Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: pretty good so far

33 Responses

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  • Shane Le Brun,

    I think driving lower consumption via legalization is a bit of a failed policy objective, however, driving lower rates of problematic use is far more achievable.

    A bright line test of 35% or 40% and above for products to become concentrates would do well, without outlawing them completely. For parallels with alcohol, nz has a problem, but not a problem with absinthe, ensuring potent products remain legal, but top shelf low volume products could reduce criminality further.

    If product groups are outlawed completely, people will take to cooking them up at home, with dangerous consequences. I have met a “Crispy critter” who failed to ventilate while purging butane from a concentrate, horrifc scarring.

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    All of this would be fine the Government had actually passed the legislation and the referendum was going to be a binding one after which the new legislation would come into force. But it isn't. And it seems pretty likely at least for the time being that National will just cancel the entire exercise if it forms the Government after the next election.

    So - there is a very real probability that a lot of people are going to invest their time, money and energy into something that won't happen at all.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    I think driving lower consumption via legalization is a bit of a failed policy objective, however, driving lower rates of problematic use is far more achievable.

    Agreed. A slight increase in overall incidence in exchange for a substantial reduction in overall harm is a reasonable expectation. But that's a harder sell.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Chiles, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Anyone who wants to get this across the line has to not vote National even if that is who they usually vote for. If you are a cannabis user user and you vote National next year you are jeopardizing possible law reform and you are a traitor to the cause.

    Paraparaumu • Since Dec 2019 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Mike Chiles,

    Yes, and vice versa of course for Labour voters who really don't want cannabis legalised. I wonder how many people will actually cast their votes on this basis? My pick is, not many. It certainly hasn't helped the Greens in the past. I am pretty confident that National will have focus-grouped and polled this issue intensively before deciding to come out so aggressively against it. Maybe they hope to pick up some NZ First voters too.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 125 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott, in reply to Nick Russell,

    It would be possible to vote 'no' in the referendum, and vote for someone other than National, correct? :)

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    ...anyone insisting that the tightly-regulated regime this bill describes would be more harmful than the completely unregulated status quo needs to read the damn thing again.

    I think they just need to read that sentence again, tbh.

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    (assuming retail prices are set around those in the current black market) of $150 to $200

    I hope its lower than that!
    $100 for 14g seems more reasonable to me

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    So I can grow my own in my old age, but can I buy seeds?

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    So I can grow my own in my old age, but can I buy seeds?

    Yes, assuming they follow through on the Cabinet paper's recommendations, from a licensed supplier of seeds. And supposedly only from such a supplier. This is another hard-to-police thing: you're hardly going to stop people saving and sharing their own.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    So I can grow my own in my old age, but can I buy seeds?

    This is the most interesting part. Regulated, and completely not at all, really.

    Your main concern will be keeping it out of reach...

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But, heavily regulated for marketing.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I wonder how many people will even bother to grow from seeds with a 2 plant limit. Around half of your plants that even manage to germinate will be the wrong sex and not useful. But if you clone your own plants then you will probably be in violation of the plant number limits.

    But I expect it will quickly become as irrelevant as the laws around growing tobacco.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Mind you the casual home grower might not want big volume and low potency male plants might be a feature rather than a bug. A more likely problematic outcome for the careless gardener is forgetting to even harvest and finding dozens of plants in the garden the following year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’m honestly not sure what this is supposed to achieve, or what actual harm would be done by allowing people to see what they’re buying.

    Yes this has me stumped too. I guess they are saying it should not be easily visible to passers by or accidental visitors to the shop who did not know that was what the shop was for (which the law sets up as a likely outcome, since by being unable to advertise you also can't warn people off). But presumably upon request to purchase cannabis the ability to then inspect it is sensible. Yes, I know you probably don't inspect your tobacco before buying it (although smelling a cigar before you buy it is not uncommon), but they didn't legislate against inspecting it, because the bad effect on quality is likely.

    I mean maybe in a mass produced market of the future like what tobacco is now, then buying in prepackaged boxes from 4 major chains and knowing what you'll get every time is where things will go. But on the way there is going to be a phase where smaller suppliers that can't necessarily be trusted are operating. In such cases, you have to inspect produce.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Green, in reply to BenWilson,

    You can grow quite a large amount of cannabis with just two plants - especially outdoors. With feminized seeds, or even seeds from hermaphrodite pollinated plants, you can avoid issues with males as well. Ideally, you would want to germinate many, and then pick the best, but that strategy will definitely skirt the regulatory line. Not sure how low potency males would be a feature though? Overall, these regulations are draconian in my opinion and yes, let's hope they quickly become irrelevant and far more lenient.

    washington dc • Since Dec 2019 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Ideally, you would want to germinate many, and then pick the best, but that strategy will definitely skirt the regulatory line.

    Yes, I think the law should be amended to define what is a plant and it should not include seedlings and little clones (a maximum height seems like an easily measurable system). Otherwise it is unworkable and people will break it and the cops will have to enforce a stupid law.

    Not sure how low potency males would be a feature though?

