Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Things that do us good and ill

24 Responses

  • Joe Boden,

    There must be some good agribusiness brains out there who could put together a workable proposal for a legal trade in cannabis. In addition to benefits to users and taxpayers, we'd also get the benefit of taking away one of the major sources of income for gangs in NZ.

    Our interdiction procedures are so good that most drugs that New Zealanders consume are those grown or manufactured here. There's no reason to expect that there will be anything to replace the vacuum caused by cannabis legalisation.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Joe Boden,

    There must be some good agribusiness brains out there who could put together a workable proposal for a legal trade in cannabis.

    Farmers are exactly the wrong people for this. Once someone decides how much and under what conditions, farmers are well set up to produce the crop. But letting the supplier decide what and how leads to the Fonterra problem that's given us rivers of shit. Cannabis is already an exotic weed in some places, seeing a boom-bust in growing it legally would make that worse (and that would be the least of our problems).

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to ,

    some proof-reading

    You can also email Russell directly with a 'heads up' on typos etc by using the link at the bottom of the original post - well that's what I do, and that way we don't draw attention to minor flaws in the fabric of the otherwise 'award winning blog, by leaving traces that may lose their context...
    ...good spotting by the way, I missed two of those.
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to ,

    But those chemicals … has leading indent that no other para has

    Unfixable consequence of a little bit of ad placement-related javascript.

    And thanks - although Ian notes, it's better done by email.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Ian notes, it's better done by email.

    I keep forgetting that your "email" is actually a form on the website. An increasing number of recipients block my actual emails because I have my own domain rather than using a major host (viz, gmail/yahoo/MS/apple). Including my workplace.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1198 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Unfixable consequence of a little bit of ad placement-related javascript.

    Nice pun you used there as a consequence of your explaining the engineering problems during the placing of the ad about the mildly addictive drug that I drink a hell of a lot of can you tell.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Moz,

    An increasing number of recipients block my actual emails because I have my own domain rather than using a major host (viz, gmail/yahoo/MS/apple).

    Hey Moz... so it's not just me. I even set up my mail server with a secure certificate and https to get around the problem, but Yahoo in particular seems to think if you're not with one of the big email providers, then you just don't count. It's frustrating.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    a little bit of ad placement-related javascript

    commerce hates typography :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    our own Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs has advised against Pharmac funding the approved cannabis-based medicine Sativex on the dubious assumption that it might be "diverted".

    Has anyone sought the basis of that claim?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Eediot,

    Ok. From the posts so far I had to check I was following the same original story.
    But (if I'm on the right thread) looks like Florida isn't the only state with this problem.
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/26/utah-mormons-prescription-painkiller-addiction

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Alfie,

    Given the appalling amount of spam Yahoo permits, and the fact I've never had a problem with sending my self-hosted email there or with gmail, I wonder if there's some other kind of issue.

    I don't want to get into a lengthy digression on SMTP server configuration, but are you using your own outbound SMTP, or relying on an ISP's? If the former, are you sending from a static IP address with proper forward and reverse DNS and MX records?

    I do admit my organisation blocks all SMTP traffic from dynamic addresses, and even large blocks of IPs hosted by Comcast and similar large ISPs. However, Google and Yahoo don't do blanket blocks like that, but they do check the relaying host is following the proper conventions for SMTP mail and DNS records.

    If relaying via an ISP's SMTP servers, the problem there is generally a bad sender reputation if they don't require you to authenticate prior to sending. You can check domain reputation with various online tools.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to TracyMac,

    Thanks for taking the time to write that Tracy. I have my own SMTP server on a dedicated IP address, reverse DNS and MX are correctly configured.

    I do admit my organisation blocks all SMTP traffic from dynamic addresses, and even large blocks of IPs hosted by Comcast and similar large ISPs.

    You've got it. My tech guys tell me that the link in the chain which causes a problem is my initial ISP connection via Vodafone. I had an argument with them a year back and was told that they never configure reverse DNS on dynamic IPs. The only solution they offered was a static IP for my home connection for an additional $20 per month. As I only pay $1 mth for my existing static IP (mailserver), I refused their kind offer.

    I should really ditch Vodafone because their customer service is crap. But I've been with iHug since the 90s and have the whole (net, landline, Sky, free MySky) package through them and it would be a major hassle to move everything.

    Sorry everyone else for this diversion from the original thread.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1386 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Eediot,

    Ok. From the posts so far I had to check I was following the same original story.
    But (if I’m on the right thread) looks like Florida isn’t the only state with this problem.

    The same problem happened to Massachusetts. It’s not just ordinary pain killers, its modified codeine advertised as pain killers that gave the American middle class an addiction epidemic. We used to call that stuff home bake heroin.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    communicable dis-ease...

    I should really ditch Vodafone because their customer service is crap. But I’ve been with iHug since the 90s and have the whole (net, landline, Sky, free MySky) package through them and it would be a major hassle to move everything.

