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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drugs a 'pernicious evil' - Judge Ingram

Jail cell in the Brecksville Police Department...Image via Wikipedia

Drug offending is "a pernicious evil in our society", a Tauranga District Court judge said today when sentencing a 43-year-old Paeroa mother to a year behind bars on several cannabis related charges. [My thanks to the ODT for reporting this heinous act of incarceration, at our expense, and to achieve nothing. One one hand it is trotting out the same ol mass-mediated rhetoric but on the other it damns the policy - 12 months for the logical equivalent of selling homebrew to willing buyers. /Blair]

Emma Esma Sadlier admitted cultivating cannabis to dry, package and sell as "tinnies" to supplement her benefit.

Defence lawyer Peter Attwood told Judge Thomas Ingram she knew it was wrong but had no idea jail would be the outcome.

"Anyone who believes that is living in a dream world," the judge replied.

"If you did not know people who deal in drugs go to prison then I am sorry. This is pretty serious offending."

Sadlier was facing the court for possessing cannabis for supply, selling and cultivating it, plus possession of cannabis plant and oil and a pipe for smoking it.

"My view is that it is simply inappropriate for people who deal in drugs to be sentenced to detention at home," said Judge Ingram when he imposed a total of 12 months' imprisonment.

Crown prosecutor Hayley Booth said the defendant had a history of cannabis offending.

From late February to late March, Sadlier watered, tendered and supplied nutrients to three cannabis plants she grew in buckets behind her Paeroa home.

Over the same period she prepared harvested dry plant, wrapped it in tinfoil and sold it to numerous customers for $20 a tinnie.

When police searched her house on March 27 they found in the kitchen four tinnies ready for sale, a blister pack of cannabis oil, about 2 grams of plant loose on the bench alongside the oven element which was heating "spotting" knives, and a metal cannabis pipe.

Mr Attwood said there was no gang involvement - Sadlier had "done it all herself" for monetary gain and for her own use.

"It has been a watershed because it has jolted her into getting a job," he said.

That was why she would have liked to serve her sentence on home detention.

A Tauranga woman who grew eight plants was given 200 hours community service.

Lauren Bunyan, a single mother of four children, was convicted of cultivating cannabis.

She said the 2.21kg found by police growing under lights upstairs in her house was for her personal use.

"I have real doubts that you are able to use that amount of cannabis," said Judge Ingram.

However, there was no evidence pointing to a commercial operation.

"If you offend like this again, children or no children, you will go to prison," he warned her.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

MedPot, As seen on Grownups

I have no wish to blow anybody's bubble on this cannabis as a medicine thing. [see Grownups Comment ]
There has been a 90 year legacy of misinformation (and politically inspired fears) that has contributed to the world view that somehow cannabis is 'more' dangerous than anything else. Quite the opposite. In 1998 or thereabouts the [USA] Drug Enforcement Agency's [DEA] own appointed Judge, Justice Young found cannabis to be the 'safest therapeutic known to man' (smoked or otherwise). Now this is not without good reason. It just happens to be one of a number of plants that make a molecule group called cannabinoids (a subset of a larger groups of flavonoids, dark chocolate for example contains one such useful and protective flavonoid - try keeping me away from chocolate!)

However so as not to bore all those folk who are culturally and socially stricken with the cannabis prejudices, I wont go into detail, other than to note they too are full of cannabinoids made and mediated by our own bodies. They provide an extremely important function, more especially as we get older - both as anti-oxidant and 'governors' of cell death (apoptosis) and as mediators to our endocrine, muscular-skeletal, nervous, reproductive, and digestive systems. Now if you think I am making this up as I go I commend the skeptics amongst you to "google" an internet colleague of mine. He is Chair of Biology at Colorado University. His name is Robert Melamede. Just take a look yourself. You be your own guide. Try searching " Melamede + Cancer" for example.. or pain, or cannabis. Come to your own conclusions. (As I have done).

As to how we got into this confusing mess.... Another man whom I respect immensely passed away last week. He was a professor of law and legal advisor to the same DEA. He was co-author of THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LEGAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN MARIJUANA PROHIBITION / Richard J. Bonnie & Charles H. Whitebread, II

Charles wrote "The alleged evils of alcohol abuse were matters of public knowledge; the proper governmental response was a subject of endless public debate; enactment and repeal of Prohibition were attended by widespread public participation.
In contrast, the early narcotics legislation was promulgated largely in a vacuum. Public and even professional ignorance of the effects of narcotic drugs contributed both to the dimensions of the problem and the nature of the legislated cure. The initial legislation was attended by no operation of the public opinion process, and instead generated a new public image of narcotics use. Only after this creation of a public perception occurred did the legislative approach comport with what we shall call latent public opinion."

and he concluded:

"Whether the development of the Judicial response to exercises of the police power at the time was the result of the changing public opinion or a changing analytical framework, trends in that response were evident. It remains to be seen whether any trends are evident today to indicate how marijuana users will fare in the future."

