Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Modelling Behaviour

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  • Chip Matthews,

    I didn't watch the whole debate last night as much as I did want to, but the slightly sledging-takin the piss outta opposition type approach actually turned me off.

    But my concern with regards to Duncan and his trying of Juicy Puff last week, was that there was no sense of a "control-group" type assessment. As in, was, or is Duncan a user of Marijuana? Does he have any prior knowledge/experience of the possible effect through personal use? Did he have "any" sort of constitution that could skew it either way, meaning getting waaaaay too "stoned"...or, feeling bugger all of it. To me, it was more an ad for his show, over being an actual test of the product. That's just me, tho.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Chip Matthews,

    turned me off

    same.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Thanks for the thoughtful post Russell. I have mixed views about the debate. Bloody pleased with the final vote, naturally, but bottom line the drug policy debate is a lot more nuanced than that format allows (or any format that pitches one side against the other). There's likely to be a lot more common ground to be found if we can move beyond the polarised positioning.

    Having said all that, I love the PA readership and hereby invite you all to critique my contribution last night. I would really appreciate any feedback.

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Bloody pleased with the final vote, naturally, but bottom line the drug policy debate is a lot more nuanced than that format allows

    Indeed. In a perfect world I'd have preferred to vote "Yes" to:

    Should the carefully regulated sale of cannabis (and possibly some other cannabinoids) be permitted, while the supply of other synthetic cannabinoids is prohibited on evidence-based public health grounds, without criminalising end-users?

    But that would have been a tad long ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    Didn't see it. Sounds like an interesting approach. I chuckled the first time I encountered the synthetic stuff in a head shop one day. "What the hell's that?"

    "Oh" the guy said. "Doesn't show up in urine tests. So guys who get sampled at work quite like it. Truckers, pilots, cops, ambulance drivers, that kind of stuff."

    Blimey. How much of that's going on?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Wayne Poutua is clearly a good man who helps young people who really need help – but when he agreed that kids using cannabis needed care not criminalisation, yet insisted that the possession of cannabis should remain a criminal offence, I couldn’t understand his argument.

    Well, actually, I can. It’s a view that the role of the law is to say “It’s not okay”. And certainly, the least harmful approach to psychoactive drugs is to not take them at all. But when the criminal law actually inflicts further harm, what do you do?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    He rolled (badly) a large joint

    I would have watched it just for that teehee!

    shot glass in hand.

    Shouldn't that be a case/carton of Woodies
    'cause thats an average consumption while sittin' on your arse in front of the tele
    watching spewort Isnt it? I dunno But its not about that is it!
    'xcuse me! Or as Bender would say 'Kiss my shiny metal arse'

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Well, actually, I can. It's a view the the role of the law is to say "It's not okay".

    Are you saying you agree that a law that is criminalises certain behaviour, but which you don't want police to enforce is acceptable, or unacceptable, if that law "sends a message" about harmful or potentially harmful behaviour?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Are you saying you agree that a law that is criminalises certain behaviour, but which you don’t want police to enforce is acceptable, or unacceptable, if that law “sends a message” about harmful or potentially harmful behaviour?

    Not at all! I'm seeking to understand the thinking of people who do regard the purpose of the law as "sending a message" but don't seem to accept the consequences of criminalisation.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Not at all!

    I probably asked that question in a slightly confusing way, so did you mean:

    Not at all acceptable?

    Or not at all unacceptable?

    :-P

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Aw. I need to watch the rest of it. Wasn't in the mood for the style.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Duncan tells me Hall does use his own products, but in oral, rather than smokable form

    Did wonder if there are less damaging ways than smoking to ingest these new substances - much like decriminalising the real thing would allow vaporisers and suchlike to help reduce harm.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Chris,

    I suspect there's rather a lot of contrived hysteria over synthetic cannabis. Tried some a few months ago. Apart from the taste the effect was indistinguishable from natural cannabis - which, I might add, I rarely partake of these days.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2012 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I probably asked that question in a slightly confusing way, so did you mean:

    Not at all acceptable?

    Or not at all unacceptable?

    :-P

    Neither. I was just imagining what someone else would think. Generalising on my own part would be a different matter.

    I do think in terms of cannabis law, “sending a signal” not to do something 80% of young people do is manifestly ineffective, even if you think it’s an appropriate signal. And that the criminalisation of such a common and relatively benign behaviour causes more harm than good.

    There are drugs whose sale I would prohibit on public safety grounds, but I would avoid criminalising their possession and use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    I saw the show - and voted - Duncan's woeful team were easily outclassed by Guyan's.

    Duncan's stunt with the Juicy Puff was embarrassing., It wasn't debate , just TV showmanship , ie bullshit.
    What was interesting was the slightly hysterical tone from Duncan's "No" team , a;ll emotive blah blah, Which was really disappointing because I was really up for hearing some real arguments - and evidence - against synthetic cannabis not just hysterical "its turning our youth into psychos" , man I have heard that shit before .

