Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Greens' pretty good new drug policy

33 Responses

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  • Rob S,

    Are we as a country capable of having an adult conversation about drugs, their harms and all the other nuance in regard of them.
    Not just pot but A class to alcohol.
    Even more so can our politicians?
    A referendum perhaps as guidance would need to be held and the issues involved have to be looked at rationally with the merits of various forms of control acknowledged.

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    I strongly believe that if cannabis is to be allowed for personal use there must be some form of regulation and taxation - i.e. it should be legalised and controlled

    Part of me also thinks this is a quarter acre dream policy - we're not all gardeners... nor want to be (same goes with brewing)

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 539 posts Report Reply

  • Scott G,

    There are, however, a couple of issues the party will find it hard to resolve: most notably its frequent reference to the Psychoactive Substances Act as a model, when that act is currently kneecapped by an animal testing ban

    I'm interested to know more about this RB. What's the issue with animal testing?

    Since Mar 2016 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Scott G,

    I'm interested to know more about this RB. What's the issue with animal testing?

    I'm writing a separate post about it right now, because it's interesting. I meant to have it all covered in this one, but unfortunately the sore throat and headache I've been fending off for a couple of days has fully manifested and rather impacted my productivity.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • chris fowlie,

    You probably thought the Greens already wanted to free the weed, right? Not lately. The current policy offers only to prioritise enforcement elsewhere and (as a “long term goal”)

    The old policy said this under Medium Term Steps:

    Introduce a legal age limit of 18 years for personal cannabis use.
    Define in law the limits on growing cannabis for personal use.

    Despite calling for adult use and cultivation to be made legal, the old policy (which I helped Nandor write back in 1999) was deliberately conservative. I agree the latest version is pretty good but it still seems conservative given the polls and what's been happening overseas. I wish they had taken a position on what form the markets should take for adult use. Surely we're at the point when we can debate the merits of cannabis clubs or dispensaries compared to govt grown etc. Canada's approach looks set to hand the entire market to a few large corporations with no right to grow your own.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris fowlie,

    The old policy said this under Medium Term Steps:

    I stand corrected. In my defence, I'm sick.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7902 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    "Education will be provided on the harmful e ects (sic) of heavy and prolonged usage," (get well soon R.)

    The " truth" will be available in all schools. Haha.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Rob S,

    Are we as a country capable of having an adult conversation about drugs, their harms and all the other nuance in regard of them.
    Not just pot but A class to alcohol.

    In the distant past , a group of "libertarians" tried to have a conversation about this ; it blew the blog to smithereens. Yours truly was partly responsible.
    Education(about drugs) was to the fore :-

    https://libertygibbert.com/2010/10/31/libertarianism-and-drug-liberalization/#comment-13344

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    Invariably the “sticking” point in regard to substance liberalisation centres around – “what about the children? ”
    Usually the answer given is “education”, which does not, today , mean what the etymology of the word might suggest . There is schooling and there is education.


    ” . . . a robust foundation of creative and practical work to bring balance and harmony to the developing child, from which intellectual knowledge and understanding could naturally arise.
    Perhaps Thoreau said it most matter-of-factly, in his little diatribe on the effectiveness of a curriculum in which hand-work and head-work are deeply, and meaningfully integrated:

    “But,” says one, “you do not mean that the students should go work with their hands instead of their heads?”
    I do not mean that exactly, but I mean something which he might think a good deal like that; I mean that they should not play life, or study it merely, while the community supports them at this expensive game, but earnestly live it from beginning to end.

    How could youths better learn to live than by at once trying the experiment of living? . . . .Which would have advanced the most at the end of a month,—the boy who had made his own jackknife from the ore which he had dug and smelted, reading as much as would be necessary for this, – or the boy who had attended the lectures on metallurgy at the Institute in the mean while, and had received a Rogers’ penknife from his father? ”
    (Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854)

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green,

    The passage above was lifted from this discussion of Karl Ege's book An Evident Need of our Times :-

    https://lilipoh.com/articles/a-need-still-evident-karl-ege-and-the-future-of-education/

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    I was an active contributor to the revision & was pleasantly surprised by how the process developed. We performed major surgery on Kevin Hague's language & phraseology but his plan was a sound basis upon which to proceed. Fair to say the product became more staunch than the basis!

    Back in '91 I became convenor of the GP justice policy working group, inheriting the first draft from the initial convenor who had just resigned, and discovered there was nothing re marijuana in the policy. "Typical leftist wimps", I thought in disgust, and promptly wrote a new draft declaring that the Greens would decriminalise cannabis and proceeded to drive it through the consensus process. Once I got regional support, I took the draft to NORML to see if they thought it suitable, met Nandor (who a few years ago confirmed to me that it was the genesis of his involvement with the Greens). I was quite amused to discover that nobody now thinks decriminalisation sufficient - back then everyone was busy rejecting our original hippie legalisation stance from 45 years ago in order to present the Greens as compromisers (not radicals). Full circle, eh?

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Full circle, eh?

