ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
THE NSW STATE GOVERNMENT came down hard on pubs and clubs earlier last year, forcing an apartheid between the eaters and the smokers. Those caught showing a flagrant disregard for the controversial law have been fined, including a 25-year-old finance worker, who was slapped with a $209 fine for eating in a smoking area.
Thomas Tudor says that he’s not a habitual drug user, he just “likes to ‘get wet’ every now and then with the men in his life.”
“I had the tablet in my mouth when the police dog sat down beside me,” said Tudor. “As I swallowed it, I made eye contact with the cop and he knew I’d just eaten a big “Red Chanel.”
Police will allege that they caught Mr Tudor eating in the designated smoking area, referring the case to the Office of Liquor and Gambling, who in turn issued the career grain trader with an infringement notice.
In August, a court ruled that snorting does not constitute eating. Local nightclubs and pubs have advised patrons since then to crush up any tablets and administer them nasally. The court also ruled that shelving in a smoking area is not technically eating either, but may be illegal under the Crimes Act.
Prominent Newcastle licensing lawyer Elliot Pink, says that it’s a legal grey-area when it comes to ingesting illicit drugs in no-eating smoking areas.
“Under state law, you may not eat anything in a smoking area. Not even a peanut,” says Pink. “That includes any type of drug you can inject into your body through your mouth, like MDMA. But, under this licensing legislation, you’d be free to enjoy coke, nangs, marijuana (non ingestible), ketamine, GHB, LSD, DMT, crystal methamphetamine, PCP and heroin without fear of being fined.”