Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Thursday, August 31, 2000

Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion" policy - MILD GREENS

MarijuanaNews.Com, Freedom has nothing to fear from the truth

Posted by Richard Cowan on 2000-09-01 18:20:03

Press Release: August 31, 2000 - Mild Greens
Blair Anderson and Kevin O'Connell. (no longer hosted)
Blair Anderson

Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion" policy - MILD GREENS
(MarijuanaNews note: The Mild Greens are a faction of the New Zealand Green movement. New Zealand is in the midst of a ferocious debate on marijuana "decriminalization."
Founder of New Zealand NORML Calls for Rational Debate of Marijuana Laws. But the Police Minister Is Irrational.
and links

The following is a significant contribution to that process. It is definitely what newspapers call a "think-piece" that offers a very important insight into the way that marijuana prohibition most seriously damages the most disadvantaged members of society.

In New Zealand, the burden falls most heavily on the Maori, the indigenous Polynesian people of the islands, who now make up only about 14.5% of the population. The Maori have many of the problems of the other aboriginal peoples overwhelmed by Western conquests in the past, and modern technology in the present. Most such groups have high levels of substance abuse, especially alcoholism, of course, and have far more problems with law enforcement than the European population. In New Zealand, the Maori also grow a lot of the islands' marijuana.

The prohibitionists try to keep the debate on the prohibitionist claims about the supposed effects of marijuana. They never want to analyze what marijuana prohibition does.

This piece brilliantly analyzes the impact of the violence of marijuana prohibition on its most vulnerable victims.

This is something that I have tried to explore in the DEAland context.) /Richard Cowan

The Theory and Practice of Chaos – Analysis By Richard Cowan

Matrix of Dysfunction linked to "Home Invasion" policy - MILD GREENS

Drug law reformers are defending the right of Associate Health and Maori Affairs Minister, Tariana Turia, to stimulate debate on the "matrix of dysfunction" afflicting Maori in New Zealand.

"We as a society will never discover the truth of these matters, if we fail to scrutinise theory in the light of evidence", say Mild Greens, Blair Anderson and Kevin O'Connell.

Mrs Turia has found herself in hot water for suggesting to the Psychological Society's annual conference that land-grabbing "home invasions" are the principle historical cause of the "post-colonial traumatic stress disorder" she claims is disaffecting Maori today.

Blair Anderson said that the controversial cause and effect analysis of the associate minister was plausible, but did not go far enough. Maori are indeed caught up in a complex interaction of both symptom and cause in an ongoing and continuous cycle - "evidence strongly suggests however, that the farcical prohibition and criminalisation of marijuana use plays a not insignificant part in this increasingly dysfunctional social picture."

"There are injustices, past - and present", he said: "And it would be major progress if Maori Ministers could start acknowledging certain injustices of the modern age".

The Mild Greens argue that today's criminalisation regime continues the psychological abuse and exploitation evident in the earlier colonisation of Aotearoa - "You don't denigrate and trample over a person's rights and legitimate property without society paying a price, somewhere down the line", say the Mild Greens.

"Injustice breeds injustice, bad laws breed contempt, and dispossession breeds alienation."

The reformers have a particular interest in restoring social ecology in the New Zealand community - believing cannabis prohibition to be the ultimate in corruption, both self-defeating and delusional. An estimated 200 tonne per annum market is promoted by the profits to be gained in distribution, and policing - yet investigations into the anomalous workings of prohibition appear to have never quite made it onto a NZ government's agenda.

Uncontrolled availability and disrespect for rule of law mean younger and younger New Zealanders have easy access to the herb. Additional unintended consequences of the 923,000 cannabis enforcement hours a year, included impediments to treatment, "damaged police relations in the community" and "the nurturing of anti-social behaviour" as recently highlighted by the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties.

The Mild Greens insist Government must stop deluding itself that the costly and futile administration of cannabis "crime prevention" does not feature as an integral part of the cycle of harms it is making so much noise about.

Ministerial answers reveal that duress in respect of cannabis enforcement and punishment is grossly loaded against Maori and males. For example in 1997 there were proportionally 7 times as many Maori in prison for cannabis use, as opposed to non-Maori, and 14 times as many males as females. [005277 Tim Barnett to Min. of Justice, Phil Goff, 6 April 2000]

Holistic concepts of "influence" and "feedback" are well understood in Management Science - quite possibly demonstrated in the inexplicable anger of cannabis criminal Steven Wallace, gunned down by Police in the tragic Waitira incident earlier this year.

"As if completely ignorant of the fact that there may be negative fallout, New Zealand continues a regime of legalised and normalised home invasion in the community", say the Mild Greens: "It is perhaps unsurprising that Wallace smashed 55 windows in the Waitara Police station before menacing the police officer who shot him."

O'Connell and Anderson say it is obvious that the prejudicial application of cannabis laws, incorporating no end of systemic intolerance and deceit, is a not-so-subtle influence on adverse mental health, family violence and youth suicide statistics.

However, while the youth suicide prevention strategy acknowledges "trouble with the law" as a primary risk factor, for reasons of apparent political correctness (and the strenuous need to avoid or defer drug reform discussion at all costs), the strategy fails to consider marijauna policy harm production.

Mr O'Connell said that on each of the three occasions when he personally had been "home invaded" by the police under the pretext of cannabis harm prevention, he had experienced an almost psychotic anger at the intrusion - "God knows how much harm is generated by this wholesale violation occurring every hour of the day in New Zealand, particularly in Maori households".

The reformer said that he had eluded a criminal record purely because he was white and educated, and unashamedly NOT GUILTY. Others are not so fortunate.

