Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: But seriously, drug policy

60 Responses

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  • Ianmac,

    Hone has good reason to be wary of Cannabis. He points to the devastating effect on people in the North. Criminal gangs, young unemployed, dysfunctional families, all somehow undermined by cannabis. Ironically if cannabis was decriminalised then the market for selling an illegal drug would diminish.
    So Hone is OK by me to be more concerned with decent food for kids. But sooner or later some brave political party, like the Internet Party will accept the challenge and cause the decriminalisation.

    Bleneim • Since Aug 2008 • 135 posts Report Reply

  • MxDEJ,

    I'm surprised that there hasn't been more talk about the last paragraph of the Internet-Mana agreement, which boils down to "after October 25, there's every chance that we'll go our separate ways". There are plenty of differences between the parties, including drug policy, which could make it difficult to stay united. If the left block ends up with enough seats to talk coalition, this could get very interesting.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    However much I may have disparaged harm reduction in favour of the human rights angle before, I still think the harm reduction angle is a vast improvement on the status quo, which is neither harm reduction, nor in favour of human rights. So that's a plus for IMP, even if it's not full marks in my book.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10647 posts Report Reply

  • UglyTruth,

    Another look at the "war on drugs" as a money making venture for the dark state:

    Police seized a cache of 35 kilos of illegal drugs found on an American-registered Swearingen Merlin twin–engine turbo-prop during an initial search, sources told ABC Australia, and said one local man, already known to police, had been arrested.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2014 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    Legalise... research... create a bunch of patented products in the medical field... market and export them to the world

    Northland (& NZ) could be boom town... new jobs, money, infrastructure etc and hope for all, paid for by a product that won't destroy our environment and it seems studies suggest won't harm any more than it currently does (recreational users) - and those will fall into the health system not justice

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How about having an overall framework and then letting communities (which might be local councils, but could be iwi or affinity groups) decide on the details of drug legalisation/regulation/prohibition for their people?

    So Hone could have prohibition of alcohol and tobacco for his people, if they'd sign up for it, whilst the Aro Valley could have legal, safe MDMA.

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

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to Ianmac,

    Ironically if cannabis was decriminalised then the market for selling an illegal drug would diminish.

    Really? You over estimate the ability for lots of people to wait patiently for' their plant' to grow. Ever notice all the fast food places around in spite of it being completely legal to 'cook your own'

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    A friend of mine was at an event last week where he reckoned the lavatory cubicles were heaving with groups of people all of whom (by the sound of it) were insulfating what he presumed were anti-hayfever medications. So while cannabis reform is all fine and dandy, what about other drugs in widespread use due to our growing invisible trade with South America? Or is it drug reform, singular, and only pertaining to pot, as far as it can currently get here in NZ?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis,

    communities (which might be local councils, but could be iwi or affinity groups) decide on the details of drug legalisation/regulation/prohibition for their people?

    We used to have this for alcohol. When I first was eligible to vote we had a prohibition question on the ballot paper. Eventually Big Alcohol undermined it. Large parts of Auckland were 'dry' right up to the late 70s.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • stephen clover, in reply to bob daktari,

    Legalise... research... create a bunch of patented products in the medical field... market and export them to the world

    Northland (& NZ) could be boom town... new jobs, money,

    Not just cannabis, but hemp. No-brainer.

    wgtn • Since Sep 2007 • 355 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to bob daktari,

    Legalise… research… create a bunch of patented products in the medical field… market and export them to the world

    Northland (& NZ) could be boom town… new jobs, money, infrastructure etc and hope for all, paid for by a product that won’t destroy our environment and it seems studies suggest won’t harm any more than it currently does (recreational users) – and those will fall into the health system not justice

    For a moment I thought you where talking about planting vineyards in northland. And I was going to tell you about what happens to rural people places like France, when they have wine gluts.

    But when I noticed you were talking about answering northlands economic problems with weed, I just give up.

    I like the Internet party policy. It's starting the path to legalization thru "medical use" which if the Californian model is adopted - using the drug will not be marketed, like alcohol, as an essential part of your diet. By attaching the word medical to dope is a good thing at the beginning of the legalizing process because even recreational use has medical connotations. kind of like alcohol and methadone.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to stephen clover,

    Not just cannabis, but hemp. No-brainer.

    We haven’t seen a lot of that since we started those trials, what eight years or so ago. I’m more into wool and angora fibre.

    Ginseng, is what New Zealand has a special climate for.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4356 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to steven crawford,

    Ginseng, is what New Zealand has a special climate for.

    Really? How so? It seems to grow mostly in places like Korea, Northeast China, Siberia, and northerly parts of the Americas that have winters far colder than almost all of New Zealand. Although Wikipedia does mention a Vietnamese species - but again, an entirely different climate from anywhere in NZ.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari, in reply to steven crawford,

    But when I noticed you were talking about answering northlands economic problems with weed, I just give up.

    not as much answering, putting a positive spin on what could be a very profitable product and offshore market for NZ for many regions, including Northland

    Assuming of course that there will be a future ongoing international market for cannabis based medicinal products, ones that have been researched, patented and created here by our scientists, & engineers. An idea I am sure was mooted here by someone in a previous drugs discussion (refer http://guardianlv.com/2014/01/cannabis-market-leads-to-china/)

    If not medicinal then recreational exports... I'm guessing the growing and processing won't be as destructive as dairy and could be more profitable - we'll never know if our politicians continue to do their best to ignore the entire discussion

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Matt Crawford,

    My hope is that sensible legislative reform of drug law could well be supported by a majority of MPs. Gay marriage turned out to be rather better supported by our politicians than anyone might have thought from looking at the acrimonious passing of civil unions. I think the numbers on the psychoactive substances bill are a pointer to an unvoiced widespread acknowledgement that our regulatory status quo aint all that flash.

