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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

DEAland's international jurisdiction over anyone growing cannabis,

DEAland claims international jurisdiction over anyone it accuses of growing cannabis anywhere in the world,

What might the White House's thoughts on NZ's 'proposed' instant fines model be?
(seeing as free trade and nuclear ships are on the election horizon!)

If the NZ GREENS don't regale and shout - their pot policy aint worth a crock
And that goes for anyone else who thinks that pot reform is ONLY about 'having a guilt free toke'

/ Blair Anderson
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Afghani 'drug nexus'

Afghani 'drug nexus'
(published in Pakistan online July 31 2005 in response to article see extract, quoted below)

The nexus in the matrix of dysfunction created by illegal 'drugs' is the breakdown of rule of law. Even if all the efficient production of Afghani opium was directed towards ameliorative pain relief to the millions who need it worldwide it would still only meet 60% of known demand.
The persistent threat to peace and stability is the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotics and its banal enforcement that counterproductively turns a useful and needed agricultural commodity into conflict chemicals that destabilize economies and fund terror on both a local and international scale.
Good folk in South East Asia, Pacific, South America, Balkans, Middle East.. and former Soviet states suffer the same ignominy of a largely US enforced moral paradigm that is so flawed it should be a war crime to defend drug prohibition.
There is no efficacy in continuing the insanity.

Drug Policy and all that it represents should be a focus of the global community's United Nations review.

Until this core humanitarian issue is fixed we are, each and everyone of us, just pissing into the wind.

We are victims of what we condemn our neighbors to do to ourselves.

Blair Anderson
[extract from PakTribune - Problems and solutions in Afghanistan]
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in their 2004 survey has revealed that in 2004, agricultural land acreage in Afghanistan turned over to opium poppy cultivation increased by 64 percent, and the number of persons involved in producing opium increased by 10 percent compared with 2003. These are terrible statistics. They also indicate that drug lords have been more successful than the Afghan government in gaining the support of the Afghan farmers. The same UNODC survey estimates that the value of the narcotics industry in Afghanistan is equivalent 60 percent of Afghanistan's 2003 GDP.

There has been a direct consequence within Afghanistan to this situation. Warlords and drug traffickers are again rapidly increasing their economic, military and political presence in that country. This is natural, given the fact that they are providing money-earning opportunities to farmers and also tertiary employment opportunities through the hiring of armed militias to protect this illicit trade. Drug money is also assisting indirectly and financing the renovation of houses and shops as well as the construction of many new buildings in Afghan cities. This in turn is creating employment opportunities in urban areas.

The second threat to peace and stability has emerged from the continuous fight against 'insurgents,' such as the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda activists. Such combat inevitably involves local residents, destruction and humiliation of local communities. This creates hatred for the coalition and the government forces among the local people.

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

comparing cannabis law reform to lowering the drinking age,

Some commentators are comparing cannabis law reform to lowering the drinking age and/or to the lifting of alcohol prohibition.

There is a serious flaw/misconception in comparing cannabis-alcohol prohibition.

Alcohol was a partial decriminalisation - simple possession or consumption was never a crime. Only stills [clan labs] sales, storage and transport (hence expression trafficking offense) were illegal and then only for some alcoholic beverages . In the USA, imported whiskey was 'protected' as it was the drink of the rich anyway.

This evidences considerable ignorance by some who should know better and a significant if not singular reason why the drug by drug approach and 'instant fines' falls short of policy analytic standards.

Cannabis "fines" is the 1930's ALCOHOL prohibition by another name, and just as dangerous and corrupt.

Moreover, contemporary society is [likely] less able to adjust because of the elevated hypocrisy and double standards created by an entrenched blanket prohibition in disrepute. Fine's is a model predicated on a history of failure, elsewhere labeled "the worst possible scenario", end of story! No amount of 'progressive step' alliteration will convince me otherwise.

The right to consume is a barren right without the right to cultivate, store, process, package and transport.

Else, it's just a road to hell paved with good intentions.

/Blair Anderson     
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Marijuana Party leader arrested, Extradition to US poss.

Marc Emery and BC Marijuana Party face the might of the USA track the story emerging on the blogs.... (cannabis OR marijuana OR marihuana OR hemp OR THC)
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Friday, July 29, 2005


Friday 29 July 2005, 10 � 11am

Soci252, Level 2, Link Block, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology Building.


Associate Professor Greg Newbold
School of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Canterbury


The emergence of an identifiable 'drug problem' in Australia, New Zealand and Britain occurred less than 40 years ago. This paper begins by looking briefly at the effects of various drug control strategies in New Zealand since the late 1960s and concludes that the efforts reported so far have been largely ineffective. Although styles of illegal drug use have changed, the magnitude of use is apparently higher than ever, particularly in relation to more dangerous substances such as opiates and amphetamines. This is part of an international phenomenon: it is difficult to find a single instance of a drug control policy that has produced a sustained reduction in drug use anywhere in the democratic world. Successful policies targeting certain drugs have typically been short-lived or have resulted in increases in alternative forms of use. This paper argues that eradication policies are futile, and that harm reduction is the only realistically attainable objective. In order to succeed, such policies need to differentiate between drugs that are potentially very harmful and those that are not, and focus upon the former. Moreover, the paper argues that the majority of drug users are casual, and only a minority use drugs in a way that produces a significant risk of harm to themselves or to others. It is at these latter groups that harm reduction policies should concentrate their attention.