"The War on Drugs has become the hidden holocaust of the 20th century", say the Mild Greens - and media fueled prohibitionist hatred is the unrecognised "apartheid" that divides New Zealanders, fills the news with crime, and utterly spoils our sense of community.
Marijuana Prohibition, Media Criticism, Copyrights and the 8 th and 9 th Commandments.

"While Tariana Turia's scale of comparison may perhaps be subject to legitimate criticism, the concept of harm begetting harm cannot be easily dismissed."

The Mild Greens say it is worth noting that Mrs Turia's most severe critic ( Roger Sowry ) happens to be the former Associate Minister of Health who released the National Drug Policy on 21 July 1998, with multiple references to the harms of criminal duress, mysteriously deleted.
New Zealand Associate Minister of Health Says,
"We will not tolerate any form of drug-related harm." Sure


New Zealand Government Rejects Recommendation To Legalize Cannabis
- Pending Further Research.
Support Grows For Medical Cannabis In New Zealand --
Health Ministry Has "No Intention Of Changing The Law"

The Mild Greens argue it is an almost unforgivably foolish dereliction of duty for Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Cabinet to continue giving the disreputable illicit status of pot a low priority - and of no apparent bearing in their "closing of the gaps" Maori policy.

Undoubtedly there were other factors - colonisation, unemployment, the mass marketing of alcohol and tobacco for example - affecting the adverse Maori outcomes, and masking harms. But the NZ police, bureaucreats and politicians who have allowed a regime of domestic terrorism in the unproven best interests of public health, have an awful lot to answer for, say the Mild Greens: "We demand truth and reconciliation".

Criminalisation is an unwinnable war that can only cause untold grief, anger and alienation amongst the sectors of population most targeted, and least empowered to defend themselves.

"We as a community do not need these discriminatory interventions", say the Mild Greens - what we need is an age limit consistent with the legal drugs, and a civilised society where people look after one another.

And we desperately need leadership in New Zealand - and Ministers who have the courage to seek out the truth and FIX WHAT'S BROKEN.


Blairs Brain on Cannabis (milage may vary)

Media Center phone ++64 3 389-4065 Web site

It is time within drug policy, to set aside moral cowardice, and adopt harm minimisation; it is the stuff of social capital.

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Saturday, August 12, 2000

Call for Cannabis Law change on Health and Justice Grounds

Media Release: Health Studies Faculty

Call for Cannabis Law change on Health and Justice GroundsAuckland University of TechnologyImage via Wikipedia
August 11, 2000
Cathy Gunn, External Blackboard Lecturer

An immediate relaxation of cannabis laws, so that possession of small quantities of the drug for personal use is no longer a criminal offence, has been called for by a leading health expert. Professor Max Abbott, Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies at Auckland University of Technology, made the call to day (Sunday August 13) at the official launch of the Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform in Wellington.

Professor Abbott says a formal investigation of the economic,social and health impacts of more extensive reform should follow this law change, including the possibility of state control of the production and di stribution of cannabis. This could include consideration of potential gains from using tax revenue from legal cannabis sales to fund drug education, prevention and treatment programmes, he says. "It is essential that this investigation is fully informed and involves widespread consultation throughout all sectors of society. This will be very difficult to say the least while people who acknowledge or are believed to be using cannabis remain under threat of criminal conviction.

"I favour a law change because I want to see reduced c annabis consumption in the future, particularly on the part of young people and other at-risk groups. This may seem contradictory but I believe it follows logically when the focus is on cannabis, the drug in its actual social context rather than on cannabis the myth, cannabis the dogma, cannabis the fantasy," Professor Abbott says.

In his address, Professor Abbott quoted sections of a paper that he gave at the Great Marijuana Debate held in the Auckland Town Hall 16 years ago. This 1984 meeting, chaired by Peter Williams QC on behalf of the Criminal Bar Association, attracted an audience of over 1,200 people and was broadcast live nation-wide. The meeting was a response to a call by Judge Nick Brown for public debate of cannabis law reform.

Professor Abbott says he is disappointed that after 16 years of debate on the issue, most people remained poorly informed, and opponents of reform still tend to rely on "rhetoric and emotion rather than logical argument."

"The fact is, the present law does not work and is counterproductive. I am convinced that it is time for change."

Professor Abbott says he is in favour of law change because:

  • Under the present law cannabis consumption has increased
  • In most places where the law has been relaxed consumption has not significantly increased
  • Relative to other legal drugs and gambling the known health costs of moderate cannabis use are insignificant and treating cannabis differently from more harmful substances and activities is hypocritical and illogical
  • Current laws waste scarce criminal justice resources that could be put to better use fighting serious crime and supporting victims of crime, are applied in a discriminatory manner, stigmatise many otherwise law-abiding citizens, and probably constitute more of a health hazard than cannabis use per se.
  • The present situation inhibits full public education and debate about cannabis use, research, and access to help for the small number of people who are cannabis dependent
  • The present situation contributes to serious crime and may lead some regular cannabis users into criminal circles and on to other drugs that have serious adverse health consequences.

Professor Abbott says he believes that more radical reform, including state control of production and distribution, requires detailed investigation before implementation. He says there is a danger that Government could get seduced by the allure of high tax revenues and lose sight of its role in controlling consumption. Gambling, where about one-in-five regular gaming machine participants become serious problem gamblers, provides a cautionary note, according to Professor Abbott.

For more information please contact: Professor Max Abbott Dean of the Faculty of Health Studies Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Phone: 09 6315470 09 307 9894 021-680583

Blair Anderson

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