Posts by Ross Bell

  • Hard News: Fine words, some hope,

    To be fair, Labour also has plenty of this in its ranks.

    Yep. And there was silence from all parties in respsonse to the new policy. And only NZ First sent an MP to the launch.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fine words, some hope,

    Good summary, Russell. I don't think we can overstate the political context under which the policy was developed - we have a conservative, right-wing government which releases a drug policy that says "alcohol and other drug problems are first and foremost health issues." There's no use of the word "scourge", or "evil". The tone is important - I think it's a significant shift. And yes, one that needs to be backed by health-focused actions.

    We reckon there's heaps in the new policy to work with. You highlight the "early warning system" - that's a great start. And while MODA hasn't been chucked in the bin where it belongs, I reckon there's enough of a hook in what's in the policy to make some pragmatic changes.

    I also want to highlight something - the policy has benefited greatly from the direct input of "civil society". In fact, the policy's goal was drawn directly from a consultation/consensus building process we ran 2 years ago. Many other themes were also drawn from this process which involved people in recovery, treatment providers, people who use drugs, grandparents who are raising their grandkids, and even the Police Association.

    You mention the education component. Yeah, that's part of it (and it will need to be done right). But one of the first things being looked at here is a destigmatisation programme - *possibly* along the lines of the Like Minds, Like Mine mental health work. That could be a bloody important piece of work.

    Finally, the Drug Harm Index refresh - we understand this is being led by Ministry of Health this time, not the Police.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Apple Music: Taking a dump on…,

    Allow me to shit on your parade: switch to Google.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Potency and purity,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A dramatic and unremarkable decision,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A dramatic and unremarkable decision,

    Perfect summary of the situation, as usual, Russell.

    I think what this case highlighted is that our Medicines Act can work really well, in that the minister has the ability to make these decisions.

    It also shows that, fundamentally, we don't need to change our drug laws to allow medical cannabis (we do need to change laws for lots of other reasons though). All we simply need to do is have a much wider range of medpot products regulated under medicines law (and then have those fully subsidised). This could include for example homegrown equivalents of Bedrocan (who currently cannot maintain a regular supply in the Netherlands or in Canada, let alone importing to NZ).

    [I'm not sure the cannabis reform people protesting outside the hospital and ministry were of much help (on this case or any other TBH).]

    Minister Dunne is showing himself to be very open to this issue now.... he isn't going to come out tomorrow and free the weed, but my goodness he is open to looking at evidence (or at least directs his officials to look at evidence). My sense is that he doesn't want to be left behind as the world moves forward pretty quickly. He talked a lot to other govt folks about medical canabis at a recent UN meeting. And has been very open to meeting patient groups back home... saying recently he would happily reform any laws as necessary if they created barriers - advice from the Ministry is that there are few legal barriers to getting Medpot products approved (including approving NZ-based cultivation for research), but maybe some regulations that could be streamlined.

    Watch this space. But don't expect revolution.

    No comment on the PM's comments.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Behind Baltimore,

    We interviewed "the real Omar" a while back. In his words “Until we come together as a people and say enough is enough, everything that’s happening is going to continue.”

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: What would a harm reduction…,

    In this paper, the author, Toby Seddon, argues we should embrace those online markets and include them as part of a overall new way of agile regulations (I paraphrase).

    I think these sites are really quite useful ( as you've written about recently too, Russell), and should be seen as critical to innovative harm reduction.

    [By the way, I can flick people a copy of Seddon's full paper, or check out his blog here: https://tobyseddon.wordpress.com/]

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: A conversation from belief,

    Thanks for the post Frank.

    A quick question: why is your board all blokes?

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Talking to the United Nations…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Plus there's been a ridiculous Catch 22 with med cannabis: we don't have evidence about possible effectiveness because research funding has been withheld (US have only recently overturned its ban on federal money for med pot research). It's telling that many more pharmaceutical companies are moving into medical cannabis research... that should tell the minister something.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

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