Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And one war ends?

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  • Russell Brown,

    Interestingly, Matt Bowden indicated in the comments under his photos that he believes he will be able seek approval for Ease (aka methylone), which was withdrawn from sale after being deemed in breach of the MoD Act's very broad analogue provisions. If analogues are eligible for the approval process, that's a good thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    If analogues are eligible for the approval process, that's a good thing.

    I would be surprised if they were.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    If analogues are eligible for the approval process, that’s a good thing.

    I would be surprised if they were.

    That’s what I thought. And I now see those comments aren’t there any more …

    But the very broad reach of the analogues provision is problematic. It excludes from the process what may well be some of the safer substances.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    As far as I'm aware, the Psychoactive Substances Act (sched 2 part1) changed the Misuse Of Drugs Act (s2) such that an approved psychoactive substance is carved out of the meaning of "controlled drug analogue".

    IANAL, but my reading of this is that analogues *can* be taken through the process.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Incidentally, I'd like to see deuterium analogues investigated. Deuterated amphetamines have been researched and I believe tritiated pharmaceuticals are used as tracers (become your own glowstick!).

    It's an interesting question as to whether a molecule which has a non-natural isotopic composition is an analogue or the original molecule, legally?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    IANAL, but my reading of this is that analogues *can* be taken through the process.

    I see what you mean. But the official briefing paper says this:

    Once the bill takes effect, any products that have been legally available for sale over the past six months must begin their approval process or they will become illegal. If they do begin this process then they can still be sold legally, however the Authority has the power to remove them from the market at any stage if they are considered too high risk.

    Products that have already been banned could apply for approval as long as they weren’t classed as an analogue under the Misuse of Drugs Act (e.g. Spice). Any product containing convention drugs like cannabis, LSD and MDMA are not eligible for approval under this system. This bill also sets up a range of restrictions around the sale and supply of approved products. Some of these will only apply to certain products. Restrictions around place of sale, internet sale, labelling, packaging, health warnings, signage, display and storage, disposal and certain restrictions around advertising will only apply to products if the Authority decides they should.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Got a Twitter reply from James Dunne at Chen Palmer (who have acted for Bowden in the past) saying that "analogues are not eligible for approval but an approved product does not become illegal if it becomes an analogue."

    Which I take to mean that any drug already found to be an analogue is ineligible for the process, but anything now declared an analogue is in. This is not logical.

    But it does mean that Bowden could present something similar to methylone for approval.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Okay, I found out a bit more. Acting on the demonstrable fallacy that drugs have been strictly classified according to risk, authorities have treated the analogue provision as a kind of presumptive measure of risk. So if it resembles something that's banned, it should also be banned.

    But that won't make sense under the new regime: if a drug has already been approved and found to be "low risk" under the process, it makes no sense to treat it as risky -- the risk assessment has already been done.

    So if a particular drug is added to Schedule A of the Misuse of Drugs Act, an analogue of that drug that has already been approved can't be un-approved. Not sure where that would leave something similar to methylone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • James Dunne,

    Somebody will probably put it to the test sooner or later: there is an argument that the wording of section 9 of the Psychoactive Substances Act leaves space for a controlled drug analogue that is not one of the analogues specifically set out in the schedules to the Act to be approved.

    And if you could convince the Authority to approve it would become an approved product which would be very definitely not a controlled drug for the reasons set out above.

    But it would be fiendishly difficult in the interim since you'd have to comply with the licensing requirements under the Psychoactive Substances Act _and_ the Misuse of Drugs Act to deal with the stuff, assuming licenses were forthcoming.

    One suspects that the simpler course, given the wide world of pharmacology, might just be to pick something else.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2013 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    It's hard to believe that the USA has stolen a march on us in the area of sensible drug laws. Somehow their crazy mixed up system actually got something right.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    A remarkable milestone, given how long the big lie concocted by William Randolph Hearst and the Du Pont Company, among others, has persisted. Is Capitol Hill finally realising that there’s no use attacking the symptom, just as it came to its senses with 1920s Prohibition?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5418 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to James Dunne,

    Which clarifies things a lot, thanks.

    I hadn't realized there are "schedule 7 analogues" which are specified in precise terms and then a catch-all for other similar substances.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s hard to believe that the USA has stolen a march on us in the area of sensible drug laws. Somehow their crazy mixed up system actually got something right.