He wrote this before we adopted the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1975.How far we have slipped..... And how many souls have suffered the ignominy of needless suffering, denied a herbal medicine just because, from the get go, we failed to have the required conversations.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Cone of Contention Ripens

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis PartyImage via Wikipedia

In the years preceding its installation, critics denounced the filigreed steelwork as "an affront" and a "vulgarity". The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party claimed it resembled a giant dope reefer.
Clearly the PRESS havent chatted with its more experienced media staff who might have set them straight as to the familar cultural expression and act of political dissent the 'enjoying of a cone' is.
The use of cannabis, and particularly of large pipes called "chalices", is an integral part of what Rastafari call Reasoning sessions. They see cannabis as having the capacity to allow the user to penetrate the truth of how things are much more clearly, as if the wool had been pulled from one's eyes. /Blair )

see the 'electoral' origins of the story...

New Zealand: Chalice 'Shrine to Cannabis Smokers'

An excellent image of "Te Cone" can be seen here

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Friday, September 26, 2008

The biggest problem with ecstasy is that it's illegal

A rational scale to assess the harm of drugs. ...Image via Wikipedia

The biggest problem with ecstasy is that it's illegal

On Friday 26th of September the UK Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) will conduct public hearings as part of its review of the classification of ecstasy. Previous comments suggest that ACMD will in all likelihood recommend ecstasy be downgraded from Class A to Class B. Whilst Vernon Coaker MP, the Government's drug spokesperson, has made it abundantly clear (in his evidence to the Science and Technology Select Committee in 2006), that whatever the evidence, the Government would not change its classification.

Thursday 25th September 2008

The same day here in New Zealand the Police are manufacturing Drug Harms by the bucket load.

English kingpin behind ecstasy haul: police NZHerald, The 38-year-old Englishman was among 12 people arrested for their part in the alleged importation of 100000 tablets of the party drug ecstasy over the past ... (they found 14,000, which means 86,000 have been distributed and consumed without seemingly harming anyone! An ommision of fact consistent with the British experience. /Blair)

73 arrested, $1m in drugs seized [], Police have arrested 73 people and uncovered up to $1 million worth of drugs in a three-month operation targeting dealers in methamphetamine, ecstasy, ...

More people sought after drug bust TVNZ

73 arrested in drug raids New Zealand Herald

73 arrested in covert drug operation Radio New Zealand - (press release)all 33 news articles »

making this all this more interesting read, Sophie Morris: Can we calm down about Ecstasy

The Transform spokesperson said:

"The ecstasy review will produce little more than posturing on all sides. Given that the Government overruled the Council on cannabis classification, the entire exercise is doomed before it has begun. The Council's time would be far better spent reviewing the harms caused by criminalising drugs in the first place.

"From Transform's perspective any reduction in unjust criminal penalties for consenting drug users is a positive step. But we remain deeply concerned that regardless of alphabetic classification, ecstasy will remain illegal, its users will still be subject to serious criminal sanctions, and the control of its production and supply will remain in the hands of unregulated criminal profiteers supplying pills and powders of unknown strength made with unknown ingredients .

"The Council's job is to reduce the health and social harms associated with the misuse of drugs. It is of significant concern that the Advisory Council is using a system of classification that was derided comprehensively by the Science and Technology Select Committee less than two years ago.

"There is no evidence that punitive law and its enforcement has anything other than, at best, a marginal impact on levels of drug use or misuse. The prohibitionist regime is unique in the public health field in deploying criminal sanctions to reduce social and health harms. It is also uniquely ineffective. The major problem with ecstasy isn't that it's classified wrongly, the problem is that it's illegal."

Notes for editors


Danny Kushlick, Head of Policy and Communications 07970 174747
Steve Rolles, Head of Research 07980 213943

About Transform

Transform Drug Policy Foundation is a charitable thinktank that exists to reduce harm and promote sustainable health and wellbeing by bringing about a just, effective and humane system to regulate and control drugs at local, national and international levels.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
Also hear: Professor Colin Blakemore, a member of the independent UK Drug Policy Commission, and Dr Philip Murphy, of Edge Hill University discuss whether the illegal drug is more dangerous than alcohol.

