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Steelmanning hate speech reform

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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I am generally sceptical of laws regulating speech, especially those that impose criminal penalties, the consequences can be perverse, and can sometimes even make things worse for those whom they seek to protect. But I try not to allow my…

Testing the fairies

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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A new paper by ESR scientists, published in the Australian Journal of Chemistry, has confirmed what close observers of the local cannabis community already knew, or at least suspected: the cannabinoid contents of local "green fairy" products vary widely, ratios…

Adventures In Gender Identity

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Speaker by Shel Walmsley
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It started during a recent visit to a gynaecologist. Don’t worry, I’m fine.  I felt an intense discomfort as I picked up my prescription and I knew immediately that this was gender dysphoria. I’d experienced it many times before but…

The Drugs Meetup

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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"We just kept saying yes," New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Sarah Helm told me the evening before Through the Maze: On the road to health, where nearly 50 people and organisations were represented on the stage over two busy…

A picture of official callousness and detachment

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last night, the New Zealand Herald posted a story from its political reporter Derek Cheng which bundles together a number of current issues around medicinal cannabis. The most alarming is that of Katy Thomas and her epileptic son Eddy, which…

The drumbeat for reform gets louder

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It should have come as no surprise after the narrow referendum defeat last year of a bill to legalise and regulate cannabis that its loudest and best-funded opponents should have wandered off to find a new culture war. The people…

Cannabis: Who owns Say Nope to Dope anyway?

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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After a quiet spell in the news on account of, well, other stories, cannabis and what to do about it staged a modest headline revival this week. First there was this Stuff report on a journal article by Massey University…

Family Matters: a post about 2020

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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My sense of recent history is a mess; sometimes I can't rightly say what happened, when. I tell people about something I did two years ago and it turns out it was late last year. And still, like all of…

Public Address Word of the Year 2020: Doomscrolling

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The Public Address Word of the Year 2020 is "doomscrolling", which narrowly beat out "bubble". But in a shocking turn of events, Public Address founder Russell Brown was unable to complete his traditional mock press release announcing the results of…

Public Address Word of the Year 2020: The Vote!

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It's that time again! You can now vote for the Word of the Year 2020. Thanks very much to all the people who nominated for the long list in the form below, and to Hadyn Green for his good work…

Election '20: The No Threshold Hypothetical

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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The final count of the 2020 general election has been released, with five parties making it into Parliament. If New Zealand had no threshold, and parties just had to get enough votes to be entitled to be in the first…

Mum

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Speaker by Michael Appleton
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Ten years ago this week, Mum died. Her death wasn't surprising: my mother Alison had been living with a terminal breast cancer diagnosis for two and a half years. But it was still shocking. One evening, she was sleeping in…

Rewarding competence

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Speaker by Joshua Drummond
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If you were listening to New Zealand’s punditocracy in the days since Labour won the general election with a record-setting outright majority, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Labour had actually lost. Last time around pundits could barely deal with…

Election '20: The Special Votes

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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The 2020 General Election has a preliminary result. For reasons I am unable to really explain, we will not have even a preliminary result for the end of life choice and cannabis legalisation referendums for some weeks (I dropped the…

The long road to "Yes"

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One day in 1985, I came down from the loft where I was working as deputy editor of Rip It Up magazine, looking for lunch, and walked into a scene. There, on the corner of Queen and Darby Streets, a…

Cannabis: legalisation versus decriminalisation

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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One thing I've been hearing fairly regularly, usually from more conservative voters, is that they're wary of voting "yes" for legalisation and regulation of cannabis, but that they'd definitely get behind decriminalisation if that was on offer. I think most…