Trinite Williams: Western Australian man, 49, could be jailed and fined after ... trends now
A man has been charged with possessing liquid nicotine despite Health Minister Mark Butler claiming smokers will not be personally targeted in the vape crackdown.
Trinite Williams, 49, faced the Magistrate's Court of Western Australia on Friday and pleaded not guilty to possessing liquid nicotine, which is a controlled substance, after police found it during a search of his car on October 8.
Police charged him with possessing a scheduled four Poison under the state's Medicines and Poisons Act 2014. He is facing a fine of up to $2,000 and/or up to two years jail if found guilty.
Mr Williams' lawyer Kyle Kutasi told Daily Mail Australia his client was 'extremely frustrated' because he believed owning a vape was not against the law.
A 49-year-old Western Australian man was charged for possessing a liquid nicotine in a vape found by police after a search of his car
'He just had a vape, that's it. Not litres of nicotine liquid. He had just enough for the one vape for his personal use,' Mr Kutasi said.
'Mr Williams is extremely frustrated because he is trying to defend a load of nonsense and it is a complete waste of time and money.
'It was his understanding that it was not illegal to possess a vape since Health Minister Mark Butler publicly said users would not be penalised.'
Mr Kutasi wrote a 'please explain' to Mr Butler about his client's charges, which are essentially possessing a vape without a prescription.
He added the criminal charges came after multiple public comments by Mr Butler assuring vapers that they would not be the target of the nationwide crackdown.
Australia will ban imports of disposable vapes in January and in March this will be expanded to include all non-therapeutic vapes, including refillable devices, while importers of vapes for medical purposes will need permit from the Office of Drug control.
The ban will include $75 million in extra funding for the Australian Border Force and the Therapeutic Goods Administration to bust vape smugglers.
But at a press conference explaining the crackdown on Tuesday, Mr Butler said 'there is no penalty for people who use vapes'.
'I do send this message. These are not measures targeting users. These are not measures that impose any penalty whatsoever on people that are using vapes.
'There is no penalty for people who use vapes, but there are substantial penalties for people who end up illegally selling them or are possessing them for commercial purposes.'
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Health Minister Mark Butler for comment following revelations of the charges Mr Williams is facing.
Health Minister Mark Butler (pictured) has publicly said users will not be penalised for having a vape, claiming government measures will target suppliers and vendors
Mr Kutasi said police are not listening to Mr Butler's direction and that the Health Minister needs to step in to stop vape users from being charged.
He suggested vapes be removed from the Therapeutic Goods Act's poisons list as states and territories have laws against possessing a controlled substance without a prescription.
'Having vapes under the poisons list and in the same category of cocaine and heroin is absolutely ludicrous,' Mr Kutasi said.
'You would think that the government would want to encourage a substance that helps people to quit smoking rather than discourage its use.'
Director of Legalise Vaping Australia Brian Marlow told Daily Mail Australia Mr Butler's promise not to penalise vape users is a 'lie'.
'In my opinion the Australian government is lying to the public if they say they will not be prosecuting vapers,' Mr Marlow said of the West Australians case.
'He may get off but we don't know. The fact is the