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Humboldt County "Where the Grass is Greener"
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don Dies For Nought

The St.Image via Wikipedia
"His life was taken as he was working hard and undercover to protect our families and the wider community from that nasty element we have all become so familiar with – illegal drug traffickers and drug users," - Papakura Mayor Calum Penrose (Locals honour slain police officer, Papakura Courier, 24 September 2008)

Police undercover and Technical Specialist Don Wilkinson was an honorable man tasked with a hopeless cause and died protecting no-one, according to Judge Jerry Paradis and recent guest of Prof. Max Abbot for his Vice Chancellor AUT Winter lecture series (Judge Paradis - Board Member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)

Police and Media are still parroting the 'suspected P-lab' line - as if they haven't checked the house yet.

The kind of prejudice expressed in Calum Penrose ill-informed rant serves only to entrench the worst attributes of our drug policy... that of prejudice and hatred. Their is no evidence yet produced that demonstrates that Don died from Methamphetamine or any other drug. He died of "Prohibition".

Has no one read about Capone, Alcohol Prohibition and the Valentines Day Massacre?

We can best support and protect our Police by ridding ourselves of the dysfunctional prohibitionist paradigm that delivers us the very tragic outcomes - 'the unintended consequences' that politicians and public servants commissioned with 'a duty of care' set out to solve.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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Sunday, September 21, 2008

'Drug Sanity Revisited' by Dave Currie

Drug Sanity revisited

A very good afternoon to you. The programme you are listening to is 'Drug Sanity revisited' and is presented for the Drug Policy and Education Council, DPEC. I'm Dave Currie. Today I will present the third of six scheduled monthly programmes.

I'll start by observing that it is hard to understand why New Zealand governments have failed to come up with any reforming legislation to ameliorate the disastrous policies of the New Zealand Misuse of Drugs Act. This came into force in 1975 as a rubberstamping exercise in parliament; that is there was no debate on the issue whatsoever. The legislation was copied from the original Misuse of Drugs Act first conceived in the USA by President Richard Nixon. And this makes one wonder how much of our government policy comes from the USA. After all we have fought in all the American inspired wars since the Vietnam war, and I have often wondered whether it is really in our interest to be sucked into wars against nations who are never likely to come across and invade New Zealand. Perhaps this is a private view but I think our biggest enemy could possibly be the very nation who we are in alliance with.

One question to ask is why have so many nations been sucked into adopting destructive American Drug Policy?

I think the answer lies in an International Treaty called the 'Single Convention on Drugs' formulated by a crooked drug policeman called Harry Anslinger who took on the role of preventing recreational marijuana use by introducing the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. The Tax Act also had the effect of making medical experimentation with cannabis almost impossible because of all the paperwork that Physicians were obliged to fill in. Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Alcohol had been prohibited since 1920 but public pressure ended it in 1933. Anslinger required another drug to take alcohol's place and justify the Bureau's existence. Marijuana filled the bill and to prohibit marijuana more effectively, in addition to the Tax Act he introduced the Single Convention on Drugs as an international treaty. This made any drug that was illegal in the USA automatically illegal in countries that had adopted the Single Convention. However the Single Convention has an out clause, which allows countries that have denounced the treaty to be no longer bound by it.

We should ask whether it is appropriate that laws put up by a crooked American policeman should apply here in New Zealand. I think New Zealand should denounce the Single Convention and join the growing list of countries that are using common sense rather than blind allegiance to destructive American Drug Policy. Indeed there is growing recognition by people in the administration of anti-drug policy that the policy is flawed and actually causes more harm than actual drug use.

Last month the former head of the United Kingdom Anti-drug Co-ordination Unit, [UKADCU], Julian Critchley, posted to the BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Mark Easton's blog, 'The War on Drugs', calling for the legalisation of drugs. Critchley said, he thought what was truly depressing about his time in the Anti-drug unit was that the overwhelming majority of professionals he met, including those from the police, the health service, government and voluntary sectors held the same view: the illegality of drugs causes far more problems for society and the individual than it solves. Yet publicly, all those intelligent people were forced to repeat the nonsensical mantra that the government would be 'tough on drugs' even though they all knew that the government's policy was actually causing the harm.

Today, as the notion of legalising drugs is making its way into the mainstream political agenda for the first time in living memory, one of the most common objections to it is that it represents a high-risk experiment whose outcome cannot be accurately modelled or predicted. However Dr John Mark's Widnes experiment clearly showed that if drugs are legalised in the proper way all the most harmful outcomes from drug use are eliminated. And it makes sense to have a controlled market in drugs. After all if there is a demand for a commodity someone will always come up with a supply. And if businessmen within the law are not allowed to be drug dealers, criminals will readily take up that role. In fact as Ethan Nadellman pointed out, the real beneficiaries of USA drug policy are criminal drug dealers.