    I have the same situation with Woosh - who I went with when they first started as they were a Kiwi company - but as of late they've been part of a grand game of international pass the parcel - and to 'capital' off they went into administration yesterday...
    ...any recommendations out there for a stable email and domain hosting company?
    Kiwi-owned is probably too much to ask anymore...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Eediot,

    Ok. From the posts so far I had to check I was following the same original story.
    But (if I’m on the right thread) looks like Florida isn’t the only state with this problem.

    Oh, indeed. But this part makes clear quite how special Florida was:

    At one point, more than 90% of all the prescription opioids dispensed by doctors in the US were sold in Florida.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun, in reply to Russell Brown,

    At one point, more than 90% of all the prescription opioids dispensed by doctors in the US were sold in Florida.

    Thats a lot of oxycontin!! I know what averaging 150mgs of Oxy a day looks like for legitimate pain, and combined with Benzo’s, her memory of that year was wiped, I struggle to see how anyone can rationalise 80mg Oxycontin tablets, (thankfully the 160mg tablets were pulled) if they needed that much pain relief, they should be on Methadone, (which is great for chronic neuropathic pain)

    Since Mar 2015 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to steven crawford,

    The same problem happened to Massachusetts. It’s not just ordinary pain killers, its modified codeine advertised as pain killers that gave the American middle class an addiction epidemic. We used to call that stuff home bake heroin.

    Indeed. My hometown (Pittsfield MA) was recently named the fifth worst location in the USA in terms of prescription opiate abuse. Some distinction.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Meyers,

    It's interesting to read your synopsis of Dr Quigley's thoughts on medical marijuana.

    It feels to me that many people see marijuana as a panacea that big pharma are keeping from the little guy and that it will fix all ills. This is surely not that case, although I'm sure there are some areas (such as pain) where it will be useful.

    My thoughts on medical marijuana are also clouded by the issue in the United States where it seems to work as de facto legalisation as long as you've got a "medical card".

    It seems like many people would like medical marijuana to be a gateway to across-the-board legalisation. I see that as poor policy and both should be legalised on their own merits.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    It feels to me that many people see marijuana as a panacea that big pharma are keeping from the little guy and that it will fix all ills. This is surely not that case, although I’m sure there are some areas (such as pain) where it will be useful.

    I’m less sceptical than I used to be, especially since the 2014 University of London study that used 50-50 THC+CBD plus radiation to shrink glioma, an aggressive and otherwise hard-to-treat kind of brain tumour. There really seems to be something there.

    And there have been studies for a while that have found cannabis’s pain-relieving properties were-only-about-as-good as conventional pain meds. But if people find it much easier to tolerate, why would you deny it to them?

    It's extremely disappointing that in ordering a review of the current criteria for approval to use non-pharmaceutical-grade medical cannabis products, Peter Dunne didn't include any patients in the review. It seems out of step with how we're supposed to look at healthcare these days. I'm thinking I need to have a look and see what the right OIA request would be on that.

    It seems like many people would like medical marijuana to be a gateway to across-the-board legalisation. I see that as poor policy and both should be legalised on their own merits.

    I agree, with the proviso that until we get to that place, we need to think about how to support people who are using raw cannabis medicinally.

    The thing I always think about is when I directed a friend somewhere she could get some weed for a friend’s father who was dying (dear police: I didn’t actually handle any pot) and thought I better ask how they were going to use it.

    “Oh, I’m going bake it in a cake,” she chirped.

    No, I said, you are not going to put an ounce of weed in a cake and feed a piece of that to someone who’s never even smoked a joint before, because that would be a really bad idea. I imagine that happens though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Meyers, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks for your considered response here. I've definitely seen that this is something that you're passionate about.

    Unfortunately, the mere fact that these drugs (cannabis and anything else that might be useful medically) are illegal hampers any efforts at research and clouds any judgement about their use.

    Hopefully we're slowly moving to a place where drug efficacy becomes the issue rather than legality. I'm hopeful that things have changed at least a little but the wheels move slowly.

    Wellington • Since May 2014 • 56 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It seems out of step with how we're supposed to look at healthcare these days.

    In theory, yes. You'd be surprised how much lip service or plain ignoring still goes on.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    In Michael Moore's latest film, Where to Invade Next, he looks at the US War on Drugs as a manufactured political crisis in order to imprison and disenfranchise the black population - in response to the civil rights movement. Now they are providing slave labour again, in jail, for some big corporates. Some states permanently disenfranchise anyone who has been in jail. He contrasts this with decriminalisation of all drugs in Portugal and interviews some very cool Portuguese cops. Worth seeing the movie to see how he frames this argument.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    In theory, yes. You’d be surprised how much lip service or plain ignoring still goes on.

    Probably more disappointed than surprised ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Relevant:

    Cannabis - labelled for decades as a "gateway drug" - is now being looked at as a potential exit strategy from life-threatening opiate addiction.

    Earlier this week, state health regulators in Maine heard testimony from medical marijuana caregivers, who believe cannabis could be the key to helping people stay off opioids and cope with withdrawal symptoms.

    Adding heroin and prescription opiate addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana would be a first in the United States: since Maine voters approved the use of medical marijuana 2009, only about dozen conditions, including seizure disorders, cancer, and AIDS, allow patients to qualify for the program.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

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