Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fighting On

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  • Paul Campbell,

    I can just imagine it - bunch of guys hanging out on the veranda of the local "tinnie house" - policeman wearing one of those old-style "most often nicked in a bar brawl" police hats:

    Policeman (bends at knees): 'ello 'ello 'ello what's all this then
    Culprit #1: nothin offica
    Policeman (still bending at knees - it's a low veranda and he's got the silly hat on): you're a tinnie house
    Culprit: #2 (all innocent like): no we're not offica, I and I're just hanging out listening to some good reggae
    Policeman (nails sign to the wall): well now you're not, you're an official "drug dealing house"
    Culprit #1: cool - got any aspirin?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Tinnie houses would seem to be a tiny part of the cannabis trade anyway. It's so widespread that most people are only separated from a cultivator by at most 2 degrees. This kind of crime is very hard to police - networks of people who already know each other, and can thus keep a low profile.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Kyle,

    Hello, is this the police?'

    Yes it is. How can we help you?'

    'I'm calling to report my neighbour, Rangi. He's hiding
    cocaine inside his firewood!'

    'Thank you very much for the call.'

    Early next morning, police officers descend on Rangi's
    house in great numbers.

    They search the house and then go out to the
    shed where the firewood is kept.

    Using axes, they bust open every piece
    of firewood but they find no cocaine.They swear at Rangi and leave.

    The phone rings at Rangi's house.

    'Hey, Rangi, Did the cops come?'

    'Yeah!'

    'Did they chop up your firewood?'

    'Yeah.'

    'Happy Birthday bro!'

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Nice work MCing that debate last night Russell. Even if using kittens is like, totally cheating.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Russell, that was a great (extended) interview with Allan Bollard. Some fascinating snippets, especially where he refused to admit reading David Haywood's blog to help inform during the 2008 crisis (although the truth was obvious to all).

    Congratulations.

    And whoever it was that tweeted that @nzben is "full of shit" is, well, full of shit :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How much are we paying these people to discover that Es are maybe not always pure MDMA? Do they have further earthshattering discoveries to import. Maybe they'll find out in few years that finance companies lend cheap money to their dodgy mates?

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

  • Rich of Observationz,

    How much are we paying these people to discover that Es are maybe not always pure MDMA? Do they have further earthshattering discoveries to import. Maybe they'll find out in few years that finance companies lend cheap money to their dodgy mates?

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

  • Don Christie,

    Hey, it's Friday:

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    The green is a bull market, catch up with it, understand it and tax it.
    Get the cops back on real crimes.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    The Webstock launched was a great evening. I was a little late, so I missed the speaker announcements, but now that it's out there I'm all revved up. Merlin Mann! danah boyd! Doug Bowman! And the return of Tom Coates!

    I'm now facing the dilemma of being all fired up and wanting to go, but not quite being able to afford a ticket. But I'm sure I'll find a way. Donations gratefully accepted.

    The debate was some class A lolz. It was particularly fun to be able to heckle via twitter, with the particular comedic gems being read out by Mr Moderator. It somehow devolved into a general call for David Slack and Nat Torkington to make out, even though Nat wasn't in attendance. Awesome.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    The UK's "Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) describes itself as "an intelligence-led law enforcement agency with harm reduction responsibilities". Its job is to cut not crime, but harm."

    Mark Easton's current BBC blog also talks about the obvious need "for a sophisticated crime harm matrix" and concludes:

    So the idea of harm reduction in a crime context is not entirely new but suggesting it be used to decide the focus of police activity is still, I think, a radical notion.

    Our own Organised & Financial Crime Agency talks about "disrupting" and seems to make no mention whatsoever of any sort of harm reduction responsibility.

    So real harm reduction here - although enshrined in our National Drug Policy - will remain mainly a lip-service item and very limited while we have that shonky police-commissioned BERL harm index and reports like the OFCA's first pretty little offering.

    The raft of new legislation passed here in the last couple of years giving police and other govt departments increased powers of surveillance and interdiction indicate only a gross accelleration of individual and social harms.

    Thats even though, not so long ago, Greg O'Conner inadvertently gave three excellent reasons to re-classify cannabis (and other substances far less toxic than meth) out of the realm of criminal anti-social behaviour and into the legal Class D style regulations that the outgoing Labour govt left us. Bugger.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Neil Morrison,

    ...but they're also plainly socially mediated too.

    I'm sure Dutton would agree.

    He's not the most modest person but he did challenge some very entrenched, ruthless and irrational powers in Academia when there wasn't a lot of support.