Last month I was invited to a Harbour City Rotary Club meeting where the former Canadian Judge, Jerry Paradis was guest speaker. Judge Paradis retired as a judge for the Provincial Court of British Columbia, in 2003. During his time on the bench, he dealt with over a thousand cases involving the possession, trafficking, or production of drugs. His experiences led him to become a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, (LEAP) for short, an organisation comprised of current and former members of law enforcement and criminal justice communities who speak out about the failures of existing drug policies. He came to New Zealand as an Executive Board member of LEAP to present to the New Zealand Law Commission's review on Drug Policy and the Law, and to undertake speaking engagements around the country from the 20th of August to the 12th of September.

The title for the judge's Harbour City Rotary address was 'Prohibition is not just a failure, it's a self perpetuating policy disaster!' The judge dealt with the huge cost of prohibition and showed it was a failure because of the high rate of imprisonment caused by prohibition and the necessity of having to build more and more prisons.

John Marks's experiment in Widnes showed there was a lot of extra real crime generated from prohibition as a result of drug users committing property crime in order to afford the costly drugs they bought on the illegal market. And prohibition doesn't really cut down on the number of drug users, so the question to ask is whether the prohibition is pointless in not having any effect on the drug market. Indeed Dr John Marks's Widnes experiment described in the first of this series of Drug Sanity programmes found that by supplying users with drugs of their choice, along with instructions for their safe use, led to the demise of the illegal drug market. This in turn reduced the number of new recruits to drug use.

It is encouraging that it is not just in the UK that professional people like Julian Critchley are sceptical of the value of prohibiting drugs. After all people should have learnt from the American experience and its disastrous historic alcohol prohibition. That prohibition clearly did not work and produced a major breakdown in law and order and an army of gangsters like Al Capone. Policy makers who do not learn from big mistakes made in history are bound to repeat them. Going back to Judge Paradis's address, he made mention of the' Canadian Government's Le Dain Commission of Inquiry into the non-medical use of drugs. The Commission's 1970 report while baulking at recommending legalisation of cannabis nevertheless came out in favour of decriminalisation. It recommended non-prosecution for minor crimes of possession or selling small amounts of cannabis and the criminal records of those who had committed such minor crimes be expurgated. President Nixon's Commission of Inquiry led by Governor Shafer reported in 1972 and was slightly more liberal in its recommendations. While not recommending legalisation it nevertheless supported the idea of partial prohibition where for instance the law would turn a blind eye to possession by individuals in private of small amounts of marijuana. In addition it recommended that penalties for other marijuana offences be made less severe.

The NZ Blake Palmer Board of Health Committee's report of 1973 recommended that the prohibition of marijuana be continued so long as it was shown to be largely effective. As the present rate of cannabis offences is well over 20 times the 1973 level it is clear the marijuana prohibition is absolutely ineffective. It is becoming clear that there is quite a lot of support for a law change for marijuana amongst some members of the NZ parliament. This came over in the report of the 1998 Health Committee Inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis. The Committee recommended that the Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and reconsider the legal status of cannabis. The later Health committee 'inquiry into the public health strategies related to cannabis use and the most appropriate legal status' came out with a report in August 2003. Although the Committee did not recommend having a controlled legal market in cannabis it did come out with some softening recommendations, namely, that the government consider diverting minor cannabis offenders into compulsory health assessment for first possession and use offences, rather than a criminal conviction. The committee also recommended that the police expand the diversion scheme to all parts of NZ with the aim of reducing the number of minor cannabis offences through the courts. By and large the report was very disappointing but shows in my view that NZ has a lot in common with the USA in having a puritan religious group who want to control every aspect of life in other New Zealanders.

At this point I will ask a leading question, namely who has the right to determine what victimless activities are allowable to people. A second question I ask is why should any particular group have any more right than other group to proscribe victimless activities that does not affect anyone else. I will say more on this next time.

The time has now come for me to close with a short advertisement for my book 'Marijuana- facts and case for legalisation'. You can get a copy by telephoning me at Wellington 5891902. That is 5891902. Listen in to another Drug Sanity programme in four weeks time. Good afternoon and have a good day.

