Jan 2015 Update

Wow, what a year 2014 was! And it feels like another interesting one is brewing right now... 
Here's what's happening in our world:  

 

Lobbying win! 

Federal psychoactive substances import ban amended to exclude plants and their extracts 

The psychoactive substances importation bill was passed by the Federal government in November after accepting an amendment to exclude all plant material and plant extracts from the ban which was lobbied for by a small number of plant enthusiasts. 

During the deliberation process a member of the PFA wrote a lengthy submission to the government which led to being called as a witness to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. He made the basic point that:

"of the estimated 4 million species of plants on Earth, there exist countless non-addictive herbs that are considered beneficial to human health. Of these, vast numbers exhibit mild psychoactivity along with negligible or non-existent adverse health effects. However a great deal of these substances have not yet been listed by existing Therapeutic Goods or Food Standards regulations; thus they would be illegal to import under the new law. Undertaking the studies necessary to add to the list of TGA regulated botanicals would be prohibitively expensive for virtually anyone outside of large pharmaceutical corporations.

And in the end, the politicians agreed! This was a big win for herbalists, ethnobotanical collectors, ethnic Australians and phytophiles in general who otherwise would have been prohibited from importing a range of awesome harmless plants such as Sceletium tortuosum, Ilex guayusa, Heimia salicofolia, Pedicularis densiflora, Nymphaea caerulea and many more. Most importantly, it shows that ordinary citizens can have an influence on what goes on in politics when we're engaged and proactive.

 

Medical cannabis movement gathers momentum 

PFA representative in attendance at Inaugural Australian Medical Cannabis symposium 

How barbaric and irrational it is that, due to propaganda and demonisation of a plant that is among the safest, most effective and most studied therapeutic substances in history, people are forced to needlessly suffer and die from a multitude of treatable diseases...? 

However there's been a lot of publicity around this issue of late due to developments in the USA and children with severe epilepsy and adults with cancer being featured in the Australian media. A member of the PFA attended the 'United in Compassion' symposium in Tamworth which featured presentations by senior political figures, scientists, doctors, law enforcement officials, carers and activists. 

Now a private members' bill before has been introduced to the Senate that, if passed, will allow for the establishment an independent body to regulate the growing supply, distribution, dispensation, and access to medicinal cannabis in Australia. Let's hope Big Pharma and Big Tobacco don't monopolise it - we believe that people who choose to do so should be free to grow their own medicine and food - of all types!  

NB: Cannabis is a great example of a botanical medicine that appears to work better in its whole form than as a pharmaceutical extract, due to the large number of active molecules the plant contains and the crucial role that the body's endocannabinoid system plays in maintaining health. 

 

Plant Freedom Alliance in 2015 

From little things big things grow...

Volunteers: The Plant Freedom Alliance is a volunteer-run organisation and at present we are moving through stages of germination at an organic pace. This year we aim to expand our website, forge connections with other organisations nationally and internationally, and to participate in a forthcoming national trans-organisational drug law reform campaign (more details soon!)  
If you have skills that you'd like to contribute to the cause - particularly communications, advocacy or IT - please get in touch with us

Letter writing: Though the PFA is not primarily focused on the issue of medical cannabis, this is a very pertinent topic at the moment and it can bring a lot of attention to the subject of botanical medicines, corporate influence on government, and drug law reform in general. Therefore we wish to encourage everybody to write letters to newspaper editors and political representatives expressing their support for a rational and compassionate approach to the issue. There will be state elections in NSW and QLD this year, so politicians need to see that voters care about this! 

 

Thanks again for flying the plant freedom flag! We wish you all best for the year ahead.