    Brian Boyd might be a better bet for a chat over a wine.

    Since Nov 2006 • 932 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    For the really curious I found the link, and don't think I've posted it here before:
    Misuse of Drugs (Restricted Substances) Regulations 2008

    Anyone wanting a copy of it as 5 pg pdf: paula @norml.org.nz

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • poffa,

    I heard the interview on National Radio with the man from Police Intelligence. His arguement that drug consumers; are damaging their brains, using drugs because of some miss guided fad from the 60's that has gotten out of hand is fantsy in the extreme.
    That he can base intellegence on assertions such as these, that deny a history of thousands of years, have a view so narrow that he cannot see the art and works of beauty as altered brains wrestle with reality. Has he not heart of Kava, Quat and the stuff Yamono's blow up each others nose's.
    Drug use is as much a part of what makes us human as skin colour, sexual orientation and way we deal with different abilities. That it is controlled by the barons of alcohol and tabaco is of the same intellenge as the beliefsof its staff.

    auckland • Since Jun 2007 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Peter grower,

    Well I guess we all just have to accept that the police tell lies in regards to cannabis .................. It makes you wonder what else they spin and lie about.

    And they keep awfully quiet in regards to the drug that actually causes a crime wave every weekend in NZ ............... the booze. We all know the crimes that the drug booze has a hand in, crimes like street assult, pissed driving, domestic violence, rape etc etc.


    To quote from some Professors and Doctors who have been given the brush off by our politicians in regards to lowering the harms and costs that the drug booze causes in NZ

    ^^The truth is that alcohol is the most neurotoxic and carcinogenic of the 50 most commonest recreational drugs. It is also one of the most aggressigenic. But we have such an ingrained heavy-drugging (drinking) culture that the Government wont recognize the fundamental issue that alcohol is a drug, let alone a drug with such harmful properties that it would be banned if it was new today. The Government is clearly more than happy to continue to enable the excessive commercialization of alcohol for the foreseeable future .^^

    I'd like to ask, is it corruption that is stopping the Govt from forcing the booze industry to pay for the costs of their drug on NZ???.

    At present the Govt is protecting this legal drug industry from paying for the harms of their drug.

    Smells like corruption to me.

    Since Dec 2006 • 30 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Maybe Big Booze and Big Pharma can't stand competition? And long before it was picked up by the counterculture community, weed was Mexophobia-fied by the Hearst media barony.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5434 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    He's not the most modest person but he did challenge some very entrenched, ruthless and irrational powers in Academia when there wasn't a lot of support.

    Dutton is not the most modest person in the same way that ACT are not the most socialist politicians.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @ Rich

    Do they have further earthshattering discoveries to import.

    Major taxpayer funded study to reveal that marijuana is linked to sitting around and getting high?

    I think the original source for that article may have been theonion.com

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Maybe Big Booze and Big Pharma can't stand competition?

    I don't have much time for pot smokers - far to many of them are tediously addled losers from abusing the stuff and/or tend to make it the topic of their conversation at every opportunity.

    But I consider keeping the stuff illegal an affront to common sense and my particular bug bear is the massive public health win that would occur should we legalise pot then encourage people to get nailed via some sort of THC beer instead of smoking unfiltered marijuana (often mixed with unfiltered loose tobacco) and getting lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. We have a massive cultural bias against taking our drugs in any form other than in liquid form anyway, so why not drink it?

    I am of a view that legalising drugs is not going to be possible unless you propose to let someone make a profit out of it. Letting Lion-Nathan and Dominion Breweries make a product they can score a nice little earner from and you can buy at your local hole in the wall liquor store is the best way to get the booze barons smiling benignly upon the efforts of their political servants to legalise pot.

    Similarly, going to a government chemist to get your bikkies under the disapproving baleful glare of a white middle aged pharmacist is neither fun for the buyer or seller and with no profit motive everyone seems rather not want to bother, and instead seek the status and thrill of being well hooked up with their man.

    I have always thought that if a fraction of the treasure expended trying to prove that MDMA gives you Parkinsons/manic depression/Altzhiemers/holes in your brain had been spent on making it a safer legal substance the world would be a better place for it. If Pfizer could make big dollars from MDM brand x being fun and harmless, wouldn't they push for it's legalisation??