/Dave Currie

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Criminal Drug Intelligence We Pay For

While I had Judge Jerry Paradis visiting, I inquired upon the NZ Police NHQ national drug intelligence bureaus if they would be interested in meeting and discussing some of the issues surrounding gangs, drug policy and the international perspective on harm minimisation (and the recently announced BERL Drug Harm Index report) - despite some careful research on who to talk to and via the more general inquiry, it was found that the vessel was empty. 
Despite the Canterbury District Police Commander saying in public meetings that he was open to 'public input' on violence, alcohol an youth, he has consistently refused any meeting with the writer (or indeed Jerry Paradis). He attributes his non-availabiity to 'the political context and proximity to the election' yet he made the above pronouncment at meetings hosted in Christchurch Central by MP Nick Wagner and Labour Candidate Brendon Burns.
this was my key in to National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB)
(1)  Criminal Analysis, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Pacific Region), 5255 Heather St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V5Z 1K6
Received: 29 August 2007  Accepted: 1 February 2008  Published online: 22 February 2008
Abstract  This article explores the possibility of measuring the impact of law enforcement on organized crime in a reliable and accountable manner, both in general terms and with a practical focus on the Canadian context. In considering measures to combat organized crime, a focus on process measurement has obscured the more substantial question of progress as regards the dependent variable itself: the bottom line of reducing the impact of organized criminal behaviour. While outcome measures are more challenging to identify than process measures, this fact alone does not minimize the need to demonstrate the connection between organized crime enforcement and its presumed outcomes to a greater degree of certainty. To date, this has not been realized to any significant degree, as revealed by a review of existing international approaches to measuring the impact of enforcement activity. The article argues that a multidisciplinary focus on community level indicators of crime, if initially less accessible than process measures of impact on organized crime groups, offers promise as a measurement of absolute and relative impact of state investment in enforcement.
What I found sriking was the consistent manner in which the NDIB 'refused to go there'. They and the NZ Police have a legacy of nonparticipation but endlessly wax lyrical about 'drug policy, community and methamphetamine'. The death of Don Wilkinson is a case in point. Further the expendature on 'public discourse' that engenders fears in the public has risen to 'excess' with the Police presenting the methlab horrors to the Council's "dog control' conference in Masterton friday last. None of the efficacy of this is ever tested.
This is why the Police have resisted any cost benefit accounting based on first principles and are hiding behind the BERL report commissioned by.... the POLICE. (more of that 'we'll investigate ourselves, because only we can!)
A useful start (aside from a full assessment of drug prohibition expenditure and return - ie: J MIRON/Havard Schoolof Economics ) must begin with rejecting the ambiguous 'work performance' measures on seizures and arrests. It bears no correlation to effectiveness of the intervention, worse, it masks the expenditure that could be better used in harm minimisation.
The protocol development towards such a framework has been undertaken by the Australian Institute of Criminology (on behalf of Australia's National Drug Law Enforcement and Research Fund. Its purpose was to 'inform the most effective interventions'.... see A Framework for Measuring the Performance of Drug Law Enforcement . This document when viewed critically against the  systemic and chronic  limitations of the current New Zealand approach shows up our National Drug Intelligence to be either 'honourable men on a hopeless cause' or baldfaced liars self servingly lacking in public empathy. The later looks increasingly the case. 
The New Zealand Police (and the minions of 'tough on crime' politicians for whom meth is a public relations windfall) need to be judged against outcomes. If what we have being doing for the past 33 years (1975 Misuse of Drug Act) was supposed to reduce drug crime and drug related (prohibition) crime, reduce organised crime, improve public health and improve public amenity then this upcoming election is testimony to its historic and current failure.
My 'the elephant in the room' EACD, MCDP, and IACDP inter sectoral failure complaint to the State Services Commission looks increasingly valid. Pity. After calling in the legal experts and discussing it at the highest level (although it was only the acting commissioner) they argued that the work was being done (my complaint was somehow 'proof' the agencies were taking care of business) and referred my extensive critical correspondence on to the respective Ministries of Justice and Health. 
Did they bother to write me....even to acknowledge the buck had been passed? What do you think?
Next month (20-23rd Oct) is the 17th International Safe Communities Conference in Christchurch "Working together to make a difference". Sponsored by Ministry of Justice, Safe Communities, WHO and New Zealand Injury Prevention Strategy (  The stated aim of this conference is very noble, even laudable. Dr Carolyn Coggan, Director (and Chair) Safe Communities Foundation states variously....
  • share knowledge of what works and what doesn't work,
  • be inspired to focus efforts more,
  • we all have an important part to play,
  • learning of the cost-benefit of improved community safety,
  • hear the latest research and evaluation findings,
  • identification of best practice models....
  • increase synergies and foster partnerships, (injury, violence and crime prevention),
  • improve the evidence base,
  • enhance expertise, exchange and transfer knowledge,
  • facilitate partnerships
  • and for practitioners, researchers, community leaders, policy makers and advocates "to join the debates"
YET.... drug policy and all that that means slips, yet again, under the radar.
It is a shame that it costs just shy of 1000 dollars to attend.
Our Drug Intelligence is Criminal and Expensive.
Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
Social Ecologist 'at large'
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cannabis dealer has fight to keep house

Simon John Inwood has some explaining to do about the $70,000 the police found in a safe at Christchurch house where he was dealing in cannabis. (Press: )

He also has a fight on his hands to keep the house for his partner and the mother of his two children. The Crown wants to take it away because of the commercial drug dealing that was going on there.

