Bongs stay on sale in Vic amid ban call
The Victorian government will continue to allow the sale of marijuana-smoking implements, despite an opposition pledge to ban bongs should they win the next election.
Opposition Leader Ted Baillieu said a Coalition government would introduce the ban to reduce the harm caused to families by cannabis.
"Cannabis is a dangerous drug which causes serious mental and physical damage to many Victorians every year," he said on Saturday.
"As long as John Brumby allows bongs to be sold freely at more than 100 outlets across the state, Victoria's young people and families will continue to suffer from the damaging effects of cannabis."
But a spokesman for the government said it would not change its policy on the sale of bongs.
"We have examined this issue in the past but we do not support a ban on bongs and will continue to focus on prevention, education and working closely with police around law enforcement," he said in a statement.
"Victoria is tough on drugs with a focus on prevention, protecting our young people and reducing demand and the uptake of illicit drugs in our community."
The spokesman said the Opposition had no comprehensive drugs policy and continued to tinker around the edge of a serious issue - addressing the symptoms and not the cause.
Mr Baillieu said that under the Coalition plan it would amend the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act to restrict the sale of bongs, with Consumer Affairs Victoria inspectors being responsible for policing the ban.
He said research showed cannabis was a gateway drug into more dangerous illicit drugs, with most heroin and cocaine users first experimenting with cannabis.
"Victorians can't trust a government that claims it is tough on drugs yet won't take this important step to reduce drug use," Mr Baillieu said.
An election is due to be held in Victoria in November.
January 2, 2010
Sydney Morning Herald
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Victorian coalition pledges bong ban