A former intravenous drug user, heroin dealer and prison inmate turned criminologist, Greg Newbold has knowledge of the drug trade that is both practical and academic. He has published a number of book chapters and scholarly papers in the field of drug trafficking and organised crime, and has recently returned from Australia, where he was a keynote speaker at the annual conference of the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
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SA considers drug testing doctors

22/07/2005. ABC News Online

Summary: ... But the state's medical board has told a parliamentary committee that it did not believe Dr Mauro's cannabis habit affected his ability to practice medicine. ..."

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Parents 'not advising on drugs'

BBC NEWS | Education:

"'There are clearly things that parents can do to ensure that they equip their children to cope with the pressure to first experiment and then choose drugs as part of their lifestyle.

'The first step is to educate themselves, the second is to review their own behaviour and attitude towards drink and drugs in the home and set an example.'

Last week, Ofsted reported that drugs education had improved in most schools in England since 1997.

But inspectors warned they might be focusing too much on illegal drugs rather than smoking and alcohol, which worried pupils more"
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Govt policy on biofuels out during campaign

Govt policy on biofuels out during campaign

By Dene Mackenzie / ODT

Business&Money section (page 18) June 27 2005

The first major announcement on firmly establishing the biofuel industry in New Zealand is likely to be made during the coming election campaign. Transport Minister Pete Hodgson told the Otago Daily Times he hoped to announce a policy on biofuels in the next month to six weeks. �Work is under way on introducing biofuels. It is a small start but work is being done both here and overseas,� he said in an interview.

The United Nations announced last week an initiative to help developing countries exploit their renewable energy potential, such as fuels derived from agricultural crops. Biofuels such as bioethanol, biodiesel and biogas, which are derived from crops such as sugar beet and sunflowers, are an ecological alternative to conventional fossil fuels which are expected to run out soon. The UN estimates petroleum reserves will not last more than 50 years, although other studies indicate a life of 60 years. Coal reserves could last for another 200 years.
Biofuels help countries meet their Kyoto Protocol reduction targets. They offer an alternative development to burning carbon. Countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while pursuing energy targets.
Any announcement on biofuel development would be a welcome sign that something was happening to counter the damaging turnaround on Kyoto which recently saw New Zealand move from a net seller of carbon credits to a buyer from 2012 of about $1.2 billion worth of credits.

The main change from a 36-million-tonne credit to a 32-million-tonne deficit came from the re-rating of scrub land which had been clear-felled. Some agricultural science was also discounted. Mr Hodgson said he would not criticise the officials who prepared the report but felt he was entitled to a peer review of the latest figures because of the significant shift in the findings.

He was encouraged by the large number of ideas flowing into his office since the latest Kyoto announcement.
�When something is hard, some prefer to ignore it or deny that climate change is coming. Others are now saying this is something that is probably the biggest challenge we face as civilisation.�

The answer to meeting New Zealand�s Kyoto targets lay in research and development and the use of technology, Mr Hodgson said.
Meridian Energy was the largest producer of windgenerated energy in the Southern Hemisphere and had been able to do that because of the carbon credits it received. �There will be more opportunities around that.�
Mr Hodgson took another swipe at National Party leader Don Brash for statements which indicated National would find a way to get New Zealand out of Kyoto if it won the election this year. �He is wondering whether climate change exists or if it is a fantasy. That is a pitiful response from someone with access to the information he has,� Mr Hodgson said.

Kyoto Forestry Associations spokesman Roger Dickie said public support for the protocol would crumble unless it was implemented without putting funding for schools and hospitals at risk. New Zealanders strongly supported the protocol and were concerned about climate change. �But the Government has implemented the protocol incompetently. It will now end up writing large cheques to industry in Chernobyl, Gdansk and Lake Baikai [all Russia] instead of investing in energy conservation, social services, tax relief and economic development at home.�

Mr Dickie told a Parliamentary select committee that public support could be maintained if the Government implemented a free-market strategy requiring polluting industries to buy carbon credits from those that earned them by planting trees, reducing their own carbon emissions or investing in projects in the developing world to reduce emissions.

�The unpopular and unnecessary carbon tax could be dropped. Tree plantings, which have plummeted to nearly zero in 2005, would return to 1990s levels of more than 50,000ha a year.� That approach would create no risk to the taxpayer and it would create economic incentives in favour of the environment and against pollution, Mr Dickie said. (picture of Pete Hodgson)
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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Domestic Pot Production Up, Cannabis Not Linked To Violence, Federal Report Says

"The US and New Zealand UN based regulatory model of criminal sanction is administered by the Ministry's of Justice. They cannot ignore being held accountable of impaired reasoning while driving a flawed policy. If true, reason suggests there is culpability in 'business as usual' models where self interest is served.