The explanations are scheduled for November 20, when Inwood's mother, 48-year-old Sharon Mary Lillian Inwood, is also due to oppose her property being taken away. It is close to her son's house in Main North Road.

The mother, son and his partner have all pleaded guilty to cannabis charges and were to be sentenced by Justice John Fogarty in the High Court at Christchurch today.

But Justice Fogarty went ahead only with the sentencing of the partner, 28-year-old Raewyn Elizabeth Tomlins, on charges of allowing the home to be used for the cannabis operation, and selling some of it herself.

He sentenced her to four months of home detention, but ensured that she would still be able to leave the house if any medical emergencies arose relating to her children, aged three years and 18 months.

He said it would have been an onerous penalty to remove her from the children for a term of imprisonment.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Paradis On Hammers, Airguns and Reason

Drugs should be decriminalised and regulated

The shooting of Sergeant Don Wilkinson and the hammer homicide of John John Hapeta were unnecessary crimes. Blair Mulholland explains why here.


They were crimes that resulted directly out of the prohibition of drugs. With Wilkinson, the facts are relatively clear. The circumstances as I understand them surrounding the death of Hapeta are that he was starting out selling Cannabis and the two youths who murdered him were “protecting their patch”.

One would lose count of the number of burglaries committed, or the number of cars stolen, or the aggravated robberies committed each year in order solely for the offenders to obtain cash to purchase prohibited drugs on the black market. The prohibition of drugs, whether they’re called recreational or whatever label attaches, not only does not work, it in fact makes society more dangerous and unsafe. If we want a safer and crime-reduced country then all drugs should be decriminalised and regulated immediately. The regulation can occur through the sale by government controlled stores. These stores would be a monopoly and they would not be allowed to advertise.

Those are my beliefs. They are also the view of Judge Jerry Paradis who is in New Zealand to present to a government ministry on drug prevention. Judge Paradis is a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) and was a Canadian District Judge for 28 years. He’s seen it all.

During his lecture at AUT on Friday he spoke of how during his bench service, the supply side of illegal drugs increased hugely yet the number of addicts stayed relatively stable: the increase of drugs did not result in more drug problems. Of course that is because individuals are able to decide for themselves that drugs are bad news and the increase in their supply didn’t mean humans weren’t able to choose not to use them.

Judge Paradis described how the drive to take drugs was innate and therefore there will always be demand to match the supply. The LeDain Report, a Canadian Government commissioned report in 1972, was the most extensive report ever undertaken in Canada on the prohibition of drugs whose thesis was that the criminal law is the least effective way to deal with drug issues. In New Zealand during the last two weeks we have seen just that.

A better example of the way prohibition has conclusively and demonstrably failed is the USA. One of the most morally righteous countries in the World decided to “get tough on drugs” during the Nixon era [1968-1976]. The odd reasoning behind it was that drugs are bad for you and your health and well-being. The USA decided to “deal” with the inevitable social and health problems caused by drug abuse by invoking the criminal law. It has spent between then and now approximately $US 1,000,000,000,000.00 [One Trillion dollars] on the issue. The Drug Enforcement Agency budget in 1971 was $75 million dollars. In 2001 it was $1.6 Billion. As a result of this “war on drugs” drug arrests quadrupled and the percentage of prison inmates committed for drug offences increased from 26% in 1973 to 56% in 2001. Yet the drug ‘problem’, and of course related crime problems, have got worse. Prohibition has failed.

What prohibition does is this:

1. It creates a black market – approximately $500 Billion per annum worldwide and gives enormous profits for the drug cartels;
2. Property crime, violent crime and other violent crime (all known as drug related crime) increases;
3. There is no quality control over the drugs being taken: who knows what that white pill contains;
4. It is a tremendous drain on police, court and justice resources.

In short, the cost of prohibition is exorbitant. It is unnecessary. It is draining. All of these reasons are why, in New Zealand, drugs should be decriminalised and regulated.

Judge Paradis stated that during his time on the Bench, 60% of the crimes that came before him were drug prohibition crimes. That can be reduced overnight by decriminalising and regulating drugs.

