Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: The Colorado Experiment

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  • Robyn Gallagher,

    For me, the highlight of this quality post was discovering from the photo that there's a strain of pot called Cat Piss Romulan.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1865 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Thanks Damian. It's great to have some first-person reporting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Good post Damian. Exciting times in the US. Crazy times here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    or 50% oregano thanks to the local skinheads we’d buy from

    Perhaps more fun than trying to smoke a mixture of curry powder and golden syrup, as was once the case for a bunch of hash fiends of my acquaintance.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 728 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    A big mistake, to further decriminalise pot.

    But hey, lets just visit some place, enjoy the vibes and then say go for it.

    Anyone would agree Tobacco has ruined the health and lives of millions of kiwis. That was a mistake based on lack of knowledge ( and wilful obstruction by the tobacco industry) over centuries.

    Loosening alcohol restrictions hasnt worked to the better either. The alcohol industry fights every foot of the way along with their fellow travellers in the pokies business ( created by liquor interests to start with as their product is not especially addictive for most)

    Marijuana is a big distorting influence in many parts of the country, but heh since the chattering classes are ambivalent - "didnt do me any harm" lets make it commercial
    Yet the 'synthetics' experiment shows even turning tinnies into a FMCG is destined for disaster

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    This is the sort of febrile reasoning used in Colorado

    "According to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the organization responsible for much of the campaigning in support of Amendment 64, cannabis use by teens is likely to go down because commercial access would be limited to persons 21 and older."

    I nearly fell off my chair laughing ....

    But wait theres more..
    " This amendment requires the general assembly to enact an excise tax to be levied upon wholesale sales of cannabis, requiring that the first $40 million in revenue raised annually by such tax be credited to the public school capital construction assistance fund."

    The first $40 mil for school construction fund ?

    Its beyond laughable when you know how politics and funding works.
    Yep, more libraries for high decile schools. We have been there al lready with the pokies funding and we know how the haves get more from those who have most to lose

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Hey Damian, Hi(gh :). What was the strain of pot that you were standing amongst. The leaves look fascinating or am I seeing things and was it just a drying room?
    I think the States are getting it right and the way to get the likes of Soccer Moms on board was show the money, Tax it. Soccer moms aren't forking out their "hard earned money" but directly can benefit in the community.Everyone wins something.
    I think there is something to the age of 21 also. Over here I think 18 made way for 17,16yr olds to access and that immaturity shows up in programs like Campbell live. .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6281 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    A big mistake, to further decriminalise pot

    I guess we're now in a position to find out if that is true, in Colorado, rather than a guess. You got your prediction. I got mine. Which is that Colorado won't change much at all. But millions of people in Colorado can now be honest about what they do. Which is worth a great deal to them.

    Time will tell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to BenWilson,

    Time will tell.

    If it's allowed to, without being jostled by the jerking of knees.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 921 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to linger,

    Well one advantage to the glacial pace at which the American system moves is that it probably will be allowed to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    We have been there all ready with the pokies funding ...

    ...and there's always these types in the Pokie racket...

    A well known pokies operator was set to make a small fortune from a new trust until his estranged wife leaked a series of emails to Internal Affairs, which blocked the trust.
    Kay McIntyre handed over her husband Ray's emails, including ones where he persuaded his sister-in-law to lie to investigators and his lawyer to redact his name from paperwork.
    That evidence led the Gambling Commission to back an Internal Affairs decision to refuse a licence to a new gaming trust, Phoenix, which wanted to operate pokies in Christchurch sports bar Sideline.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5070 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Thanks for the post. Did you happen to have any discussions with employers or employees around 'Drug testing' in a workplace and if testing has been relaxed or tightened up around this major issue?
    I certainly wouldn't want to work with people who are impaired at work nor do I think it's fair that people that may have had a smoke occasionally in the weekend get sacked because it shows up in a test. Saliva testing (pot in your system 2 days) seems to be a fairer system because it's more definitive around a timeframe, employers are reluctant to even consider it as a testing mechanism in NZ. I've tried to argue that a Saliva test should be the first step,if a positive result occurs this gives the employer the opportunity to require an employee to take a urine test so that if someone takes a wrongful dismissal to a employment tribunal there is a recorded level.
    Surely the whole debate should be about impairment in a workplace . I can honestly say that in my younger days I wasn't still wasted or impaired 24 hours later after having a puff. We really need employer groups,legislators etc to have a look at this properly rather than putting their heads in the sand. Employers are reluctant to test regularly because of the cost associated (I assume),surely if they are concerned about health and safety, regular saliva testing is a more cost effective way to tell if anyone is a risk at work to other workers.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I read a month or so back that the tax take was coming in well below early optimistic projections of popularity (about half in fact for the first couple of months). It will probably make the 40 million for school buildings, but it may not get that much more.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • ange wither,

    I've often wondered about the quality of what gets sold on the street - one of the scandals of our time is what big business will put in food if it can get away with it. Current levels of pesticides on pot could be grim, especially given the factors of heat and inhalation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 54 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    "Perhaps more fun than trying to smoke a mixture of curry powder and golden syrup,"

    I knew a guy who tried this and had to be put into a medically induced korma,
    (I think he also had a dodgy tika.)