A political anomaly, a ministry failing or corrupt due process the opting to simply do nothing is to fail in duty of care!

However for those of you who are American, NZ's drug laws are exacted under writ of the Minister of Health. And that makes is just plain malfeasance!
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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Editorial Drug Law Reform, 2002, 2005.

Otago Daily Times.
Saturday 23rd July.

Dear Sir,

You and your paper Sir, are a traitors to the truth.

Is your latest editorial on drug policy published in the nieve expectation that no one is going to challenge your deceptive claim.?

See your OWN PAPERS editorial pre-2002 election and tell me what changed? (attached)

Please tell me which part of the 'terms of reference' you didn't understand.

Committee Chair, MP. Judy Keal made a point of reading these terms out at the commencement of every hearing "Inquiries into the public health strategies related to cannabis use and the MOST APPROPRIATE LEGAL
STATUS" (my emphasis).

If you have a problem with the strength of my language.. please NOTE I have published this on my blog below. It is in the public domain. I did say and publish:

"The Editor of the Otago Daily Times did, on the 22nd of July 2005 lie on the public record."

The web address (attached) may assist remind you of the facts being considered. I am sure you will have no problem with the integrity of the source.

With that Sir, I request retraction and apology.

Blair Anderson
50 Wainoni Road, WAINONI
Christchurch, NZ 8006
phone ++64 3 389-4065 cell 027 2657219

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Bridget Saunders gets it right

Close Up: Names on Everyone's Lips (6:01min)

Susan Woods interviews socialite and commenator Bridget Saunders. Bridget nails the argument, she said among other insightful gems "they havent harmed anyone".

Clearly some unresolved debate here,
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Drug Futures 2025

The UK Office of Science and Technology, as part of its "Foresight" project, has recently released a number of scientific reviews and other papers that discuss psychoactive drugs and brain science.

One of the more interesting of these is "Drug Futures 2025" which examines possible future courses of human drug use, given contemporary social, economic and technological trends. MAPS members will be interested in (all too brief) references to spiritual uses of psychoactives and psychedelic therapeutics.


Kenneth Tupper
Ph.D. student
Department of Educational Studies
University of British Columbia

Rt Hon Jane Kennedy, Minister of State for Quality and Patient Safety at the Department of Health, is the sponsor Minister for the Foresight project on Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs.
Project Aim
NEW 13th Jul: Project launched today.
NEW 14th Jul: Read the Press Note here.
To provide a challenging vision as to how scientific and technological advancement may impact on our understanding of addiction and drug use over the next 20 years.
Project Outputs

The outputs from the Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs Project are:

to produce state of science reviews;
to create vision(s) of the future;
to create new networks of people from across scientific disciplines and areas of business and policy-making; and
to identify key challenges and engage those who can take them forward.
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Reject the soft option [ODT Editorial]

Otago Daily Times (22.07.05).
IN ONE STROKE, the Green Party has ensured most thinking New Zealanders, especially parents, will decline to waste their party vote on a group espousing the even more widespread use in society of another mind-altering recreational drug. Clearly, the Greens have learned nothing from the inevitable and predicted results of the reduction in the drinking age: their policy towards marijuana use would, if enshrined in legislation, follow precisely the same course. It is obvious to most adults that making cannabis use even partially legal would send a totally wrong and very confusing message to our youth.
The Greens, however, do not care about confusing messages, nor, it seems about the mental and physical dangers of smoking and drugs to the health of young people. Its MP and cannabis advocate, Nandor Tanczos, says his revised member�s Bill would allow users and growers of small amounts of cannabis to be fined, rather than face criminal conviction. He concedes the Bill does not go as far as he would like, but believes the greatest problem associated with marijuana use is what he calls the �criminalisation� of New Zealanders for smoking the drug.

Therein lies the Greens� misapprehension. The decriminalisation of marijuana use is not the problem at all; smoking �pot� in the face of community sanction is a risk people take of their own free will. What is the problem is the likely impact on society if the State should sanction the open growth, use and sale of another mind-altering and, for some users, dangerously addictive drug. Does the community need it? Does it want it? We think not.

Mr Tanczos appears to believe that by prohibiting its use by people under 18, those so categorised will be less likely to use the drug, and if they do, his response is that old cop-out, �drug education�. Does he imagine, too, that permitting adults to grow up to five �small plants� at home will, by some magical process, ensure younger people will not also try their gardening skills, or will simply steal the drug, knowing that � as with the alcohol law � the absence of determined forces to police the prohibitions will mean 99% of the time they will succeed?

It is extraordinary, too, that his party co-leader, Jeanette Fitzsimons, reckons the health select committee inquiry into the impact of cannabis �came up with very positive results�. For one thing, the committee�s terms of reference were to look at the minimisation of harm of cannabis, not debate whether or not to decriminalise the substance. For another, it did not recommend any change to the illegal status of the drug. It did suggest the State should take the lead in education programmes to alert young people to the dangers of cannabis use, and it asked the Government to consider allowing cannabis to be used as a medicine � the value of which should be determined by scientists rather than politicians.