    But only because they left it up to a popular vote :-)

    I'm aware of a couple of NZers in the field who have gone to Colorado and encountered an incredulous response to the news that we're keeping the well-understood drug illegal and preparing to approve new ones.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    keeping the well-understood drug illegal and preparing to approve new ones

    This is what has bugged me about the whole 'synthetic cannabis' scare. Most of the synthetic versions are dangerous, or have appeared to cause dangerous effects, yet the actual cannabis itself is relatively benign (overconsumption of super-strength strains by vulnerable individuals notwithstanding). Why not go with the better-understood natural version?

    And do all the synthetic strains taste as bad as the one I tried? It was rank, compared to real cannabis leaf/bud.

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I'm aware of a couple of NZers in the field who have gone to Colorado and encountered an incredulous response to the news that we're keeping the well-understood drug illegal and preparing to approve new ones.

    LOL the stoners have forgotten how recently they were doing the same thing. Oceania has never been at war with weed, and always with terror.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Stewart,

    Why not go with the better-understood natural version?

    It does have the major disadvantage of being easy to grow, and thus hard to tax.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to BenWilson,

    It does have the major disadvantage of being easy to grow, and thus hard to tax.

    And beer is easy to brew but most people, other than hobbyists, are content to simply purchase their supply. Cannabis is also an annual plant so unless you use artificial lighting (with the added hassle and expense that entails) you won't have a year round supply without good management (making sure you grow enough to last till your next crop) which again implies a certain level of commitment.

    If it were to be fully legal I imagine the vast majority of people would prefer to purchase it taxed than bother to grow their own.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    It does have the major disadvantage of being easy to grow, and thus hard to tax.

    Under Colorado's med-pot regime -- which is much tighter than California's, they've been tracking marijuana from seed to finished product for a while now. Individual seedlings have bar codes. I think they'll work out the tax part there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown,

    Aren't they just trying to take the stoners' eyes off the ball?. Big lobby bloc.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to bmk,

    And beer is easy to brew but most people, other than hobbyists, are content to simply purchase their supply.

    It's way less easy than growing a plant. The number of veggie gardeners totally crushes the number of beer brewers, as evidenced by the size and number of shops selling the equipment. Furthermore, they already do it, so it's not like pulling out a couple of weeds around the dak patch is going to be this huge thing your standard hobby gardener will be deterred by. It's pretty rare to find a single property in NZ that doesn't have at least one plant that is tended by someone in the house. Just because it's an annual doesn't mean it won't grow in massive wild patches.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10633 posts Report Reply

  • david westcot,

    here`s a fantastic article detailing the absurd & corrupt evolution of US cannabis laws actually A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference if anyone has the time -a fascinating read. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/whiteb1.htm

    dunedin • Since Jun 2012 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Personally, while I strongly support medicinal cannabis and derivative access for those who need it (because I'm a gay man, because there's a strong evidential basis for its palliative effects in the context of HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions), I sometimes despair of NORML and ALCP ever being able to arrange it on our end. At times, the pot decriminalisation lobby in NZ has been its own worst enemy. I'd want safeguards against distributing it to people with schizophrenia, given that it'd risk cannabinoid psychosis in their specific instance due to genetic reasons, but otherwise, I'd be comfortable with decriminalisation on recreational grounds.

    Although I'm a complete alcohol and drug teetotaller through individual choice, let it be noted! Never supped or inhaled, never intend to. However, I'm no paragon of morality and I won't stop others from doing so in cases of low risk.

    Why can't we just get rid of Class C MOD drugs and concentrate our attention on Class As?

    Craig Y

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Young,

    Why can’t we just get rid of Class C MOD drugs and concentrate our attention on Class As?

    It would be nice if we could revisit those classifications altogether and re-align them according to risk. It doesn’t make any sense for hash/hash oil to be in the same schedule as methamphetamine, or for psilocybin to be classed alongside heroin.

    And then we’d want to have a good, hard think about whether the way we criminalise their use is appropriate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Young,

    I sometimes despair of NORML and ALCP ever being able to arrange it on our end. At times, the pot decriminalisation lobby in NZ has been its own worst enemy.

    True dat. I have a lot of time for Chris Fowlie, but some of the other people who've been associated with NORML really do not help their cause.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Nature Medicine has a short article on dueterated compound from June this year as these are apparently coming back in vogue in the pharmaceautical arena. It looks like the question of whether the compunds are novel and non-obvious therefore patentable. A court case will almost certainly be needed to determine whether this is the case.

    Since Nov 2006 • 103 posts Report Reply

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