Section 4 of New Zealand’s Sale of Liquor Act is a relevant starting point for the policy prescription. It says:

The object of this Act is to establish a reasonable system of control over the sale and supply of liquor to the public with the aim of contributing to the reduction of liquor abuse, so far as that can be achieved by legislative means.


Section 4 acknowledges control over the supply; has the aim of contributing to the reduction of abuse; but only so far as that can be achieved by the law.

That is what the crux is. The criminal law can only achieve so much in dealing with drug prohibition crimes. The two recent murders highlight that the level of muchness is in fact very low.

Let's forget about being precious on this issue and face reality: prohibition is an abject failure.

Let's get some personal responsibility back into people's lives. Let's face it, if 'P' was decriminalised and its supply regulated overnight would you go and buy some tomorrow? Most would answer 'NO' because it's bad shit. The ones who would can be helped through medicine, not handcuffs.

More at:

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Winter Lecture - Judge Jerry Paradis

Auckland University of TechnologyImage via Wikipedia
Jerry Paradis, Judge, Provincial Court of British Columbia (retired) will deliver a paper entitled:

“Drugs and the Law”

Time: 4.30pm, September 12, 2008.

Venue: AUT city campus, Room WA220 (A lecture theatre in the WA building).

The presentation elaborates on the origins, failures and many unintended, but entirely predictable, negative consequences of prohibition as a social policy to deal with the inevitable personal and social ill-effects of drug abuse. While of particular relevance to lawyers, public health professionals and others who work in the drugs field, this lecture will be of interest to many people who variously engage in, think about and are affected by drug use and drug policy. This event is the Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Winter Lecture and is produced in association with the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, the National Institute for Public Health and Mental Health Research, AUT University, and the New Zealand Society for Legal and Social Philosophy.

Event Organised by MildGreens inconjunction with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Judge Jerry Paradis, Ilam Campus Wednesday 10th Sep


Judge Jerry Paradis

(retired), from Vancouver, British Columbia, speaks about

Drug Prohibition

Date: Wed 10 September

Time-Place: 3pm Economics Dept, Room 534

Jerry Paradis
"Prohibition is an attempt to repeal the law of supply and demand"

Jerry Paradis obtained his law degree from the University of British Columbia in 1969. By 1975, he had already been appointed to the Provincial Court of BC, on which he served as a judge until his retirement in 2003. Canada's provincial courts handle about 95% of the country's criminal cases, and so Jerry dealt with over a thousand drug cases, be they for possession, trafficking, or production. "My awareness of the futility of and damage caused by prohibition came gradually," he relates, "but I can say that I was without any doubts from the late '80s on

Shortly after retiring, Jerry found himself even more seriously pondering the drug issue, and the result was a research paper, "A Modest Proposal for a Sane Drug Policy. The greatest irony that Jerry observes from scanning the notes he made on each of the 1,000+ drug cases over which he presided is that "the same number of people are still choosing to ingest mood-altering substances, the same proportion are addicted, and there is the same persistent but increasingly lucrative and efficient system of supply".

Jerry is a member of LEAP, "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition"


Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Media’s Characterisation of Homegrow’s

Official logo Blair Anderson Says: September 8th, 2008 at 1:17 am

The media’s characterisation of “homegrow’s” guns and gangs is regrettably consistent with the experience in New Zealand, an island nation both self sufficient in pot and ranking higher than Jamaica in OECD consumption statistics. Clearly, this billion dollar business has some gray areas due for the large part to prohibition’s unintended consequences but it can also be described in other terms that commerce would envy. For all that turnover, just where are the security guards, locked safes, accountants, lawyers and plethora of other necessary personal?
Consider horse gambling? How much investment, capital and working, has to go into the billion dollar wealth creation (equal to the annual pot trade) for individuals, syndicates, clubs and taxation needs to all be met. Now line up the money counters, cleaners and everything in between.

Growing pot is one of the most efficient, friendly, trusting and benign industries ever. It’s vilification by the Police is laughable given the ROI we [taxpayers] get from their deficit funded efforts. The stupidity is civil society just cannot see drug policy in economic terms.