It also rejected another possible course, that of continuing to prohibit cannabis possession but by civil rather than criminal law, while maintaining that the cultivation, supply and sale should continue to be criminal offences. Any recommendations made to endorse cannabis use are, however, doomed to fail in this Parliament. The Government cannot change cannabis laws because, even if it wanted to, its support agreement with United Future prevents it. Fortunately, none of the other serious contenders for parliamentary representation this election will endorse Mr Tanczos� Bill.

What all candidates should consider, however, are suitable means for testing drivers for cannabis in much the same way roadside tests are made for alcohol abuse, and offer recommendations for far more innovative and sensitive ways to educate and promote the reduction of cannabis use. Adopting the slogan, �smoking is dangerous to health�, would be a good starting point.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Endocannabinoids - the brain's cannabis

Endocannabinoids - the brain's cannabis - demonstrate novel modes of action to stress

Medical News Today 20 Jul 2005

Research teams from Louisiana, Japan and Scotland report on endocannabinoids as a novel neural messenger in various stress-related situations with possible applications in eating, disease treatment and social behavior. Led by Shi Di, the Tulane/LSU team found that endocannabinoids acted as an intrabrain messenger to shutdown the neuroendocrine stress response. [more]

[Clearly, there is a shortage of endocannabinoids within 100 meters of Bowen House! / Blair ]
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Instant fines unjust, inequitable and just plain stoopid!

The Greens 'guilt tax' on cannabis sells debate and reason short. Despite the UFO/Progressive/Labour confidence agreement, instant fines by way of a private members bill adds another distracting breach to the already interrupted due process law review and 'evidence based' policy development.

Instant fines widens the net while catching the sprat. It fails to address 'criminalization and the black market' (2003 HSC report) 'double standards' are retained (1998 HSC report) as are the 'impediments to health promotion' (Ottawa Charter 1986), worse, that these proposed possession fines fail as a regulatory tool is cited as a "worst possible scenario" in the 660 page Canadian Senate Report Sept. 2002.

Nandor confuses middle ground for no-mans land. Why should someone who lives within 99 meters of a 'place young people use' be fined 5 times more than the neighbor who lives 101 meters. This is arbitrary, making it capricious to suggest it affords anyone protection where even prohibition with full force and effect has failed. Even five plants and 28 grams for an annual plant doesn't stackup. The devil is in the details, I doubt Nandor's Bill will make, let alone deserve, a second reading.

However, this vexing question puts the ethics and policy standards of all political parties to the test, perhaps none more so than 'bottom line' United Future Outdoors.

Drug policy is not constrained to domestic debate. We do know that the majority of European elected representatives want reform (Catania Report 2004). And we know that internationally the nexus of arms, drugs, borders, politics, crime, corruption, laundering and terrorism turns simple green and white agricultural substances into conflict chemicals (Lord Birt report 2003, UNODCP 2004) while prohibition has neither reduced global demand, or supply.

So New Zealand, what happened to the 'law review'?

We should be asking National's Don Brash - how reformers have 530 Endorsing Economists saying marijuana policy is an unaccounted mess and yet neither he, nor Cullen, Peters, Dunne or Hide can produce even baseline 'prohibition' cost-benefit analysis, let alone produce a peer or academic economist arguing status quo is good public policy. [See]. What we have is "grossly deficient" according the retired original member of the 1972 Blake-Palmer Committee Prof. Emeritus Fred Fastier, Pharmacology, Otago School of Medicine. Fastier wrote the original cannabis prohibition advise notably tagging it with 'maintaining prohibition so long as it is seen to be effective'.

I would gladly forgo tax cuts for a parliamentary term to entrench and enjoy the social capital benefits of the cumulative value of a well considered reform. Voters may also agree but don't expect parties to represent this issue, electors must take it up with your 'electorate' candidates and vote in the peoples choice. Even if unlikely, there is room in the house for 60 independents under MMP! That's a lot of good people round the select committee tables, all unfettered by party foolishness.

Blair Anderson, Director, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy []

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17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm

Subject: 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2005 11:40:19 -0700
From: "Shannon Brown"

Dear colleague,
Welcome to another update from the organizers of the 17th International Conference on the of Drug Related Harm in Vancouver, Canada, April 30 - May 4, 2006. We have just 10 left to go!

