Australia Plans to Ban Garden Plants As Drugs—Including the National Flower!
In their zealotry to assure that no one gets high from naturally-occurring substances, Australia's National Flower proves to be one of those that could get the gardener many years in prison.
CALL TO ACTION!
by Heidi Stevenson
24 February 2011
Australia's national flower, the Golden Wattle, may become illegal under government plans.
(Licensed under Creative Commons)
The citizens of no country are exempt from the worldwide attempts to stifle health, food, and life freedoms. Right now, Australia is planning to make some of the most fabulous garden flowers illegal—including the Golden Wattle, the wildly vibrant National Flower, pictured to the right, and the stunning Brugmansia pictured below it.
Brugmansia blooms like these may become illegal in Australia.
(Licensed under Creative Commons)
It seems that the powers-that-be in Australia are terrified at the thought that someone might, just might, try to get high using one of these common and prized garden plants, among a huge array of others. A spokeswoman for the Federal Attorney General, Robert McLelland, stated, "The Commonwealth's drug laws target people who are involved in the illicit drug trade and this will continue to be the case. Most of the substances to be included on the new lists are already deemed to be illegal and have been for some time."
It sounds good, but the reality doesn't match. Quantities, based either in weight or number of plants, will be specified for different offenses. As anyone who gardens can tell you, a hundred plants of a single type, especially annuals, is usually not many. The beauty of many plants is enhanced by planting en masse. Gardeners will be limited in how they design their gardens—just so Robert McLelland doesn't need to stay awake at night worrying that someone, somewhere, might be enjoying himself by ingesting or smoking part of a plant that's been freely available forever.
Currently, Papaver somniferum is illegal in Australia if more than 100 are grown. Gardeners in America like to grow these plants en mass because of the vibrantly colorful display. They're poppies. Yet, having a hundred of them in Australia now can get you charged with trafficking. What about the truly successful gardener whose plants multiply? What if he doesn't even realize that there are more than the legal limit?
Permaculture College Australia summarizes the resultant problems like this:
- Farmers may need to change their pasture grasses and legumes.
- Gardeners, collectors, and botanic gardens will have to remove precious plants from their collections.
- Landcare and dunecare groups may no longer work with the species they are used to and that are native to their region.
- Nurseries may no longer propagate many of the plants they normally propagate.
- Botanists may no longer collect samples from many plants.
- Seedbanks will need to destroy many of their precious seeds.
Proposed Additions to Illegal Plants
Currently, the list of illegal plants includes:
- Cannabis (marijuana).
- Erythroxylum, the genus from which cocaine can be derived. Includes E. coca and E. nova-granatense.
- Papaver bracteatum and Papaver somniferum, from which opium is derived.
- All fungi that contain psylocybin, an hallucinogenic drug.
The proposed additions to this list number in the thousands! Without naming them all, here's an overview of what's proposed:
- Wattles and many Acacias for containing DMT (dimethyltryptamine). This is what gets the National Flower, the Golden Wattle, in trouble. Also included are:
- Acanthaceae: Justicia (Justicia pectoralis)
- Aizoaceae (Ice Plants): These gorgeous plants would make Monterey, California a banned zone if they were declared illegal.
- Graminae (Grasses—No, not pot; it's already illegal.): Can you imagine any ornamental grass being declared illegal?
- Leguminosae (Wattles & Peas): Legumes, from which beans come. It includes some great gardening favorites, including Wisteria. How could a porch exist without a Wisteria draped over it? What about citrus trees? Limonia, a parent of many commonly-eaten citrus fruits and providing many substances used in supermarket foods, would become illegal. There are many others in this group. For a more complete list, see Garden Freedom's page on legumes.
- Even a plant from the violet family would be illegal.
- Myristicaceae (Nutmeg family): Yes, common cuisine nutmeg can get you high.
- Pandanaceae (Screwpines)
- Polygonaceae (Buckwheat family): All Erigoneums would be illegal; that includes all buckwheat.
- Plants from Rubiaceae (Coffee family), Violacea (Violet family), Ochnaceae and Malphigiaceae families.
- Brugmansias: all species.
- Daturas: all species. (Brugmansias and Daturas are among the most stunning garden plants in the world. No night could ever be more wonderful than a warm summer's eve when Daturas are in bloom and their most gorgeous scent wafts through the open window.)
- Any cactus that contains even a hint of mescaline. This will eliminate an astounding number of plants, including many fascinating species referred to as brain cactus because of their convolutions. Included in the ban will be Opuntias, which grow so widely in Australia that they're considered a noxious weed. Will farmers and gardeners who can't keep up with the weeding be subject to arrest as drug traffickers?
The Australian Botanical Gardens displays a large number of cacti, nearly all of which contain some mescaline.
According to Garden Freedom, all of these cacti genera are known to contain mescaline: Aztekium, Carnegia, Corypantha, Echinopsis, Gymnocactus, Gymnocalycium, Islaya, Lophophora, Mammillaria, Myrtillocactus, Opuntia, Pelecyphora, Pereskia, Pereskiopsis, Polaskia, Pterocereus, Stenocereus, Stetsonia, Trichocereus, Turbinicarpus.
- Ephedra family: Any plant containing ephedrine would be illegal. As the name implies, nearly all would be banned. These plants are highly prized by many plant enthusiasts. They're used by herbalists. Some botanical gardens keep specimens.
- Catha edulis, which produces a stimulant popular for getting high.
- Mitragyna Speciosa (kratam): Khat, a stimulant, comes from this plant.
- Salvia, all varieties. This is a very common decorative group of plants with very bright flowers usually planted en mass.
Perhaps it would be easier to name which plants would be legal. Please, refer to Garden Freedom for more detailed information.
You Can Stop The Wholesale Banning of Useful and Beautiful Garden Plants.
There is a brief window for letting the government know what you think. If you're Australian, tell them! It doesn't need to be complicated—just a few words saying that they've gone crazy or they're playing with your rights would suffice.
The Honorable Brendan O'Connor, MP, is taking comments until 11 March 2011. Just send him an e-mail at Criminal.Law@ag.gov.au.
You may also send a well scripted and modifiable message to O'Connor by going to Garden Freedom's page, http://www.gardenfreedom.com/email-minister-direct-from-website.php.
If you don't want to wake up one day to discover that nutmeg is no longer available as a seasoning or that you're breaking the law by growing the National Flower, please send a message.
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