including, but not limited to, insomnia, adhd, eating disorders, joint and muscle pain and cancer.
- Makes life seem pretty good.
- Can be used to break down social barriers and help unite people.
- Strengthens relationships (bonding over a couple cones is awesome)
- Instead of passing out with your head in the toilet bowl, you'll nod off into a wonderfull sleep on your couch after ingesting a large amount.

Cons- You'll need to go shopping (to restock your pantry)
- Slight memory loss
- Slight lung damage if you do decide to smoke it and not bake it into eatibles (Also varies by style)

Pros- Used a disinfectant and cleaning agent.
- Euphoria in low-mid doses (varies with tolerance).
- Can be used to bond with people, just like weed.

Cons- Vomiting
- Memory loss
- Can make people angry and agitated (leads to fights)
- Impairs vision badly
- Nasty hangover
- Alcohol Poisoning
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Unwanted (teen) pregnencies
- More likely to fuel crime (from a personal view, ie, someone is more likely to start trouble after a too much alcohol, where as with weed, the person is more likely to give someone a hug than anything else)
- Is addictive

Much to some peoples beliefs, weed is not addictive. Alcohol is.

/end rant.

Fri, 04/23/2010 - 3:59pm Permalink

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