Greg Kasarik

"Act with Empathy"
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The Legal Argument

When compared to the broader issue of drug law reform, my objectives in this action are quite limited: "Regulated access to Transcendent Compounds for religious purposes, as required under sections 7 and 14 of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (2006)". 

It is not my intent to upend drugs law as we know it. 

Those unfamiliar with either me or my writings may not have heard of “Transcendent Compounds” before. Transcendent Compounds are those Entheogens which are non-toxic, non-addictive, and psychologically safe in an appropriate dose, set and setting. It includes DMT, Psilocybin, Mescaline and LSD, but excludes others, as cannabis and ketamine. This reflects my philosophy that a substance isn’t really getting you into good spiritual territory if it controls your soul (is addictive), or is likely to harm, or even kill you (which seems to be getting a bit too close to spiritual truth for comfort).

It also reflects the simple fact that this campaign is going to be difficult enough without continually getting sidetracked on issues of toxicity, addiction and psychological harm. After more than four decades of increasingly strident and unhinged propaganda, many people are viscerally afraid of these substances and “non-addictive, non-toxic and psychologically safe” is a soothing mantra that can easily be repeated until the message finally sinks in. 


Under the Australian Constitution, drugs law is a state, not federal issue and as such, Victorian, not Federal law is relevant in this case. 

The right to Religious Freedom an ancient concept and its protection is often considered to be an essential characteristic of a modern well functioning democratic state. The Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (2006) provides extensive legal protections for the exercise of religious freedom in this state. 

Section 14 of the Charter provides extensive protections for religious belief and practice, while Section 7 delineates the circumstances in which a right may lawfully be limited.

Section 14 grants the following rights with respect to religion:

(1) Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and

belief, including-


   (a)  the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his or her

        choice; and


   (b)  the freedom to demonstrate his or her religion or belief in worship,

        observance, practice and teaching, either individually or as part of a

        community, in public or in private.


(2) A person must not be coerced or restrained in a way that limits his or her

freedom to have or adopt a religion or belief in worship, observance, practice

or teaching.

Section 7.2 is the section of most relevance when it comes to the Government's obligation to respect religious practices and to not impinge upon them unnecessarily.:

 A human right may be subject under law only to such reasonable limits as
can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society based on human
dignity, equality and freedom, and taking into account all relevant factors

   (a)  the nature of the right; and

   (b)  the importance of the purpose of the limitation; and

   (c)  the nature and extent of the limitation; and

   (d)  the relationship between the limitation and its purpose; and

   (e)  any less restrictive means reasonably available to achieve the purpose
        that the limitation seeks to achieve.

A key phrase here is "can be demonstrably justified", as it is clear that this puts the justification for any restriction, on a right contained within the Charter, onto the Government. It is the Government which has to justify maintaining a ban, not I for breaking it. 

To date, the Victorian Government’s official response to my campaign to achieve regulated access to Transcendent Compounds for religious and spiritual purposes has been that the compounds are illegal because of “community health and safety”. 

There are two factors which make this position untenable. The first is the fact that Transcendent Compounds are non-addictive, non-toxic and psychologically safe and the second is that my lobbying of the Government has been specifically aimed at obtaining regulated access to these compounds for religious purposes. I have no intention of arguing for these compounds to be legal in the same way as alcohol or tobacco, nor do I believe that they should be legal in the way that these are . 

The contrast is stark. Alcohol - the current benchmark for allowable substance harm in the community - is highly addictive, highly toxic (it is a disinfectant!) and psychologically dangerous, being reliably linked to aggressive and anti social behaviours, including nearly half of all murders and possibly hundreds of thousands of assaults each year. In Victoria alone, it is responsible for over 25,000 hospital admissions. Furthermore, it kills an estimated 3000 Australians each year. Frankly, any move away from alcohol and towards Transcendent Compounds should be encouraged and applauded by any sane society. 

The second untenable aspect of the Government's position relates to the fact that the current ban is black and white and does not acknowledge the legitimate religious uses of these substances. It confuses "use" with "abuse" and in doing so fails to conform to section 7.2(e), which requires that the Government adopt "any less restrictive means reasonably available to achieve the purpose that the limitation seeks to achieve". 

Even if one were to agree that  there were legitimate reasons for a complete ban on the recreational use of non-addictive, non-toxic and psychologically safe compounds, it does not follow that a less restrictive regulatory regime that recognises their religious importance should be simply ignored. 

One could debate whether a specific substance is in fact worthy of being regarded as a "Transcendent Compound", but if the Government wishes to make the case that the substances that I have identified as "Transcendent Compounds" are not as safe as I have claimed, they need to do so using peer reviewed research and scientifically valid data. This is highly unlikely, given that decades of research have consistently demonstrated that these compounds are safe, especially when consumed within regulated frameworks. 


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