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Australian State to ban bongs on January 1

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Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

The Australian state of Victoria premier Mr Ted Baillieu has ignited the nanny state cone, pulled it deep through the bubbling anxieties of the worried community, then blown out a new law into parliament earlier this month with the banning of the sale of bongs as of January 1 next year.

It seems that slapping a warning label on bongs as the first step to deter people from using them was skipped and now the humble and retro smoking device will no longer be available for purchase to use as a fetching vase, or a bong.

The Victorian State Government aren't the hippest of dudes when it comes to drug knowledge but it would be safe to say that anyone who takes hits from the bong will already own a bong. The State Government's website mentions the statistic “almost one third of Victorians aged 14 years and over report having used cannabis at some stage in their lifetime, making cannabis the most widely used illicit drug in Victoria” which suggests anyone looking to have their first bong will know somebody or know somebody who knows somebody who owns or has access to a bong.

If would-be bong heads are looking to get in on the action then they need look no further than their local 'bong shop' front window where fliers are strewn pointing out the fact that you only have until January 1 2012 to buy a bong, so get in quick.

What this bong ban is going to do is bring people together, much like a camp fire or more fittingly, a bar or club's designated outdoor smoking area. Suburban houses will become the local bong bungalow blaring music by bands such as Rush or Dream Theater while countless youths and adults alike sit around the single bong on the table debating who's the better drummer, Neil Peart or Mike Portnoy.

An eventual decline in bong ownership will have a few effects; it will bring together a community of marijuana users around one crusty, stinky old bong as if it were a holy grail, or it will turn bong smokers into joint smokers or, as the government hopes, it will halt marijuana use all together. But, as marijuana is an illegal substance and as the statistic above points out, one in three Victorian over 14's have tried it, so banning the sale of bongs won't really cap the cone.

The kids of today are a clever bunch, they can find anything they want on the internet, including 'how to' guides. How to make a molotov cocktail, how to make a nail bomb, how to hack into computers and, yes, how to make your very own working bong. If kids are saving money by not purchasing bongs but by making their own instead, that may lead to even more marijuana use.

It's not hard to make a bong. The fear is how far this anti-bong sentiment will go. Perhaps it will end up like the banning of sales of spray paint cans to teenagers. Imagine a teenager heading to his local hardware store to purchase a green garden hose but gets turned away empty handed because, as we all know, a hose in the hand of the young means a hose in the hand of the drug addled.

With warning labels here and bans there, the old Aussie saying for use your common sense “use your noggin'” will quickly turn into “read the label first” or “that's illegal”.

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