A few new things -
  • 1. Our website will now accept abstract submissions on-line. Please remember that the abstract submission deadline is October 3, 2005. Just click on "Submitting Abstracts and Program Info" and scroll down to "Abstract Submission Guide."
  • 2. Information about our scholarship program is now available, also on-line. Please click on "Registration and Accommodation" and choose the "Scholarship" option. The deadline for scholarship applications is also October 3, 2005. Please read the criteria carefully to determine if you may be eligible.
  • 3. We are very pleased to welcome several new sponsors and partners including Schering-Plough, Metropolitan Fine Printers, Vancouver Coastal Health and the City of Vancouver. They join Biolytical Laboratories (our Premier sponsor), Providence Health Care and CANVAC (the Canadian Network for Vaccines and Immunotherapies) as supporters of our conference. And, of course, HR 2006 is the official conference of the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA.). For more information about our sponsors and partners, please visit our website. And please support them if you have the opportunity.
  • 4. Remember that Vancouver is an extremely popular tourist destination. Please book your travel as early as possible to obtain the best rates and availability. If you have any questions about the information above or any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact our team:

Harm Reduction 2006
Conference Management Team
c/o Advance Group
101-1444 Alberni Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6G 2Z4 Canada
Tel: 1 604 688 9655 ex. 2
Fax: 1 604 685 3521
Toll-Free (North America): 1 800 555 1099 ex. 2
Country Code: 01

Patricia Spittal and Sue Currie
Conference Co-Chairs
Blair Anderson

50 Wainoni Road.Christchurch, New Zealand 8006

Director, Educators for Sensible Drug Policy
now in RSS feed

ph (++643) 389 4065 cell/TXT 027 2657219 car-phone 025 2105080
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Drug dealing computer game withdrawn

South Africa Computer Magazine - Drug dealing computer game withdrawn

The New Zealand maker of a computer game involving violence and the selling of drugs has withdrawn the product from sale.

The Dope Game was being distributed by Auckland based online company 89 Games.

It focuses on drug lords earning money by growing marijuana and making hash, opium, morphine and heroin.

The Department of Internal Affairs has submitted the game for classification by the Chief Censor and the game's creator, who wants to remain anonymous, says that has forced him to withdraw it.

Chief censor Bill Hastings says they will continue to review the computer game. Hastings says a decision will be made in about three weeks.

---------- ends ----------
As a thinking New Zealander, I am embarrased. The game is a product of the culture of prohibition and they want to (even consider) to ban its sale or use?

You cant have kids blowing away competative dealers... or seeing prohibition for the phoney war that it is. Its not a drug war. Is a war on people and this game should be a teaching aid!

Quick, hide your books.
Shut down your imagination.
And crack open a case of Steinlager!
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Tanczos moots cannabis law changes]

Tanczos moots cannabis law changes 19 July 2005

Green MP Nandor Tanczos is proposing cannabis users be fined rather than face criminal convictions.

Mr Tanczos has drafted a member's bill to reform the law and believes he has found a way forward in the debate.

A summary of his bill says adults caught using the drug would get an instant fine rather than face a criminal conviction. New provisions would strengthen protection for under-18s.

  • people aged over 18 with up to 28g of cannabis or 5g of cannabis preparation would get a $100 instant fine, rather than a criminal record;
  • adults growing up to five small plants at home would get a $100 instant fine, rather than a criminal record, unless there was evidence of selling;
  • in addition to existing provisions people younger than 18 found with cannabis would be fined and referred to an approved drug education provider;
  • also, in addition to existing provisions anyone smoking or cultivating cannabis within 100m of a school or other area mostly used by youth would get a $500 instant fine;
  • cannabis would be covered by the Smokefree Environments Act;
  • selling any amount of cannabis would remain illegal and subject to the same penalties as at present;
  • possession of more that 28g of dried plant or 5g of cannabis preparation would remain illegal and be subject to the same penalties as at present; and
  • revenue gathered from cannabis infringement fines would be earmarked to fund drug education and drug treatment provision.
  • "I believe that the measures this bill puts forward will be acceptable to Labour and the New Zealand public," Mr Tanczos said.

    Mr Tanczos is a self-confessed cannabis smoker who came into Parliament in 1999 campaigning for its decriminalisation.

    - ends -
    (feedback can be directed towards Nandor's Message Board online,

    Blair Anderson 50 Wainoni Road.    Christchurch, New Zealand 8006 ph (++643) 389 4065   cell/TXT 027 2657219   car-phone 025 2105080   

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    Experts say counseling, not boot camps, prevent teen violence

    LAURA MECKLER, Associated Press Writer / Friday, October 15, 2004

    Boot camps and other 'get tough' program for adolescents do not prevent criminal behavior, as intended, and may make the problem even worse, an expert panel concluded .

    Further, laws transferring juveniles into the adult court system lead these teens to commit more violence and at the same time, there is no proof they deter others from committing crime, the panel said.

    More promising, it said, are programs that offer intensive counseling for families and young people at risk.

    The 13-member panel of experts, convened by the National Institutes of Health, reviewed the available scientific evidence to look for consensus on causes of youth violence and ways to prevent it.

    ''Scare tactics' don't work,' the panel concluded in its report, released Friday. 'Programs that seek to prevent violence through fear and tough treatment do not work.'

    Youth violence has declined from its peak a decade ago but violent crime rates are still high, the panel said.

    Violence can be traced to a variety of troublesome conditions. Among possible causes: inconsistent or harsh parenting, poor peer relations, gang involvement, lack of connection to school and living in a violent neighborhood.

