Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Shots Fired

23 Responses

  • Dennis Frank,

    Excellent report, thanks Russell. I'm waiting to see who will be driving the design of the referendum, how the parties in parliament will collaborate on that design (or not), how public input will be called for, etc.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    I'm waiting to see who will be driving the design of the referendum, how the parties in parliament will collaborate on that design (or not), how public input will be called for, etc.

    Heh. You're not the only one waiting for that :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    I happened to be living in Colorado when legalisation happened, and I can report first hand that civilised society did not come to an end. My experience of legalised recreation sales was: 1) It was tightly regulated 2) It was cheap 3) It was lucrative for the state.

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Francisco Blaha,

    Interestingly the Uruguay model, a country whose population and primary products based economy is very similar to NZ, does not get discussed. Since its implementation, it wiped out the black market, by offering lower prices and standardization in quality.

    Since Dec 2006 • 18 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Francisco Blaha,

    Interestingly the Uruguay model, a country whose population and primary products based economy is very similar to NZ, does not get discussed. Since its implementation, it wiped out the black market, by offering lower prices and standardization in quality.

    Good point. Although there are a few differences between there and here. Quality was much more of an issue in Uruguay as I understand it, with a lot of bad, adulterated weed coming in from Paraguay. The government was also the monopoly producer and supplier of hard liquor for most of last century, so there was a precedent for a state weed monopoly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    "As high as 95% (THC)..." "deaths from cannabis..."

    I'd have to say, Bob McCoskrie is still a fucking idiot.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    But almost as important is the fact that the question did not explicitly seek such a repeal. It was ambiguous; it begged an opinion without actually proposing an action.

    It would have been odd for the question to seek repeal. The question for the referendum and proceess for holding it started well before the law was passed.

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

  • Peter Darlington,

    Was surprised the other 2 didn't pick up on McCoskrie's continuing referral to successful anti-smoking campaigns as providing a guide as to how we might tackle lowering drug demand and use. He seemed to be missing the logic that anti-smoking campaigns only work because smoking is legal so companies and the product can be targeted around tax, plain packaging etc...

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    There was a really good long read (somewhere, but damned if I can remember) about Portugal's experience. Really clear that they were desperate to find a better way than having people dying on then streets. Really honest about what they got right and more importantly what they didn't get right and would like to change.

    I think that's a really important part of this - we really need a system that allows for change as we figure out what works well in NZ and what doesn't. Too often we establish a law and then leave no ability to modify it as we learn.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    It would have been odd for the question to seek repeal. The question for the referendum and proceess for holding it started well before the law was passed.

    Fair enough, I did puzzle over how to phrase it. Would "didn't seek a specific legislative outcome" be closer?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think that’s a really important part of this – we really need a system that allows for change as we figure out what works well in NZ and what doesn’t. Too often we establish a law and then leave no ability to modify it as we learn.

    I agree strongly with this. I'd be happy enough with a fairly conservative change to allow us to see what happens – and with the potential for further reform clearly signalled.

    This, to an extent, is what's happened in other jurisdictions. Colorado authorities realised they had a problem with the way edibles had hit the market, and the Canadian government has been frank about wanting to monitor the initial reforms before allowing commercial edibles, concentrates and vapes. (The vape ban does seem ill-advised and wouldn't make sense under NZ Smokefree regulations.)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    He seemed to be missing the logic that anti-smoking campaigns only work because smoking is legal

    An excellent point. In my defence, there were a lot of claims that needed addressing in 11 minutes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    Thanks for this. I have been quite skeptical about legalising cannabis, because smoking pot is a dumb thing to do IMO, but after listening to Chloe v Bob, I've changed my mind. I still think it's a dumb thing to do, but treating it as a health issue rather than a crime will very likely minimise harm, as she suggests. Bob's argument is about as effective as one of those laughable, 1950s era anti-pot films we were shown in high school.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 258 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 121 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Russell Brown,

    An excellent point. In my defence, there were a lot of claims that needed addressing in 11 minutes.