    What was the stance on minors back then? It seems to me that this has never been satisfactorily addressed.
    Even now , it is still possible to ask , quite reasonably, how is this going to work for the non-adult, who seem to be the only at-risk group.
    I am assuming that the question of substance abuse by those with mental issues is another topic altogether. Or is it?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Farmer Green,

    There wasn't one. You're right that the issue hasn't been dealt with properly, but that's because all the people with experience are unable to speak publicly from that position. If a law change provides them with freedom of speech, public discourse will acquire an unprecedented semblance of balance.

    Mind-altering drugs are potentially harmful to anyone with a vulnerable mind. Children are the most vulnerable group, closely followed by those with a marginal grasp on reality. We can't stop either bunch experimenting, due to freedom of choice. Damage will always be done.

    There's a reason humanity always used natural hallucinogens: the world gets a lot more interesting! Subtle dimensions of our collective reality that were not apparent get revealed to users. The downside is delusional thinking, of course, and users with sociopathic inclinations always dramatised that. There is such a thing as natural magic but there's also the black. Shamanism seems mostly to use the former but voodoo the latter. The upside of a sophisticated approach to drug usage is empowerment, insight, wisdom - the downside is mind control (a la Manson) & mass psychosis (Jonestown).

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    unable to speak publicly

    So an uninformed , disinformed , disinterested , or fearful majority of the public will not encourage law change, and so politicians will act accordingly to maintain approval.
    It's quite an opposing force to overcome if the harm of the present situation is to be reduced.
    Presumably , for the public , current levels of abuse, and the consequences of that abuse , are tolerable.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Exactly, and that's been the situation most of our lives. But now polls show a majority favouring legalisation, the Greens are blowing with this wind, and those stuck in the rut look increasingly out of touch with the zeitgeist.

    Political logic says parties most in accord with most voters prosper - let's see if it happens, or if "it's the economy, stupid" prevails again.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    parties most in accord with most voters prosper

    Yes , but assuming a political party has this one particular (drugs) policy “in accord with most”, then it is their other policies, which are not “in accord with most” , which are preventing them from being in a position to achieve much or any (depending on the electoral system) of their policies.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank, in reply to Farmer Green,

    That's been the case, but it's a perception/reality thing. Business as usual only perpetuates as mass psychology because it has been the source of employment. That paradigm seems increasingly unsustainable. Once the shift starts there's a good chance voters will act like pebbles in a landslide.

    My problem with the Greens is that they present as too mainstream. Green policies are largely sensible. Fear of a non-oil-based economy is reasonable enough but people did learn to live outside caves. Adapt or die...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    [business as usual . . .perpetuates as mass psychology] only because it has been the source of employment.

    There might be other reasons , e.g. people might be inherently conservative , and tolerant of no more than incremental change.
    That is , tolerant of incremental change up until the point where the people have nothing to lose , and will therefore risk radical change .
    If Green poicies were perceived as sensible by the majority, the degree of change required to implement those policies might still be seen as too radical.
    I’m not sure what the raison d’etre of the Green party was , as perceived by its founders, let alone what it stands for now.
    To legislate for sustainability , possibly?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Not just that. It was created to serve as the political representative of the green movement - no doubt the current parliamentary reps feel they're doing that but I'd only partially agree. Some founders thought they were transforming the residue of the Values Party into something more viable, but since several political groups amalgamated that too is merely partially true. Best way to grasp the raison d'etre is to examine & ponder the four principles of the green charter (see GP website).

    They were imported from the German Greens and lack the requisite spiritual principle - an omission which the activists here proved too thick to rectify. I'd also incorporate a principle of equity, and another that articulates the commons (public ownership as counter-balance to private). Seven is the magic number, as tradition tells us. Too bad mainstream complacency will prevent them getting that clever...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Canada's legalisation task force has delivered its report:

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22763 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    Emery's experience replicates my own. When I got a job making television commercials in Sydney in '76 I bought a white Rover V8 3.5l with scarlet leather upholstery and a turbocharger button on the floor that got me across an intersection when the lights went green before any other car started moving. Drove high much of the time, never caused an accident.

    It tuned me into the traffic flow, so I always ended up in the right place by instinct. I put it down to some kind of leftbrain/rightbrain coordination that bypassed conscious thought. You know how you fell off a bike as a kid whenever you tried to pedal consciously? Logic proves a total screw-up in many practical situations.

    However we must not forget the immense cultural divide between those who sharpened up after getting high, and those who got stoned (as in acting like their brain had gelled into concrete). Mostly it seemed generational - those born in the forties who created the avante garde, and those born in the fifties who just followed the trend without comprehension of what it was. Mere hedonists, them, whereas the first lot were into making transformations happen.

    And of course the younger crowd were into the cocktail effect. They thought it was cool to get out of it on a combination of drugs, more fool them. Wouldn't trust such turkeys driving - anything could happen. Probably did, all over the place.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 292 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Dennis Frank,

    Mostly it seemed generational – those born in the forties who created the avante garde, and those born in the fifties who just followed the trend without comprehension

    your stretching there methinks. Decade of birth has nothing to do with it. And as much as i do admire the Prince of Pot for his views and wished it could work here, we have a culture heavily invested in alcohol, and should be doing something about that.

    the younger crowd were into the cocktail effect.

    Young people can be so foolish sometimes cant they
    tongue/cheek
    that tim leary, ken kesey and those merry pranksters eh young fools…
    I have indigestion plays havoc with sleep JICYWW

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1887 posts Report Reply

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