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Critchley Convinces UK Press, NZ Press 'ignorant'

Call to make drugs legal
Blackpool Citizen, UK - 23 Aug 2008
In newspaper articles this month Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said that current government policies on drugs ...
Call to make drugs legal
Preston Citizen, UK - 23 Aug 2008
In newspaper articles this month Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said that current government policies on drugs ...
Call to make drugs legal
Chorley Citizen, UK - 23 Aug 2008
In newspaper articles this month Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said that current government policies on drugs ...
Call to make drugs legal
Lancashire Telegraph, UK - 23 Aug 2008
In newspaper articles this month Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said that current government policies on drugs ...
Legalise all drugs, says MEP
Rochdale Online, UK - 22 Aug 2008
Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit, said that current government policies on drugs were pointless and not supported by ...
It is naive to believe that legalising drugs would reduce crime, UK - 20 Aug 2008
If not, there'll always be a thriving black market, says Ian Oliver According to Julian Critchley, the former civil servant responsible for coordinating the ...
Ian Oliver: Legalising drugs would only make matters worse
Independent, UK - 18 Aug 2008
In The Independent last week, Julian Critchley said that legalisation would be "less harmful than the current strategy" and that an "overwhelming majority ...
Richard Ingrams' Week: We can't go on blaming the system for drug ...
Independent, UK - 15 Aug 2008
It is not clear what Mr Julian Critchley, who wrote in these pages in favour of legalising all hard drugs, did when he was the director of the grandly ...
Europe: Former British Anti-Drug Official Now Calls For Legalization
Drug War Chronicle, DC - 15 Aug 2008
Julian Critchley, former director of the UK Anti-Drugs Coordination Unit in the Cabinet Office, said that his views were shared by "the overwhelming ...
All Experts Agree: Legalize Drugs
CounterPunch, CA - 15 Aug 2008
By JULIAN CRITCHLEY Eight years ago, I left my civil service job as director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-Ordination Unit. I went partly because I was sick of ...
The drugs debate
Plymouth Evening Herald, UK - 15 Aug 2008
The latest expert to weigh in with a plea for another look is Julian Critchley, former director of the Government's anti-drugs unit, no less. ...
A future can't be built on the politics of fear
The Herald, UK - 14 Aug 2008
JULIAN Critchley was once director of the UK government's Anti-Drug Coordination Unit. He left eight years ago to retrain as a teacher. ...
Iran and Israel, Olympic Excellence, and Georgia's Crisis
Council on Foreign Relations, NY - 14 Aug 2008
Leave It: The former director of the UK Anti-Drug Co-Ordination Unit Julian Critchley writes in a column that all the experts admit that we should legalize ...
Cocaine, heroin and other illegal drugs should be legalised claims ..., UK - 13 Aug 2008
Julian Critchley, ex-head of the Cabinet Office's antidrugs unit, said the current policy was like "shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic". ...
DRUG BAN 'CRAZY', UK - 13 Aug 2008
Julian Critchley, ex-head of the Cabinet Office's antidrugs unit, said the current policy was like "shifting the deckchairs on the Titanic". ...
Ex UK Drug Policy Specialist-Prohibition is a Bust, MA - 13 Aug 2008
the Blog posting where Julian Critchley made his comment is linked in the article, it is comment #73 for fast reference. I'll also say, I have heard exactly ...

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pro Vice-Chancellor's Winter Lecture - 'Drugs and the Law'

Time: 4.30pm, September 12, 2008.

In association with the Gambling and Addictions Research Centre, National Institute for Public Health and Mental Health Research, AUT University, and the New Zealand Legal and Social Philosophy Society

You are invited to the following lecture by visiting Canadian judge Jerry Paradis. He is in New Zealand to make a submission to the NZ Law Commission's Review on Drug Policy and the Law. His visit has received widespread media attention.

Following the lecture there will be time for questions and discussion, refreshments and socialising.

While of particular relevance to lawyers, public health professionals and others who work in the drugs field, this lecture will be of interest to many people who variously engage in, think about and are affected by drug use and drug policy.


location map see

Judge Jerry Paradis,

'Drugs and the Law'

Judge Paradis has dealt with over a thousand drug cases. He seeks a reduction in drug-related harms - to individuals, families and wider society. However, he sees present drug law and its application as a contributor to these harms, rather than a solution. During his nearly 30 years on the bench Judge Paradis became increasingly disillusioned with prohibition and criminal justice approaches to drug use. Reflecting on notes from cases he presided over, Judge Paradis reflects "the same number of people are choosing to ingest mood-altering substances, the same proportion are addicted, and there is the same persistent but increasingly lucrative and efficient system of supply. We - citizens, police and judges - have lived and worked within the orthodoxy that all drugs are inherently evil (except, of course, alcohol) and that prohibition and punishment can rid us of the. How wrong we have been."

This lecture draws on the speaker's expertise in human rights, jurisprudence and the international debate concerning drug policy and the place of the law and harm minimisation.

Sheree Green-Molloy

Executive Assistant for Professor Max Abbott
Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean
Faculty of Health & Environmental Sciences
AUT University (North Shore)
90 Akoranga Drive
Private Bag 92006, Northcote
Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Ph: + 64 9 921 9894
Fax: + 64 9 921 9706

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Blair Anderson
ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219
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