    The trouble with boot camps, group detention centers and other 'get tough' programs is they bring together young people who are inclined toward violence and teach each other how to commit more crime, the panel said: 'The more sophisticated (teens) instruct the more naive in precisely the behaviors that the intervener wishes to prevent.'

    It also rejected programs that 'consist largely of adults lecturing,' like DARE.

    One barrier to implementing effective programs, the report said, is resistance from people operating ineffective programs who depend on them for their jobs.

    'All the evaluations have shown they don't work,' said the panel's chair, Dr. Robert L. Johnson of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. 'Many communities are wasting a great deal of money on those types of programs.'

    The panel looked for programs that have been tested using rigorous research methods and concluded that 'the good news is that there are a number of intervention programs that have been shown' effective.

    The report cited two: a therapy program where youth and their families attend 12 one-hour sessions over three months, and a community-based clinical treatment program that targeted violent and chronic offenders at risk of being removed from their families. This second program provided about 60 hours of counseling over about four months with therapists available at all hours.

    One key, Johnson said, was letting counselors observe families and children together and offer suggestions for better parenting.

    Both programs reduced arrest rates and out-of-home placements, with positive effects four years after treatment ended.

    The report identified six other programs that seemed to work but that hadn't been studied as closely, including Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nurse-family partnership program and Project Towards No Drug Abuse.

    Successful programs share a variety of characteristics, the panel said. Among them: treatments last a year or longer, intensive clinical work with those at risk is included, they take place outside schools and other institutional settings.
    On the Net:

    National Institutes of Health consensus conferences:

    ?2005 Associated Press"
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    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Drug group alarmed at cannabis survey results

    15/07/2005 . ABC News Online

    The Victorian Government's peak drug prevention body says heavy cannabis use has become a major concern among young people. A survey of more than 6,000 Victorians between the ages of 16 and 24 found a disturbing trend of heavy cannabis use. Nearly 3 per cent of respondents use the drug daily and up to 5 per cent use it more than once a week.

    The chairman of the Premiers Drug Prevention Council, Rob Moodie, says heavy use is leading to isolation and depression. 'Our levels of cannabis use in Australia are higher than any other English speaking country,' he said.

    Dr Moodie says a new approach is needed. 'We just don't seem to be doing very well with it at the moment,' he said. 'It's the amount of use and the problematic use that's the real problem. That's when it becomes a hard drug, in a sense, when it's being used daily and more frequently.

    'It really is damaging young people's lives and older people's lives, that's when it's a problem, no matter what title it has. That's when it's really causing harm and that's what we have to focus on - the harmful problematic use.'

    The results of the survey will be discussed at a forum in Melbourne today."
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    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Rod Donald downplays CLR (Agenda TV)

    What Rod Donald said about cannabis to Simon Dallow
    Agenda - Television One, Saturday 9th July 2005.

    SIMON Are you worried at all by the absence of a hot button issue, something that resonates with voters that you've had in the past?

    ROD We can never win, at the last election at our pre-election conference we launched our child policy, ending child poverty, didn't get any traction because the whole fixation was on genetic engineering, this election everyone's saying you haven't got GE how are you gonna survive. I mean we're committed to a sustainable economy, we want a fairer society, we want to make people's food healthy, we want a bright future for this country, that's what we're offering in this country.

    SIMON Well last time it was GE.

    ROD GE hasn't gone away if I might say, we've gotta clean up the environment whether it's the 95% of our rivers that are too dangerous to swim in.

    SIMON Okay GE's hovering in the background but why have you ditched cannabis reform as a platform?

    ROD Oh we haven't ditched cannabis reform.

    SIMON Well it's certainly been downplayed.

    ROD Not at all.

    SIMON Nandor Tanczos' list rating goes and no one's talking about it.
    ROD Well we continue to talk about it, watch this space.

    SIMON Okay do you support Materia Turei's statement that the Foreshore and Seabed legislation is - quote again from a press release - "shameful racist and a tragedy for New Zealand?"

    ROD Indeed, definitely, that statement was issued on behalf of the Green Party and by the way you mentioned Materia, why did Nandor go down in your words, it's because Materia went up, there's a strong .

    SIMON He didn't go down one place he went down a lot more than that.

    ROD Yeah he went down two places and the other person that leapfrogged him was Keith Locke and he takes strong stands on Ahmed Zaoui, Afghanistan, Iraq.

    SIMON Is your Maori policy an attempt to woo back the support you lost to the Maori Party?

    ROD Our Maori policy hasn't changed since before the last election.

    SIMON It's more prominent though.

    ROD It's more prominent only because the media has thankfully given it more attention.

    SIMON Who are the Greens now, the pro-cannabis "flakeys" as Peter Dunne called them, the pro-Maori activist, the Hikoi marchers, the anti-GE ideologues or the environmental lobbyists, who are you?

    ROD We're the mainstream.

    SIMON And you define that as what?

    ROD We define that as people who are caring, who are committed to New Zealand having a sustainable future, a future where we actually look after the environment so there's something left for future generations, a country where quality of life is more important than economic growth, a country that has a position in the world as international citizens who want to be and are concerned about what's happening that's bad and trying to stop those bad things and make the world a better place.