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    You'd go a long way to find a more honest and straight up fellow IMHO than Grant Hall and I thought he did a good job with handling Duncan Garner's badgering. The saddest thing about that was some of my friends in the audience came away with the view our leading MSM is full of utter dickheads.

    To my mind it was a pity the debate was limited to the self-styled "soft" drugs, because the whole sorry story of the rise and rise of methamphetamine in New Zealand is the same as the one of synthetic cannabis - substitution of a more harmful substance (P for MDMA, synthetic for "natural") when police action causes the shutting down of the preferred supply lines. Every police "victory" over MDMA importers or local cannabis growers is a defeat for the wider health of our society.

    Mind you, I imagine any attempt to discuss class B drugs with Mike Sabin would be hopeless. Just BTW, isn't his daughter an TV3 news reporter?

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

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Yeah, nah...
    what was I doing again?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But that would have been a tad long …

    Because the public are too stupid to understand a nuanced and complex issue?????

    As a scientist we get hammered if we ever treat the public like idiots, and rightly so. If someone is not interested fine, but if they are interested it is part of our job to take the time to explain as best we can … at least until their eyes glaze over.

    My problem with entertainment like The Vote is precisely that it treats the public like idiots who can only vote on the simplest presentation of an issue.

    The public are adults, they can and want to, consider nuances and grey areas. Why not actually present a complex issue and then ask a complex question, instead we have a complex issue and a simplistic question.

    And just a minor point, when reporting the results of The Vote on the 6 pm news, perhaps it would be more honest to note that xx% of people who bothered to vote thought … That is somewhat different from xx% of New Zealanders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The public are adults, they can and want to, consider nuances and grey areas. Why not actually present a complex issue and then ask a complex question...

    Because someone, somewhere, might change channels.

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

  • Jolisa,

    A flashback to the original "do you stand by your product and would you consume it on air" stunt (although that one was voluntary, on behalf of the cunning stuntman at least; not so much his junior sidekick).

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Adamson, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Hi Ross. I thought you made the most sensible comments of the evening. However I've got to be honest and say that I felt pretty uncomfortable seeing colleagues (you and Jeremy McMinn) being somewhat captured by the oppositional style of the debate - under normal circumstances I can't imagine you allowing to stand unchallenged the misinformation that "synthetic cannabis" is a cannabinoid, as stated by your team-mate Grant Hall, for example. It's a really important point that these chemicals are completely different and therefore we know very little about their effects. Something I know you know.

    The debate also frustrated me with it's confusion of decriminalisation and legalisation. It was supposedly about the former but most of the discussion seemed to be focussed on the latter with no attempt to make the distinction. These are very different issues. Do I want our law to stop criiminalising cannabis use (decriminalisation) - I certainly do. Do I want a cannabis industry in the style of our alcohol industry (legalisation) - I most certainly do not.

    In the end though I think the programme did air some worthwhile issues and shed a bit of light on things, but there's definitely room for more reasoned (and yes, probably less watched) handling of this issue.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    So, if passing this law, the psychoactive substances bill, does that mean someone could ask the “Authorataay” to test some actual cannabis and reassure us that taking it is, indeed, “Low Risk”
    Personally I think playing Rugby has a higher risk in terms of brain damage and as for drinking copious quantities of high fructose corn syrup and eating bags of chips, well…

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    So, if passing this law, the psychoactive substances bill, does that mean someone could ask the “Authorataay” to test some actual cannabis and reassure us that taking it is, indeed, “Low Risk”

    I am not a lawyer, nor have I read the bill itself... but judging from what I've read here and a few other places...

    First of all...

    You dont ask the "Authority" to do any testing. You provide them with your testing results, for them to examine and authenticate. Assuming your results are not fabricated, the main difference would be who does the organising and paying...


    Secondly...

    It used to work like this.... "items on list X are illegal" items not on list X can be sold legally because we havent banned them.

    New rule... 'items on list X are still illegal", items not on list X can be tested at your expense and if you can prove to us they are not harmful, we'll let you sell them.

    You may well be able to test items on list X and show they are not harmful, but they'll still be illegal because they are on the list.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 893 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Catch 22 all over again
    What nonsense.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Doesn't NZ have product labelling laws?
    Marijuana is a plant, part of the larger set of naturally grown products, which contains varying levels of naturally occurring psychoactive cannabinoid compounds.
    Synthetic Cannabis uses chemicals to emulate the same effects, (as I understand it) but it is a constructed/manufactured substance how do the makers and sellers get away with not listing the chemical contents?
    I have found the packaging for various brands of synthetic cannabis on the streets of Shirley, they don't seem to have any indication of chemical content on them.
    Surely no list, no selling for consumption - or is it considered intellectual and proprietary property ?
    Even alcohol states how much of the active ingredient is contained in each bottle/dose, maybe not so much about other additives, flavouring or adulterants, though.
    (not sure about cigarette packets I'll check the next one I see in the gutter, though the gory pictures put me off).

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7944 posts Report Reply

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