    Oh for sure, I was pointing out my surprise that neither Chloe or Corin jumped in & hit him up about it during the broadcast. Seemed to be one gaping hole (of many) in McCoskrie's logic.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 948 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    But I think he has a point about big marijuana, everything in this country has been moving away from small, local and sustainable for donkeys years. I think it's going to be a bloody battle to see who controls the pot. There are rich people already setting up shop and selling shares in the shop, on the legislative gamble that they can hold the license to dispense.

    https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/309107/tobacco-industry-pushes-for-crackdown-on-home-growers

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to william blake,

    But I think he has a point about big marijuana, everything in this country has been moving away from small, local and sustainable for donkeys years. I think it’s going to be a bloody battle to see who controls the pot.

    The Drug Foundation's model policy provides some good direction, oriented towards smaller, local businesses, completely separated from liquor and tobacco retailers and with a health structure built-in. The last thing we want to do is regulate like alcohol.

    There are rich people already setting up shop and selling shares in the shop, on the legislative gamble that they can hold the license to dispense.

    Yes. I'm quite sure the likes of Helius are getting into medicinal cannabis with an eye on a later recreational market.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hi Russell, I’d missed that Matters of Substance story on the nature of a referendum question, but I was struck reading it by the overriding emphasis on a single question around e.g. "a specific proposal as an alternative to the status quo" most likely already "drafted and passed by the House" perhaps following a consultation process similar to Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly that – in light of Chlöe Swarbrick’s comments on the need for "an innovative approach" in the run-up to a vote, there’s a case to be made for reversing that process and instead enhancing the democratic nature of the referendum and making better use of paper with not one binary choice but a series of questions along the lines of the 2016 Curia poll, in order that a more representative bill might then be custom-drafted and passed – under a ‘not if but when’ proviso. Likely entailing a lead up more focused on educating the general public en masse as to terminology - evidence - offshore models.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    One part of this debate that could do with a bit more attention is the effect of drug use on acute health services. Emergency Departments and acute mental health services are now regularly turned into battle zones by people high on various substances, placing many people at risk of serious harm - both staff and patients.

    Marijuana doesn’t cause anywhere near the same level of violence as meth but it does exacerbate psychosis in a small number of people which can lead to violence (often in perceived self defense related to paranoia).

    There are issues of responsibility and risk which health professionals are increasingly having to navigate through that need urgent clarification.

    Recent articles in The Herald regarding a tragedy involving a drug fuelled crime and contact with mental health services is an example of the sort of demonising of health services and staff that can happen as a result of the current fog.

    Health workers should also be protected as part of any harm minimisation policy.

    Since Nov 2016 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • Northshoreguynz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Pretty sure it was The Spinoff.

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2014 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    One thing to remember about Bob M is that there are some very easy ways to call his bluff. Namely, these
    (i) Relevant qualifications: Bob's tertiary qualifications are in accountancy and tax policy. Now, I have no doubt that this means excellent fiscal discipline within Family First, but these aren't applicable skills when it comes to pharmacology, toxicology, botany and relevant scientific disciplines in the context of the cannabis debate. Simply find someone with a strategically relevant skill set and use them for rebuttal
    (ii) Based on my experience with Bob during several LGBT debates, what he tends to do is parrot US Christian Right pressure groups when it comes to rhetoric, tactics and strategy. For "US Christian Right', read populist US social conservative anti-drug organisations, but the same applies in this context.
    (iii) In which case, providing rebuttal is easy, Merely look up the source Bob's citing, see if there are any rebuttals from high-profile professionals within peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals, or statements from US professional associations that contradict him.

    Finally, yeah, he may well have been able to mobilise opponents of Section 59 repeal a decade ago, but much metaphorical water has passed under the bridge since then. He's lost repeatedly when it comes to prostitution laws, LGBT concerns and women's reproductive rights. Take the simple steps above and you can easily outflank him.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 566 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun,

    the one thing with small business versus big cannabis is costs to implement quality control and economies of scale. without export, nz companies could only thrive in the medical space with economies of scale from a rec market.
    For this reason I support a model that is big cannabis, but separates the producers from the retail outlets

    Since Mar 2015 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    Shane, you’re model as you described it there, is very profit oriented. Would promotional advertising be involved?

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4310 posts Report Reply

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