    SIMON But your positions on cannabis, Maori, GE, the environment - isn't this a mixed message, do the voters know who you are?

    ROD Cannabis should be a health issue not a crime and all they need to do is go to our website they'll see what we stand for, it is very clear we have four principles which are sustainability, social justice, peace and democracy built on a foundation of a treaty relationship.

    SIMON Sources in the party tell us you have downplayed the cannabis reform because you are scared of frightening off the middle class voters.

    ROD Well for the last three years we've actually employed a cannabis campaigner to raise awareness of this policy, we've spent more money on literature on cannabis, we've got a whole page on our website on cannabis, we've written to all the doctors about cannabis, I don't think we've ever done as much on cannabis as we have in the last three years, I just think most people have moved on from that and say yeah the Greens are probably right, yes there should be medical cannabis, yes it should be a health issue not a crime, maybe the Greens are making sense because prohibition simply doesn't work.

    SIMON Co-Leader of the Green Party Rod Donald thank you so much for joining us today on Agenda.

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    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Defence drug plan slammed 9 Jul05 Press - Dominion

    ....whinging and prejudiced non-smokers, a policy that is an ass, similar uptake rates as civilians (unsurprising).... wonder whether there will ever be a similar survey of the police.... just another microcosm. /paula

    The Press (Christchurch) Sat 9 Jul 2005 Kay Blundell

    The Defence Force's drug policy has been slammed as 'a joke' and 'toothless' by staff who claim drug users are given repeated warnings before dismissal because of problems recruiting new people.

    The Defence Force's elimination and zero-tolerance drug policy has come under fire in a confidential survey of 1000 army , navy and air force staff. 'Drug users are constantly given four to five chances before they are dismissed, which is due to small unit numbers and unit staff not wishing to lose any further members. The policy is a joke and soldiers are neither worried about being caught nor tested regularly enough to deter them,' an army junior cadet said.

    One in five staff had experimented with drugs since enlisting, according to the survey, and nearly two-thirds called for stricter drug-use controls. 'Penalties are not harsh enough, there are no second chances given in battle, so why is it possible for someone to be a user and obtain rank and other privileges, such as overseas tours and postings. The policy is toothless - it states zero tolerance but gives people up to four chances in some cases,' another respondent said. 'We know if we get caught we'll just get told off. So what? We can play the system to our advantage and we have,' another army junior cadet said.

    Lack of consistency when dealing with those who tested positive for drugs was the single most significant issue raised by staff. The study says many respondents believe the consequences for staff caught using drugs depends on 'who they are, who their friends are, who will bat for them and whether they are a good rugby player'. 'I know of three servicemen who were tested positive three times and are still serving - another one was discharged after testing positive once,' said one respondent.

    Three-quarters believed drug education was important, yet over the past 12 months, only 41 per cent had attended a lecture on drugs. 'Only credible civic agencies should run drug education, not standard 'ex-druggies turned good' or tree huggers,' an army junior officer said.

    The survey, by Victoria University's master of public policy student, Andrena Patterson, a former army major, is the first of its kind. 'It shows there is a gap between what the Ministry says it will do, and reality. That gap needs to be addressed,' she said. About half of those surveyed admitted having tried cannabis and about one in 10 said they had used amphetamines or methamphetamines at some time - rates similar to those for civilians. Cannabis was the drug of choice, followed by methamphetamine, according to the survey. About 17 to 19% of low-ranking staff under the age of 25 had tried drugs since they signed up, compared with about 10% of British soldiers.

    Victoria University's Institute of Policy Study director, Dr Andrew Ladley, said the comparison should be treated with caution as the British survey of only 500 soldiers was done seven years ago. Ladley praised defence chiefs for supporting the study and their positive response to the findings. Assistant defence chief (personnel), Commodore Bruce Pepperell, said the Defence Force was working on a consistent approach across the services. 'Our intention is to keep the current system where we have one warning and, depending on the nature of the offence, the person may be dischared or given another chance. More than 3000 drug tests had been carried out within the forces this year,' he said. - Dominion Post.
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    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    An Idea For The War On Drugs

    "The drugs supply market is highly sophisticated, and attempts to intervene have not resulted in sustainable disruption to the market at any level." says John Birt in his report to #10 Downing Street.

    Birt's Downing Street report gets some scrutiny but not everyone is in agreement however, conservative Melanie Phillips called it "Blue Skies balderdash" in the Daily Mail (4 july) but still observed crime and drugs remain "mired in failure".

    While Julie-ann reveals Birt's secret 'blue skies' advice to Blair revealed
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    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Drugs - The Prime Ministers Strategy Unit

    Drugs Strategy Unit Drugs Report (ALL of it, including the concealed 'confidential' section)

    This study by the Cabinet Office's Strategy Unit on high-harm-causing drugs, reviews the impact of interventions on the drug supply chain from international production to distribution within the UK. It usefully explores the harms and consequences of 'illicit status' over the pharmacology from drugs consumption..

