One of the things some people claim shows the bill is “badly drafted” is the way exemptions are written for caffeine and alcohol.
Our newly-elected government aren’t the brightest bunch. Psychoactive Substances Bill “exemption” for caffeine: pic.twitter.com/lizkLiSynz
— James Lowe (@jlego) June 1, 2015
— Ed Wilson (@eddwilson) June 2, 2015
The implication is that Parliamentary counsel are so incompetent, they have created self-contradictory exemptions, since any caffeine or alcohol product obviously contains a psychoactive substance. Duh!
Close, but no tobacco product. Because section 2(1) provides that
In this Act “psychoactive substance” means any substance which—
(a) is capable of producing a psychoactive effect in a person who consumes it, and
(b) is not an exempted substance
it follows that anything exempted in Schedule 1, whatever action it may have on the brain, is not, for the purposes of this legislation, a “psychoactive substance”. So the exemption for caffeine (for example) works perfectly. It reads:
Caffeine or caffeine products.
In this paragraph “caffeine product” means any product which–
(a) contains caffeine, and
(b) does not contain any psychoactive substance.
Since caffeine is exempt, it is not a “psychoactive substance” at all; so a caffeine product such as a soft drink is taken out of the exemption only if it contains some “other” psychoactive substance. I put other in inverted commas because of course it would not be “another” psychoactive substance, caffeine not being one.
Parliamentary drafters can and do make mistakes, and there can be bad drafting. But actually, they are a bright bunch. Mostly, in my experience, if you think a provision is badly drafted it’s you who’s missing something.