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    @ Tom

    I don't have much time for pot smokers - far to many of them are tediously addled losers from abusing the stuff and/or tend to make it the topic of their conversation at every opportunity

    I suggest Tom that the group you identify are a small proportion of all pot smokers - the great majority of whom will say nothing about it whatsoever, precisely because they are neither "addled" nor "abusers", and are well aware of the need to avoid aggravation from the law, from their employer, and indeed from people with views similar to yours.

    It would be helpful to move beyond the "tedious" caricature of the dreadlocked, Cannabus-driving self-styled marijuana activist (not that they don't have a point to make).

    Your second paragraph reveals an ignorance about the many ways in which cannabis can be and is enjoyed - a dirty splif is far from the default option.

    As for the profit motive, you do know cannabis is a plant, and that it's really easy to grow, right?

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • greenlove33,

    @Tom Jeez mate mildly insulted!! There are a lot of high functioning pot smokers out there who do not advertise their presence, just as with the great mass of highly functioning alcoholic professionals we have in New Zealand. A lot of successful creative people use the herb to wind down after a hard days work, or jam.

    However, I do see your point about stoners who make every conversation into a "why weed should be legalised" rant. There is nothing worse, especially if you totally agree with every point being made. But they still get shouted at you. Brings me down I tell ya.

    I've tended to move away from a "legalise cannabis" viewpoint to a "legalise, regulate and tax all currently illegal drugs", then spend the money on harm reduction and education. So I've moved to encompass a system change. Theres more to talk about with that model.

    I have to admit the Vietnamese indoor grow ops were an eye opener for me. Evidence please? Are their even enough Vietnamese immigrants in say Auckland to run a big enterprise like this? I doubt it. I am pretty sure it is a bit of hype imported from the UK where they genuinely do have big criminal undergound grow ops running with Vietnamese illegal immigrants. Seems like a little bit of hype to me maybe. Reads well and scares well.

    As far as SOG and Operation Lime, there genuinely are big criminal organisations in NZ that grow the evil weed and distribute it. But no, it wasn't the gardening store owner, I'd place a bet on a few of the larger gangs? Good work NZ Police, fail.

    Centered • Since Aug 2009 • 34 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    As for the profit motive, you do know cannabis is a plant, and that it's really easy to grow, right?

    Home brewing is easy to and New Zealand is one of the few places where owning a still isn't illegal, but drinkers hardly lay seige to DIY home brewing suppliers to make their own. Don't under estimate the power of convvenience and advertising.

    I suggest Tom that the group you identify are a small proportion of all pot smokers

    I have to disagree with you here. Sure, the Gen X crew in the leafy 'burbs might enjoy a spliff in the manner an Edwardian mght take a good cigar affter dinner. But generally speaking, pot is a heavily abused substance - something I put down to its illegal status. Nothing like illegality to encourage irresponsible and uneducated use. Legalising, educating,regulating and profi making is the way forward.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    There are a lot of high functioning pot smokers out there who do not advertise their presence, just as with the great mass of highly functioning alcoholic professionals we have in New Zealand.

    In terms of abuse, equating functioning pot smokers with alcoholics isn't such a good idea! Of course, getting completely nailed from shooting up with heroin twice a day doesn't stop people holding down good jobs - it is paying for the stuff that does. It doesn't sound like a particularly fun way of spending your life, but drinking two bottles of wine a night cos you are trapped in a job you hate and marriage you'd rather not be in is a pretty depressing prospect as well.

    Cheap heroin would probably mean heroin addicts would at least keep payingtheir taxes.

    I do take your point, but one of the core conumdrums of the drug debate is that articulate middle class supporters of legalisation have a very bad habit of extrapolating from their (very privileged and untypical) particular to the general, without having the foggiest idea of bleakness that is the wider drug abuse scene. That is when they collide head long into enforcement and health agencies, whose familiarity with the downside of drugs usually makes these frontline agencies strong advocates of continuing prohibition.

    I am in favour of legalisation not because I have any hippy illusions about the world being a better place for mind altering experiences, but because I think the utilitarian argument is overwealmingly in favour of legalisation.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Ignorant fucks, regardless of class, have always tended to extrapolate from within their own little pockets of pig-ignorance.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    lol... all it takes is a skewed moral compass to turn otherwise intelligent people articulately dumb.

    I've spent decades amongst all socio-economic levels, all types of substance use and abuse. Its not the lower levels who are murdering the rational debate, its the others who think they will be some sort of losers under a legally regulated (honest) system.

    edit: oh.. and often the boozers too, who don't want to hear or accept that alcohol is a drug.

    Not that I'd deny any adult their plonky habit, but I'm nowdays leery of them, having once worked in a bar.

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

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