    Since Mar 2010 • 96 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks Damian. It’s great to have some first-person reporting.

    I know, it makes a difference when a real journalist does it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2752 posts Report Reply

  • Moz,

    Being of the definitely not smoking persuasion, it's the other methods stuff that I'm watching. "Gummie bears" could easily be made, say, green and leaf-shaped rather than bear-shaped, so that it's at least obvious what's inside. Trying to make them unattractive to children (especially if you call all those under 21 children) is going to be hard work, especially since they'd ideally also be attractive to adults.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 491 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Moz,

    Being of the definitely not smoking persuasion, it’s the other methods stuff that I’m watching. “Gummie bears” could easily be made, say, green and leaf-shaped rather than bear-shaped, so that it’s at least obvious what’s inside. Trying to make them unattractive to children (especially if you call all those under 21 children) is going to be hard work, especially since they’d ideally also be attractive to adults.

    Yes, as Damian said, "edibles" seem to be the part they're rethinking. What strikes me is how much more wholesome the cannabis retail environment is in Colorado than the synthetic cannabis retail environment is here, with its hole-in-the-wall shops. Could you even replicate that in New Zealand? Is the market the same? Is society the same? Was part of our mistake guaranteeing the chancers who already sold synthetic cannabinoids a continued living?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Moz,

    “Gummie bears” could easily be made, say, green and leaf-shaped rather than bear-shaped, so that it’s at least obvious what’s inside.

    You mean like those sweets we used to call mint leafs, long before we'd ever even heard of Gummie Bears :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Could you even replicate that in New Zealand?

    Well, we did actually have a much more wholesome environment when synthetics were sold in dairies, right next to tobacco. But we stopped that. It wasn't even that long ago. I don't recall hordes of stoners hanging around my corner dairy at 9am.

    Could you even replicate that in New Zealand? Is the market the same? Is society the same?

    If we went back to selling it in dairies, I'd say those sleazy places would dry up overnight. You'd still be able to go to one, but who would bother?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Was part of our mistake guaranteeing the chancers who already sold synthetic cannabinoids a continued living?

    We never guaranteed that. Thousands of retailers had to stop stocking it. My corner dairy guy was bitter because it was a good earner. It hit him right in the pocket to give all that trade to the dodgy place next to the brothel in New Lynn, which I think might be the closest place I could now go to get a legal high, 2km away. Good place to go if I want to get a glass pipe or a dildo, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Blake Monkley,

    regular saliva testing is a more cost effective way

    I can understand restricted drug testing at work when other people's lives might be at risk, but I would definitely not like us to have a society that makes people pee in a cup (or spit on a stick, or whatever) just to get or hold on to some bullshit retail or cubicle job. That's how the US works in many places and I think it's horrible.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley, in reply to Danielle,

    Urine testing unfortunately is happening in retail or cubicle jobs and I know of one person who was asked to take a urine test, they took 14 weeks to pass a clean test/before being allowed to return to work,they were tested regularly during suspension(no wages) ,levels were dropping during the process to prove that they had not been using, Meanwhile a person who dabbles in A class substances generally will pass a test within a few days.We need a fairer way to measure impairment rather than urine testing which only proves that you have it in your system.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    But hey, lets just visit some place, enjoy the vibes and then say go for it.

    Yeah, that's exactly what I did. I didn't spend hours with the head of the Colorado State Patrol. I didn't spend half a day at the Colorado Department of Transportation. I didn't interview public prosecutors, lawyers, the Mayor, sellers, growers, smokers....

    Oh that's right, I did all of that. I went looking for problems associated with legalisation. Problems that didn't already exist under prohibition. But thanks for reducing all that to a snide quip.

    If you're worried about the fact that the tax will inevitably benefit the higher decile schools, perhaps you should consider the disproportionate effect that prohibition has on lower socioeconomic sectors - as you point out, it's not the chattering class smokers getting criminal records or worse...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Blake Monkley,

    Did you happen to have any discussions with employers or employees around 'Drug testing' in a workplace and if testing has been relaxed or tightened up around this major issue?

    Not really - Colorado has at-will employment, so you can fire anyone at any time for any reason anyway.

    As for back home, I did a story recently about the expansion of workplace drug testing - well beyond those areas where safety is paramount, and into the offices of NZ. Obviously I have no issue with an employer requiring their staff not to be stoned at work, but you're right about saliva vs urine. I interviewed one drug testing organisation who proudly told me how far back they could go with hair testing - they can tell what you did months ago! Yay...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

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