Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious matter – so be serious about it

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  • Ben Austin,

    Has anyone started any formal campaign groups for either side yet?

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Okay, here's a new one from FamF. How can one expect that New Zealand's existing regulatory agencies will deal properly with legalised pot, when the United States has an opioid crisis from legal prescription drugs? Possibly because working class Americans are addicted to opioid prescription medicines due to the weak US trade union movement and absence of welfare state protections, do you think?:

    https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2019/01/americas-opioid-crisis/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to Ben Austin,

    Has anyone started any formal campaign groups for either side yet?

    These guys ran billboard advertising campaign in Auckland end of last year and state publicly they have a commercial growing operation in East Tamaki:

    https://www.helius.co.nz/

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong,

    Maybe a bit off topic but medicinal not recreational is fascinating and linkedin of all places led me down a rabbit hole featuring terms feminized and nutraceuticals among others.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/medicinal-cannabis-could-new-zealands-next-major-growth-paul-manning/

    At the bottom is Ross Smith, googling a block of text from his linkedin background data brought up a bunch of interesting links regarding recent history of cannabis in this country.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Craig Young,

    Okay, here’s a new one from FamF.

    If they're making that connection, they are the only ones doing it

    helius

    These guys need to watch the doco's about Fyre festival. I just wonder who the gullible fools are hes tapping for finance. And Ross Smith sounds no better.
    40 yrs cannabis experience? What does that even mean?
    Im not signing up just to find out. They just seem more interested in future financial gain for themselves

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    Interesting!

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to andin,

    And Ross Smith sounds no better.

    Ross Smith is evidence that marijuana does not cure psycopathic xenophobia disorders.

    From Colin Hogg (September 2018)

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/books/96585330/smoking-usa-colin-hoggs-marijuana-roadtrip

    I can relate to The Mother Factor but beginning to loathe the white entitlement anti gang argument also being used by Greens.

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/chl%C3%B6e-swarbrick/cannabis-referendum-faq/844322729236701/

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Can we have another referendum on making booze illegal at the same time?

    Citizen's initiated whatsit, if there's time?

    Seems the juxtaposition would be quite amusing.

    What with Family First and National talking up that one guy in Canada once who might've died from smoking pot non stop for 45 years, maybe, while talking down the hundreds a year in NZ who die from alcohol. Because of course they would.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    And the latest scare tactic is (drumroll) cannabis toxicity, adverse reactions and psychosis (c/o Canada's tabloid National Post):
    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/opinion-think-cannabis-is-harmless-i-used-to-too-i-know-better-now

    What about New Zealand's pharmacovigilance regulators? Wouldn't they undertake assessment of specfic subspecies of weed in the event of legalisation? It'd be interesting to see if any human genome research has identified particular genes that affect the onset of adverse reactions to pot and specific other drugs.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Craig Young,

    adverse reactions and psychosis

    As she points out her friend who had the same dose as her was fine and able to comfort her. Individual differences make a difference. I dont want to downplay how traumatic it must have been for her. She writes "at a time when I was stressed, and therefore vulnerable to a breakdown". She should have paid attention to that and refused the gummy bear. Many things can lay bare your "soul" overuse of alcohol can do it, albeit briefly before you get drunk. That dread of death and impermanence is always with us. As Shulgin and others can attest pure MDMA taken in the right circumstance(not at a dance party) can offer a less confronting way of facing those demons we carry with us. We cant just shut it out, now more than ever we(all of us) need to pay attention. And get our societies back on track to care for those who, for whatever reason, lose their way. But using her story as a scare tactic is a bad idea, but tabloids make a habit of this kind of thing.

    white entitlement anti gang argument also being used by Greens.

    Its a dumbed down argument I guess it appeals to people who see "gangs" or the criminal element as the main problem. Cant see where the "white entitlement" comes into it. Please point out what Im missing. Tho I do find the tone condescending at times. I guess thats what happens when trying to cover all bases.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    From Spinoff, this time. A columnist talks about her father's deadend life using pot to blot out an otherwise grim deadend life. The most obvious rejoinder to this is which subsspecies of weed he was using, and whether there were meaningful intervention services in the area her dad lived in. If not, that explains the pattern of his problematic use, Compare her description to that of anyone who's lived with an alcoholic parent: https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/04-02-2019/my-father-lost-in-smoke/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden,

    Doug Sellman and I have an op-ed in the ODT today about the wording of the referendum.

    https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/question-important-%E2%80%98bit-detail%E2%80%99

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Armstrong, in reply to andin,

    Please point out what I'm missing.

    It just seems like with their one wish we have a binding referendum where people who can't score think it is somehow OK to bash gangs in public so they can avoid growing their own.

    I don't know what kind of cabbage the Green party smokes but the alienation and memory loss in store for them when they get hit with something a bit stronger makes me kinda sad.

    If they get back in Paula may suggest they all start peeing in a cup on a random basis.

    New Zealand • Since Jan 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Joe Boden,

    The wording of the referendum that Big Business is likely to push for will emphasise freedom to buy cannabis as a matter of individual choice, with no reference to the type of regulation surrounding the sale of cannabis; wording such as: Do you think it should be legal to buy cannabis in New Zealand? Yes. No.

    Thanks Joe, this is worth taking very seriously.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin, in reply to Joe Boden,

    A two stage referendum maybe? First stage - Choose Which Option; Second stage: Status Quo vs Chosen Alternative

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    Im with you now, and yep.

