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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Enemies of Society Grow Weeds - Doh!

Map of vegetation in NigeriaImage via Wikipedia "quite a number of our forest reserves have today been effectively penetrated, with the active connivance of some unscrupulous persons who for the sake of peanuts, have decided to look the other way while enemies of the society grow weeds that pose a threat to our collective existence."

Nigeria: 'S' West Now Hub Of Cannabis Trade:

Sounds a lot like Mr Dunne!

Blair Anderson


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Friday, November 28, 2008

Beyond the Drug War, Inst/Policy Studies

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 10:   U.S. President Geo...Image: Getty Images via Daylife Excerpt from, A New U.S. Approach Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), a project of the Institute for Policy Studies


The Obama administration could learn valuable lessons from some of its Latin American counterparts.

First, it could recognize that the international drug control policies implemented over the past several decades have failed to make any significant dent in the supply of illicit drugs.

Second, it could adopt measures that reduce the harm caused by both drug use and the "war on drugs."

Completely eliminating the demand or production of illicit drugs is simply not achievable. The challenge, therefore, is to put into place policies that mitigate the harm caused by drug use to individuals, families, and communities, and the harm or negative consequences caused by illicit drug production and the policies intended to contain it.

The issue of proportionality of sentencing is a major problem in the United States and the Latin American countries "persuaded" to follow its lead (more often than not as a result of threats of losing U.S. trade benefits and economic assistance). In addition to disproportionate sentences for crimes committed, the United States has long pushed for the criminalization of drug consumption and has continued to hold fast to that approach even as many European and other countries have increasingly treated drug abuse as a public health problem.


Because drugs are bad doesn't mean prohibition is good.
Supporting prohibition and being pro-human rights is a contradiction.

The international conventions are an 'immoral and unjust contradiction' manufacturing quantifiable harms.

They must be changed. It is an imperative. /Blair

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dutch mayors back plan to cultivate cannabis

Cannabis sativa, scientific drawing.Image via Wikipedia

4:00AM Tuesday November 25, 2008
The Dutch city of Eindhoven has caused a stir with a plan to set up a cannabis plantation to supply marijuanaMore

This NZH item is notable for the lack of any cognition as to why it might be relevant to the massive demograph of New Zealand'ers for whom Cannabis is a familiar experience given that we passed into law the very regulations (Class D) required to supply and control soft drugs such as cannabis. /Blair

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Jeremy Douglas, RNZ interview.

The Radio New Zealand National logoImage via Wikipedia
re: Interview by Kathryn Ryan on Radio New Zealand

09:20am New Zealand and the international drug trade / Jeremy Douglas, Manager of the UNODC's Global Smart programme which is tracking the international drug trade, which he says is getting increasingly sophisticated. (listen here)

Jeremy Douglas, Manager of the UNODC's Global Smart programme is obviously the product of a dumbed down education system.

There is nothing smart about this man. He is a puppet ideologue rabbiting 'more of the same' failed UN drug war creating fears, drug markets and drug related harms where there should be none.
Shinjuku Triad SocietyImage via Wikipedia
Watch the sleigh of hand descriptions associating TRIADS with precursors and local gangs, horse tranquilizers and especially Ecstasy (MDMA), one of the more benign drugs now vilified by the prohibitory politics and vested interests passing off as health prevention - and he is here professing to inform OUR Police! Keep him out of the country, he and his 'emerging drug threat' message is more dangerous than any radical Muslim cleric.

New Zealand's problem with and popularity of methamphetamine is a PRODUCT of the very system he describes.

He and his ilk are the very reason UNGASS is re-examining the Hoover/Nixon/Reagan/Bush 'War on Drugs' as is our own Law Commission.

Supporting prohibition and being anti-crime is a contradiction. Because drugs are bad doesn't mean prohibition is good.

Douglas no doubt must be appalled to learn that on Nov 6th, New Zealand legislated recreational soft drug use, making provision for controlled markets. Now there would have been in interesting question for someone purporting to be so well informed!


Blair Anderson
50 Wainoni Road,

03 3894065

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Doubt Cast On Psychosis Connection.

Animated Brain. The brain is divided into the ...POT laws a Virtual Reality
Image via
....the odds of an association between cannabis and psychosis is “low.” / British Journal of Psychiatry.

