Michelle Lensink

Controlled Substances (Possession Of Prescribed Equipment) Amendment Bill

This speech is to indicate support for the Controlled Substances (Possession Of Prescribed Equipment) Amendment Bill.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (12:55): I rise to indicate support for this bill, which has passed through the House of Assembly, where I understand that our shadow attorney-general, the member for Heysen (Isobel Redmond), would have addressed a number of issues. I will start by putting a question to the government in relation to an act that we passed in 2005. A number of amendment bills to the Controlled Substances Act have previously been debated. I understand that the Controlled Substances (Serious Drug Offences) Amendment Act 2005 is yet to be proclaimed. In determining which particular clauses have been amended, one must refer to that act, which is not yet contained on our statute books. That has been an ongoing issue each time one of these bills has come before us in that we must refer to that amendment act rather than the substantive act.

I wonder what the hold-up is in terms of having that proclaimed. This measure is aimed at the hydroponic cultivation of cannabis and the manufacture of amphetamines. Our support for this bill is entirely consistent with the Liberal Party's policies as we have articulated them both in debates in the parliament and in what we took to the last election. I note that a range of different measures have been implemented in relation to hydroponics. I have also spoken in favour of the Hon. Ann Bressington's drug paraphernalia bill, which has a similar intent in relation to bongs, pipes and so forth.

I congratulate her on progressing the matter of reform in this area. A list of items of what have been described as 'indicative things' has been provided, and people in possession of these items will need to prove that they need them, rather than the onus of proof being on the police in order to prosecute them. The list is as follows:

specified carbon filters,

high performance lights,

condensers,

distillation heads,

heating mantles,

rotary evaporators,

reaction vessels,

splash heads,

manual or mechanical tablet presses

and a manual or mechanical encapsulater.

I am not an expert on these particular items, but I have a question relating to an area with which I am more familiar, that is, the nursing home industry and pill crushers which are very commonly used when residents are administered doses which are less than a full tablet. Is that envisaged as being part of this or will it be excluded?

I believe that it certainly should be excluded. Returning to the issue of cannabis, I made a number of remarks in relation to the Hon. Ann Bressington's former bill (Controlled Substances (Sale of Equipment) Amendment Bill) which dealt with bongs, pipes and the sale of hydroponic equipment. I will not necessarily repeat those comments, but it is important to acknowledge that cannabis and its potential harm is better understood. I think that additional research needs to be undertaken, but at least in terms of scientific research, people who are vulnerable to schizophrenia, for example, can certainly be tipped into the psychotic stage from the consumption of cannabis. Some of the other relationships between mental health and health problems are not as well understood; but, as time progresses, I think we will see more evidence emerging of the potential harms.

Certainly, a number of the dangers about the consumption of amphetamines are well documented. I think, too, it is an acknowledgement in relation to the hydroponic aspects of this bill. The government has admitted that hydroponic cultivation in South Australia is a problem, and not before due time. According to the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD), hydroponically-cultivated cannabis accounts for some 90 per cent of seized cannabis in South Australia. According to the ANCD, this state has the highest number of hydroponic shops per capita of any Australian state. I think that speaks volumes in terms of the need to institute these reforms, and certainly that is not before time. I remind the government that I do have those two particular questions to which I would appreciate a response. I indicate support for the bill.

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