    As per Joe's post option 3 or 4 seem the better ones, and maybe "gangs" could be part of the licensed retailers or growers. As long as a person can grow a few plants of their own if they want. An upper limit could be set. Any sort of control shouldnt fall into corporate hands, unless it has something to do with the medical side and price are controlled to make it affordable for those who need it.
    But lets gt thru the referendum first eh!

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to steven crawford,

    I've been invited to have a discussion with some folks from the MoJ who are spearheading the development of the referendum, so I'm hoping to be able press our points with them in person.

    A two-stage referendum sounds like a good idea, even if it is run at the same time. Hypothetical: Question 1: change or no change? Question 2: If change, rank choice for options for change. If there is a majority in favor of change on Q1, then the rank choice result for Q2 will indicate which direction we will go in.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Cannabis is incompatible with human happiness because capitalism. These are the takes that led to the over-stimulation of my mesolimbic system when reading Danyl, and the resulting anhedonia has long since worn off since I quit.

    I've been quite surprised by the praise for Danyl's essay, because I rather strongly dislike it and think it says far less than it purports to. Framing all drug use in terms of some sort of dystopian dopamine chase ignores a lot of the actual reasons that people take drugs, including social ones.

    And "we should have an agency that decides what to do about drugs" is a very bloody thin conclusion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    The wording of the referendum that Big Business is likely to push for will emphasise freedom to buy cannabis as a matter of individual choice, with no reference to the type of regulation surrounding the sale of cannabis; wording such as: Do you think it should be legal to buy cannabis in New Zealand? Yes. No.

    Thanks Joe, this is worth taking very seriously.

    I think Joe and Doug will get their wish. The proposed model was always going to severely limit commercial exploitation of any new market.

    But by the same token, I'm not clear that there will actually be a "Big Business" lobby for a liberal commercial regime along the lines they expect. There's no sign of that yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I was recently interviewed for Patrick Gower's upcoming documentary about cannabis in New Zealand (in which I state that I would support a highly regulated legal regime!). His producer was telling me about some other interviewees who are already involved in growing, and they seem to be gearing up to be making some big money. It could just be wishful thinking... time will tell, I guess.

    I wish I could be more optimistic, but if we look at what came out of Alcohol law reform, the only substantive thing we got was a private member's bill that reduced the allowable BAC to 0.05... and that was a total fluke.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Boden,

    His producer was telling me about some other interviewees who are already involved in growing, and they seem to be gearing up to be making some big money. It could just be wishful thinking... time will tell, I guess.

    I think there's a difference between allowing commerce on the production side – where there are costs and compliance and it can't be done for free – and a highly commercial retail sector.

    I don't think there's a serious lobby here behind open-slather regulation – the longtime reform advocates almost universally don't want a highly commercial model. The only person in NZ I've seen argue for Big Cannabis is Karl du Fresne, and he's an idiot.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the government opt for a NZ take on cannabis social clubs. They don't have to do anything of the kind, of course – the original MoU is vague enough that they could just propose legalising use and possession but not any kind of production. Which I think would be a mistake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Neil, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Framing all drug use in terms of some sort of dystopian dopamine chase ignores a lot of the actual reasons that people take drugs, including social ones.

    Those social reasons are themselves based on dopamine release and are follwed by a depletion period where peolpe are less pro-social. It’s the dopamine release people after and the downside comes on Tuesday.

    I don’t see it as an argument against decriminalisation but I think Danyl’s central point is that we are creating new and disturbing was to get addicted and perhaps the classic harm reduction model has been overtaken by events.

    Since Nov 2016 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Neil,

    Those social reasons are themselves based on dopamine release and are follwed by a depletion period where peolpe are less pro-social. It’s the dopamine release people after and the downside comes on Tuesday.

    Dopamine isn’t the only thing that makes my brain tick.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Joe Boden,

    I thought the five options seemed an intelligent design. Just one obvious design flaw: three were for legalisation but failed to say so. I only becomes apparent when you read and interpret the text.

    Just remember: half the voters have below-average intelligence! Imagine the enormous queues that will develop at polling places, caused by voters scratching their heads trying to figure out where the legalisation option is, so they can tick it.

    The kiss formula applies: keep it simple (too many folks are) stupid. Both/and logic could be applied via supplying them with a legalisation option to tick, followed by the three regulation options you describe (in a sub-section).

    I also didn't like the psychological signalling involved in the choice to put the status quo first. The status quo is so disreputable, it ought to be last!

    Anyway, what would I choose to vote for? One of these two:

    • State-owned monopoly with no private profit involved (similar to alcohol in Scandinavia).

    • Strongly regulated private businesses; no marketing, limited hours of purchase, R20 (similar to tobacco in New Zealand).

    The problem with the state option is that it forces us to trust bureaucrats to get it right. Since when has that ever worked?? If legislation included a clause requiring the bureaucrats to obtain approval from the Drug Foundation for their methodology, that could suffice to produce trust in their competence. The DF would be a compulsory consultancy in both design and implementation phases.

    The problem with the private enterprise option is that enterprises compete in the market on the basis of quality differentiation. Okay, they also compete on the basis of false promises, but let's assume regulators will eliminate that! So producers must be able to specify what makes their product better. Consumer choice requires that info to be available. That means advertising, even if only at point of sale...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Consumer choice requires that info to be available. That means advertising, even if only at point of sale…

    And like every other product sold in supermarkets, including alcohol, but tobacco not so much, the consumer needs to know when one particular brand is crazy cheap out the door low price.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4316 posts Report Reply

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