This is the beginning of a series of articles, following charges relating to psychedelics and the history of psychedelic law in Australia.
Earlier this year we made a submission to the Victorian Government’s inquiry into drug law reform.
- Acknowledge that the current laws and policies are detrimental to citizens who utilise Psychedelics.
- Acknowledge that the current laws and policies are leading to the violation of human rights, cognitive liberty and the persecution of religious minorities.
- Acknowledge the legitimacy of groups and individuals who utilise psychedelics for religious purposes in Australia.
- Consult broadly with groups and individuals who represent the interest of citizens who utilise psychedelics; to ensure that any changes to legislation and policies are appropriate.
- Support research on the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes and other academic pursuits.
- Introduce programs similar to the programs designed by Harvey Milkman in Iceland.
- As a primary goal; Legalise and regulate the use of psychedelics.
- As a secondary goal or first step;
- Decriminalise psychedelics, plants and fungi which contain psychedelics, for personal use.
- Amend laws and policies to allow the religious use of psychedelics; to bring in line with Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Prohibition has failed. It has always been a policy that ignores civic societies role in dealing with issues that people in the society actually have. Instead, it has focused on a prescriptive agenda on psychoactive choices and criminalised those who disagree.
Although the psychedelic experience has positively influenced countless Australians, and the health effects are small in comparison with other activities Australians engage in, psychedelic prohibition continues. Psychedelics (like all scheduled substances) and are said to pose such a risk to individual and community that they must remain prohibited at all costs.
Prohibition of psychedelics unravels when its weakness is illuminated. Though it claims (in modern times) to be focused on the health, welfare and safety of the community; prohibition’s effect, through criminal sanctions is to inflict harm on people who are charged, or those who experience stigma associated with the illicit nature of their interest.
Psychedelics present complex and interesting issues. Almost none of these issues are assisted through a criminal process, nor do they require criminal intervention to be resolved. We hope to address many of those issues as a society, gathering and distributing information on safety, integration, health and the many metaphysical questions that often arise through the psychedelic experience.
On Friday the ninth of June, a member of the community attended the Supreme Court to face charges of trafficking DMT and MDMA.
Understanding the terms used for charges (trafficking) and relating them to what we actually know about the community is important for context.
Hundreds of drugs with very different risk profiles are all equally scheduled in Victoria under the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981. This Act defines all substances within Schedule 11, including all controlled psychedelics as ‘Drugs of Dependence’. If you think you know what that means, think again.
Here is the definition of that term:
- Drug of dependence means a substance that is—
- specified in column 1 of Part 1 of Schedule Eleven; or
- included in a class of drug specified in column 1 of Part 1 of Schedule Eleven; or
- any fresh or dried parts of any plant specified in column 1 of Part 2 of Schedule Eleven; or
- a drug—
- specified in column 1 of Part 3 of Schedule Eleven; or
- included in a class of drug specified in column 1 of Part 3 of Schedule Eleven—
- any form of a drug specified in column 1 of Part 1 or column 1 of Part 3 of Schedule Eleven, whether natural or synthetic, and the salts, derivatives and isomers of that drug and any salt of those derivatives and isomers; and
- drug specified in, or drug included in a class of drug specified in column 1 of Part 1 or column 1 of Part 3 of Schedule Eleven, whether natural or synthetic; or
- salts, derivatives or isomers of a drug specified in column 1 of Part 1 or column 1 of Part 3 of
Schedule Eleven; or
- salt of any derivative or isomer mentioned in subparagraph (ii)— contained in or mixed with another substance;
VIEW THE FULL SCHEDULE 11 LIST (9 pages long) OF ALL PROHIBITED SUBSTANCES IN VICTORIA. (recorded on 21st June 2017)
Within the Schedule are amounts of each substance that would be considered traffickable quantities, commercial quantities and a variety of in-betweens. These numbers are made through parliament, without any necessary reasoning which references evidence on the potential for harm of these substances. These numbers are made up by politicians by whatever information compels them at the time.
The person charged with DMT and MDMA trafficking had relatively small amounts of each. The accused had a mixture of MDMA and MDA at around 1.5 grams. This did not warrant much discussion and was generally accepted as for personal use. The discussion in court focused on the DMT, as the accused had an amount of crystal inside the home, and an amount in a preparatory stage in a garage.
