Posts by Russell Brown

  • Hard News: Always asking the wrong…, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    But revenue collection is surely a consequence rather than an aim of the legislation?

    I think so too. But it's also a consequence of shifting the trade away from the black market, which seems to be what's not happening in California.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Always asking the wrong…,

    Seventy five scholars and clinicians have signed a letter condemning the “junk science” in ‘Tell Your Children’, Alex Berenson’s alarmist new book about cannabis.

    Family First has been bragging that it's bringing Berenson to New Zealand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Always asking the wrong…,

    This is the study that Chloe mentioned was forthcoming: a big meta-analysis that finds that tougher policies do not deter young people from using cannabis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Always asking the wrong…,

    Attachment

    Sigh …

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    I think you are way too dismissive of Sandra's post. You have to remember that less than 20% of adults use cannabis annually. Many of the rest of them will largely have negative associations with it.

    I realise it's not the point you're making, but I do actually empathise with Sandra on the element of trespass. I get how that would feel violating.

    The solution, of course, would be to remove the need for clandestine growing on other people's property by letting people grow a couple of plants at home.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    I now understand some of the posts here may be influenced by posts over there.

    Heh. You're saying people are under the influence of cannabispolicydebate?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Joe Boden,

    My reading of that is the amendment is that it requires the Police to justify using prosecution, which in a sense is de facto decriminalization (which you already know I’m in favor of).

    Yep, it is, for all drugs. I was astonished that the Parliamentary National Party banged on about the very limited statutory defence in the new medicinal cannabis being “decriminalisation by stealth”, but had very little to say about a measure that actually did fit that description.

    But I’m very conscious that the undesirable trends in North American youth cannabis use that various people have highlighted largely took hold under regimes of decriminalisation and/or permissive medicinal regulation. And that they've slowed, halted or reversed under legalisation,

    Canada has now legalised with the express aim of addressing problems with youth use and I think there’s decent evidence that half-pie measures are the wrong way in the case of cannabis.

    I don’t think a Uruguay-style government monopoly will work in New Zealand. That came out of two factors: the first being that Uruguay already had (but has partially abandoned) a state monopoly on liquor supply; and the second being that the existing black market was full of shitty weed from Paraguay, so even the government weed was attractive.

    I’m interested to see if there’s a sustainable path to Small Cannabis, basically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    I agree with all of this except the bit about privacy in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Privacy is not one of the rights guaranteed in that Act. It isn't even mentioned.

    No, true. But that seems to be the yardstick legal commentators reach for in trying to define what constitutes an "unreasonable search" under the Act.

    or when we give the Police more "discretion" to make those decisions themselves. I think those are exactly the sort of good intentions that pave the way to somewhere unpleasant. Do you trust the Police to make those sorts of decisions in a fair and reasonable way?

    But that is what's been happening – the Police finding ways not to prosecute because the legislature won't go there. It use to really piss me off when John Key would merrily declare that there was no need for law reform because the police would just use their discretion.

    The (predictable) result seems to be that the usual social and ethnic biases carry over into the exercise of discretion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to Joe Boden,

    His producer was telling me about some other interviewees who are already involved in growing, and they seem to be gearing up to be making some big money. It could just be wishful thinking... time will tell, I guess.

    I think there's a difference between allowing commerce on the production side – where there are costs and compliance and it can't be done for free – and a highly commercial retail sector.

    I don't think there's a serious lobby here behind open-slather regulation – the longtime reform advocates almost universally don't want a highly commercial model. The only person in NZ I've seen argue for Big Cannabis is Karl du Fresne, and he's an idiot.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the government opt for a NZ take on cannabis social clubs. They don't have to do anything of the kind, of course – the original MoU is vague enough that they could just propose legalising use and possession but not any kind of production. Which I think would be a mistake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    The reality is that it is probably going to take years for that to happen (if it does at all), the outcomes may not be optimal even if/when it does, and that the Police are not going to just look the other way in the meantime.

    And while I sympathise with Pearl Schomburg, I really don't want to live in country where politicians get to give orders to Police about which laws they should be enforcing and which they should just let slide.

    There's a forthcoming amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will explicitly guide police discretion away from prosecution where a health-based response would be more appropriate, or where prosecution would not be in the public interest. It's a pretty big deal.

    But the police have been finding ways to not prosecute possession for more than a decade. That's the reason that cannabis prosecutions have been declining. And two weeks ago, Tamara Garlick just got a warning after being caught growing 45 plants on her property.

    So it's entirely reasonable to ask why this expensive, intrusive annual exercise continues. This isn't just police "applying the law", and the behaviour Cindy describes above reads like a violation of the "reasonable expectation of privacy" guaranteed in the Bill of Rights Act. It's reasonable to worry about that, about the use of military resources for police business, about the fact that no one will say what the total cost is – and about whether there are better uses for that money.

    I realise your point was about the medicinal angle, but there's already a situation where green fairies are taking up the slack while regulations get written – hence the statutory defence in the medicinal cannabis bill for people in palliative care. It just seems odd to go this hard after the small producers of the products the law acknowledges those patients will use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22684 posts Report Reply

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