    Notably they cover their arse from a good kickin: The report was submitted as a contribution to debate across Government. It is not a statement of Government policy.

    The graphs are excellent. (especially page 25-27)
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    Secret report says war on hard drugs has failed - Guardian Unlimited

    What we all knew, but now, they agree Whaaa!
    Is it over? Is this the death knell?

    The 'accounted' beans have been spilled, well and truly.

    Labour Prime Minister Blair, New Zealand election, implications for drug
    policy and breaches of human rights.
    Worse than Apartheid they say... These are interesting times.

    Mr Bush? can you account for your own poverty of mind.
    Your despicable intransigence on climate change distracts from your
    wartime human rights record.
    Only in the land of the free do you have one fifth of the worlds prison
    population - the bulk of whom are non-violent 'drug offenders'.

    Tell em, everything's all right back home.... Tell em your doing what's
    good for America. Yeah Right!,2763,1520250,00.html

    Prime Minister Blair's Strategy Unit (the leaked half!)

    Blair Anderson
    50 Wainoni Road.
    Christchurch, New Zealand 8006
    ph (++643) 389 4065 cell/TXT 027 2657219 car-phone 025 2105080

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    Saturday, July 02, 2005

    drugs in schools

    letter to the Editor,
    NZ  Herald
    02 July 2005

    re: Children dealing and smoking drugs in schools

    Is the problem of possession at school failed environmental prevention? [Children Dealing, NZH 02 July]

    Prohibition is an adult concept. A principle characteristic of illicit markets is the pyramidal distribution networks foster early entry consumption, sourcing, merchandising and distribution. It is about intensive horticulture, processing, warehousing and transport logistics worth 100's of Millions of dollars even before we have the circumstance of 'illegal possession'. [Possesion is ironically about property and rights].

    Altruistic consumers are typically socially adept adults, whereas early adopters are typicaly youth whose dominant intersect is often the institutionalized context.
    Criminal activity in familial, social and institutionalized settings endangers young 'otherwise' entrepreneurs as recent statistics show [Fergusson, TV1 1july). Clearly 80% of our youth do not have low self esteem that needs coercive correction.

    Those over the age of consent would prefer a legitimate set, setting and source, yet cannabis youth prevalence data for NZ suggests it is the non consumers that are deviant. It is innocuous drug laws that put even these non-participants at risk. Youth 'cool' and peer factors 'set' among social dynamics of testosterone,  inexperience, bravado and boundary testing is the wrong place to put Police. Errors of judgment will be made with life changing outcomes. The required environmental  prevention is biopsychosocial - not brute force, or a blue uniform.

    To engage pupils in youth led prevention first identify and remove impediments  - the  'double standards' disabling health promotion. (NZ HSC "Cannabis and Mental Health Inquiry" 1998).
    Schools and trustee leadership could be putting cannabis in context and put drug policy back into the community. 

    The Netherlands 'environmental prevention model',  now showing  less than one quarter the 'cannabis' youth uptake considered it  the conservative thing to do. It might even be more sustainable than a tax cut!

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    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Deluded Drug Dog Policy

    01 Jul 2005 LTE Manukau Courier (New Zealand) re:

    Alfriston College and others acquiring the services of (anti)drug dogs is, as the evidence so blatantly shows, a waste of money.

    Any young person with a cell phone or internet access can readily share the knowledge that drug dogs cannot detect LSD, that it can be, and is, freely imported and distributed by mail disguised as the note paper within.

    This perverse fact mocks the 'feel good' rhetoric of the quoted un-named mothers. It is testimony to failed 'family values' abstinence based education touted as the solution by political hacks. Evidence of the policy deficiency is disgracefully ignored by the health intervention and promotion sector ever beguiled by increased budgets to do more of the same. Einstein called doing the same thing and expecting a different result 'insanity'.

    Our nations drug policy is a corrupt, perverse and counterproductive harm maximization  which our current 'world record' youth drug uptake evidences. Drug use among youth is now normal' suggesting it is now abstention that is deviant. (TV1 News 31june)

    It should not escape scrutiny on the hustings that this has come about under the watch of 'zero tolerant' prohibitors. Civil Society has been beguiled. Our kids, it appears, are smarter than we may give credit. Christchurch's Professor Fergusson's call for robust debate could not be more timely.

    [ends] Dear Ed,; note:** catagorically confirmed by the writer by questions to senior NZ Customs representative speaking at the Assoc Health Minister Hon Jim Anderton sponsored public meeting held at Christchurch Netball courts earlier this year. The inquiry followed a revealing Official Information Request that had potentialy very relevent segments 'blacked out' raising the writers concerns that Customs and Police 'intelligence' on this matter was misplaced. It appears as I suspected, that they KNOW that dogs cannot smell LSD, they just dont want the public to KNOW this.

    The writers interest in NZ's most popular canine behavour website (> 4Million hits 2004) and as a dog handler enhances the writers stakehold in this issue --
    Blair Anderson
    Director,  Educators for Sensible Drug Policy
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