DMT is a naturally occurring psychedelic, found endogenous in the human brain and in many plants and animals. In Australia, it is found in a number of acacia (wattle) trees, from which some people have learned to extract it from.
It is a substance with an almost negligible physical harm profile, which provides a psychedelic experience unlike any other described. It is one of the primary psychoactive ingredients in the Amazonian ‘jungle medicine’ known as Ayahuasca. Websites like Erowid.org collect a wide range of first-hand written experience reports. Many of the intriguing elements of the DMT experience are outlined in these writings.
Here are some excerpts of the experiences recorded by those exploring the effects of DMT:
“I opened my eyes and discovered that my body was covered with objects that seemed to be exploring me. These were small machine-like forms that seemed to float just above the surface of my skin, never actually touching it. They reminded me of miniature robotic vacuum cleaners with scanning noses. Advanced mechanical objects, each attempting to report on a different region of my body. Amazingly enough, this did not frighten me in any way. I simply closed my eyes again and let these objects continue to explore me. However when I shut my eyes they were still there! They continued to shuffle about in my line of sight before eventually disappearing, only to be replaced with other visions. I have no idea what it all meant, but everything seemed to have purpose.”
– Within and Without by Morninggloryseed
“With a suddenness that defies explanation, I became aware that I was underneath two figures, and there was a sheen of light indicating a barrier between us. It looked and felt as if I were submerged in water, in some kind of pod or globular cell. On top of whatever was encasing me were two alien entities, and they were in the middle of intercourse. The males face was towards me, but it was blacked out, as if it had been censored. The female was deliciously curvaceous, and while the details were hazy, I recall being aroused by her figure. I tried to focus on the strange nature of their skin, or perhaps it was clothing, which closely resembled well-pollished crome. As I attempted to reach out to them, the environment again shifted.”
– Hyperspace Intercourse by Dr. Light
“I felt and saw oscillating, dancing geometric patterns behind my eyes. My head played triumphant speeches “Yes we can! We can achieve it!” against heart-moving music, a feeling of absolute hope that could not be shaken, a feeling as large as if all war was ending. I then moved into a goddess being state, I heard peaceful bird and jungle noises, and I felt I was experiencing complete bliss is a sunny meadow with butterflies and no cares. I was connected to wholeness and I was directed by my soul into asking questions about the akashic records, my past lives, but what interestingly came up was the voice “Sirius. The golden phoenix. The keeper of all knowledge.” And in this conversation I said something really unintelligent- “what? Like all book smarts?” and the reply was “all intelligence, all knowledge of the universe” and then I snapped into thinking what that connection to Godliness must be and how close they are to that level of consciousness.”
– Connected to Wholeness by imaginariumgirl
The Judge had never heard of DMT. The prosecution and defendant lawyers spent their time dancing around legal arguments and pseudo-scientific legal persuasion, based on things both of them had clearly recently learned about solely for the case.
The arresting officer was called to the stand and seemed slightly more informed. He said that DMT was, “Popular at dance parties,” had a, “specific user group,” and that his team (drug squad) had come across a lot more DMT relatively recently. The lawyer defending the client made the slightly bizarre, but perhaps legally strategic statement, “It doesn’t actually kill people. It’s used to understand what happens when you die.” Which made me chuckle a bit. Perhaps complex philosophical discussions are best left out of courts.
The defendant lawyer outlined the personality of the accused, showing them to be someone who is very intelligent, interested in biology and has occasionally dealt with depression and anxiety. The accused would be better known as a drug geek or psychonaut.
Although the charges could have lead to jail time, the Judge was satisfied that the accused was not a threat to society and gave them a 14 month good behaviour bond, along with 250 hours of community service that would be able to be organised alongside the accused’s employment.
We want to know your stories. Have you or a friend ever been charged for a psychedelic crime, creating hardship in your life, where there was once none?
We want to talk about these charges, build a community of people to attend court with you and give you support.
We want to help with resources, connecting with lawyers and create a support group to discuss these issues and support one another.