    The subsequent backlash over legal highs was certainly a bouffant-sized cluster fuck. Though, isn't it amazing that all that public outrage, drama and energy at the start of the year has melted away to absolutely nothing just months later.

    Another sign of the times - Family First has their anti-marijuana rhetoric in overdrive. Half of Bob's posts these days seem to be copy-pastes of dire warnings of the weed-induced apocalypse straight off the fundamentalist newswires.

    If Bob sees it as a pressing threat, then perhaps it's not so far off after all.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Meanwhile:

    Cannabis use among teens has long-term harmful consequences, a damning new study shows.

    The study, published in the Lancet, shows daily cannabis users under the age of 17 were 60 per cent less likely to complete high school or attend university and were nearly seven times more likely to attempt suicide.

    Daily users were also 18 times more likely to become addicted to cannabis and eight times more likely to use other illicit drugs.

    And from David Fergusson:

    Professor David Fergusson, leader of the University of Otago’s Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS), said the latest research was the largest single consistent study ever done on adolescent use of cannabis.

    Moves to legalise cannabis could put adolescents at increased risk of harm, and “should be carefully assessed against the potential for increasing the availability and/or use of cannabis to young people”, he said.

    He was touting his “gateway drug” thing on the radio earlier too. The CHDS is a national taonga but I think Fergusson overreaches his data and his expertise on this. These kids already get pot – the question is whether making them outlaws helps or harms them.

    I would certainly agree with him that supplying cannabis to people under 18 should be an offence.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    And then we have this research which reinforces earlier work highlighting the harms from early and heavy use. For me this strengthens the argument that drug policy is a valid debate during an election. Cannabis is harmful, which is why we need to change the law (and our wider policy approach).

    And man, contrast the leadership shown by the Global Commission with what we have in NZ: National supports status quo. Labour and Greens have other priorities. ACT will leave it to the conscience of its MPs.

    Parties don't want to debate drug policy in an election year, nor in the years in between.

    I quite like the IM policy, and I liked the process the Internet Party used to develop the policy - it was crowd sourced to a greater degree: the first iteration was a big shit so I gave it no more thought; the final product is well thought out - it shows for example quite a good understanding of the current barriers to medical cannabis, which could be corrected with a very minor legal and regulatory amendment.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 170 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Snap!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Damn you, Brown!

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 170 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 170 posts Report Reply

  • Dean Wallis, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Cannabis use among teens has long-term harmful consequences, a damning new study shows.

    This sort of science always concerns me - the "conclusion" is that smoking cannabis makes you drop out. However it could also mean that kids likely to drop out include cannabis in the range of "no-hoper" rebellious behaviour they engage in. So, add in rap music, hoodies and wearing caps sideways.

    Some effort should be given to finding if weed was the cause of the problem, or a symptom. Obviously there are potential adverse health outcomes, but blaming all the issues that some of these kids face, on weed, is a stretch.

    Point Chevalier • Since Jan 2013 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    daily cannabis users under the age of 17 were 60 per cent less likely to complete high school or attend university

    or

    students under 17 who fail at high school are likely to use cannabis

    You can't extract cause and effect from such a survey.

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

  • Mark Graham,

    But doesn't the research just illustrate the problems we have with drug eduction here? Prohibition has never been the answer. All we end up with is young criminals perpetuating the 'get smashed' approach to drug use (including alcohol).

    Surely it's time we had some proper education on how best to consume drugs in safe ways.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • Rob W, in reply to Ross Bell,

    This sort of observational study is problematic, as you cannot attribute causation. For example does this study show that:
    a) Daily cannabis users are more likely to drop out, commit suicide and use other drugs?
    or
    b) Kids with serious social problems who are dropping out, depressed and using drugs are more likely to use cannabis daily?
    Big difference in where you might intervene.

    I also think the whole medical marijuana argument is hugely overstated. In my 25+ years as a medical doctor I've never once sat there and thought, "Gee, I wish I had some marijuana to give this person". The benefits are small, if any, mainly confined to pain and nausea control in those with terminal illnesses, and there are other effective medications available. Given the likely role of smoked cannabis in lung cancer, I just don't see the point, and I'm not aware of any quality data showing the benefits exceed the risks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Rob W, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I would certainly agree with him that supplying cannabis to people under 18 should be an offence.

    Except that doesn't really work that well for alcohol currently :-(

    I'd like to see small amounts ignored or decriminalised, much like getting a parking ticket or speeding. Maybe one day, when we get our societal structure and supports in better shape we can look at doing that for all drugs, but IMO there's too many unhappy, unsupported folk out there, where more drugs are only likely to make things worse.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 9 posts Report Reply

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