    Some people just prefer it less potent, and don't have large appetites. It's a way of making sure you don't get too high. Once the law isn't making people try to minimize the size of what they're carrying to hide it from police I don't personally think uber-potency will continue to be the selling point it was under prohibition. People drink beer and spirits, even though spirits is obviously more convenient for bootleggers and sly groggers. In a sane consumption environment (ie after prohibition, hopefully only a short time from now), the use of it could become less grossly about who is the blazedest, and a lot more about tastes, styles, deliberate low consumption, safe pleasant consumption environments etc.

    Overall, these regulations are draconian in my opinion and yes, let's hope they quickly become irrelevant and far more lenient.

    I think they will. If they're needed to get the reeferendum over the line, then I'm good with them. But would it hurt to get some minor details like the definition of a plant not including a twig with a tiny leaf on it, or a seed with some emerging roots? These things could be accidentally overlooked in a garden. I've got adventitious tomatoes everywhere in mine, and I can't recognize them until they form a couple of leaves. Ironically, too, tobacco is an annoying weed that is almost impossible to eradicate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Green,

    You can grow quite a large amount of cannabis with just two plants - especially outdoors.

    Not in all seasons, though. So you can't get a continual harvest, and you're not allowed to store large amounts of dried product without a license. So producing entirely for yourself, entirely legally, would probably require an indoor setup if you use a lot. But we are still talking about a LOT. We don't know average consumption for a general population in NZ under post-prohibition conditions, but I'd be amazed if it's much more than occasional use. Growing for personal use would probably end up like home brewing, a niche hobby, barely worth it from a financial perspective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to BenWilson,

    But on the way there is going to be a phase where smaller suppliers that can’t necessarily be trusted are operating. In such cases, you have to inspect produce.

    Mind you, section 48 requires harm and ingredients messaging to be on all packaging. Unless there is no packaging, I don't really see how selling raw produce like in a fruit shop is even tenable. I guess any bag you give the customer has to have a message on it, and list the ingredients (presumably "Contains 100% cannabis plant material"), or they have to bring their own bag. That could end up being the work around? The "delivery" will literally involve spooning it out of a container into your own bag, so the customer can't help but see the produce?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Just spotted an amusing flaw in the no-advertising aspects:

    52 Premises must have signs displaying opening hours
    The holder of a consumption premises licence or a retail premises licence must
    ensure that for each principal entrance to the premises there is displayed at all
    times a sign attached to the inside or outside of the premises, so as to be easily
    read by people immediately outside the entrance, stating the ordinary hours of
    business during which the premises are open for the sale of cannabis products
    or, as the case may be, the consumption of cannabis.
    53 Licences to be displayed in premises
    The holder of a consumption premises licence or a retail premises licence must
    ensure that at all times a copy of the licence, together with a statement of all
    conditions subject to which it is issued, is displayed—
    (a) attached to the inside of the premises concerned; and
    (b) so as to be easily read by people entering each principal entrance.

    Pretty hard to see how a sign in the window saying when they are open for the sale of cannabis isn't a sign visible to the public saying they sell cannabis. So they are both prohibited from this sign, and also required to show it.

    This has to be fixed. No brainer.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    As a baker and a gardener I look forward to more interesting recipes and time in the garden.

    I’d be hoping one of the outcomes of the changed supply dynamics might be a lowering of price and something more like the craft beer market where you can select from a range of terribly executed brand ideas.

    The obvious answer to all the politicians is to lie back and think of the taxes and lower crime rates. Less wasted time ( no pun intended but I’ll take it) around legal process etc.

    Anyone who is curious about how Prohibition really works do have a look at that Ken Burns series on Netflix which shows the real world effects of poorly thought out laws.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 366 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    This is definitely a huge step forward in harm prevention in many ways.

    I have a couple of concerns.

    There’s been some comment that this will have a negative effect on gangs. That’s unlikely. The gangs have already moved into the manuka honey black market – a legal, rural product which has a very high added value medicinal range. Much like marijuana will be. They’ll continue to poach, coerce and intimidate to get a product they can then trade for P and its precursors which they then sell into their own communities.

    The other is the govt really does need to start properly funding acute mental health and addiction services as they have promised. Stop with this 12,000 new mental health workers sleight of hand. It’s 12,000 possible places in a one day workshop. That’s fine for what it is but it is not training mental health workers.

    Since Nov 2016 • 356 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    But the bill also appears to require that no customer is allowed to see (let alone, say, smell) any cannabis until they have purchased it and it is being “delivered” (ie: handed) to them. I’m honestly not sure what this is supposed to achieve, or what actual harm would be done by allowing people to see what they’re buying.

    Yes this has me stumped too.

    Thats easy, it’s so deregulation will be popular in a couple of years time.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to steven crawford,

    Reverse psychology? That might just work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    Specifically, there needs to a substantial concurrent increase in mental health funding for areas which deal with the mental health issues associated with marijuana.

    A small number of people develop drug induced psychosis from use and those with a psychotic disorder most often get a lot worse. The most at risk appear to overlooked.

    The early intervention teams - the community based teams that target ask risk young people - are already massively under resourced and it just keeps getting worse.

    Since Nov 2016 • 356 posts Report Reply

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