Blair Anderson

Parietal lobe
Occipital lobe
Temporal lobe

This really is about POT law reform . (and some wonder why this is called Blair's Brain on Cannabis!)

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Re: [AGD] Campaign review

The parliament election is over. The important point is that Greens got
in because parliament has proportional representation. Local government
is important too. I wish we could have a campaign for STV for local body
elections, especially for mayor.
Imagine!, a Mayor with over 50% support and an empathy with the constituency. Garry Moore did nothing to help this issue dropping the wards, councillors and adopting portfolios while refusing to accept that STV could vote an office of one (or two in the case of wards). STV would have worked excellently with full council and wards.
For example, last minute voters in the 2007 CHCH postal ballot could have put the unwanted 'fellow' (in this case, gender specific) last on their ranking list... it could have the difference.
When the counts come in under STV, the result better reflects (even for the unsuccessful candidates and those who voted for [prioritised] them) the community's sense of "issues".. it is an enduring signal candidates next time and to the elected sitting council/cmte/house   where the consensus is.
With STV (unlike an other system on the table) you can vote for who you don't want! (isnt that the best strategic vote!)  
That's how it works too. A point I have made both at the select cmte and during my various mayoral stints. (thanks to those who approach me and say "I have never thought about it that way.. how come it's not explained that way?) 
Surrounding electoral referendum, I think, to improve MMP, we could be using the meek method for both electorate votes and party votes in general elections. There is nothing confusing about this, other than to those who see only winners and losers.. and want their pick to win (and dont understand why their rational choice didn't). Adopting STV across the board may be a big ask, but MMP with runoff may just be the saleable adjustment. (no more 5% - gone by scrunchtime)
STV delivers consensus politics. Imagine a real 'coalition of the willing'.
In changing and testing environments (ie:climate change/duress, fiscal meltdowns yadda yadda) STV's capacity building and prioritisation of issues delivers robust non-partisan (ie:evidence based) solutions.
Democracy requires social buy in, STV engages.
Further, it is a much more engaging approach, resistant to the 'presidential' 2 horse politics of certain recent mayoral campaigns. The public can have faith in the result because NO-ONE is at the table on our behalf without 50%+1 vote support. That is the elected authority that is required when tough decisions have to be made.
STV protects minority views and give them a stake-hold in matters of business EVEN if there was no delegate (pick your issue) actually AT council, STV's capture of the will of the voter  ensures the sentiment is embodied across the council. This applies irrespective of HOW MANY councillors though more is IMHO more (ie 24 is better than 12) as minority voices have to access 'for a voice to seen to be heard'. 
[For example with the issue around CHCH tenancy/rents. Small number of people affected directly, large number of ratepayer$...  tyranny of the majority! The rental estate was created to insulate older/vulnerable folk against rent rises.  (yet we have spent 100 million on computers and staff without as much as a questioning of efficacy/proportionality) ]
STV would make the media a better 'reporter' of core issues. Ideas before personality!!  (remember?  contest of ideas, that awefully greek idea, the core behind demos..'democracy' [demokratia = people power]
If MMP was sent to confuse us!  STV is Social Ecology applied, true voting 'for the environment in which we live'.
BTW: The Greens have got more than just an extra seat in the house, the value is not in the seat rather the quality of the arse that sits in it... and that, in this case is more than the sum of the parts that come into contact. Good on ya KennedyG!  
In that regard, I concede, MMP worked, just a little bit!!  (having said that, the MIldGreens have reliably predicted the specials and the role they play in the final house outcome to decimal accuracy! One only need look at the consensus for cannabis law reform in special contribution to the final count these past MMP elections to validate 'a special insight' oft ignored. (grin)  Good on the ALCP for representing the NZ Green issue! Specials prove they are best 'at the margins' - no one goes up more than them! And for anyone who sees this holistically... KennedyG is riding the hempsters 'sentiments' coat tails - just as the Greens have done since standing alone under MMP. With a Law Commission review come April, this is one social issue that the GREENS must own or loose credibility 'big time'. Class D [now law] was made specially with that [mild] GREEN stuff in mind.
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Experts pretend black cannabis trade harmless....

University of Auckland
"The economic characteristics of the cannabis black market suggest it may only generate a low to moderate social harm. The relatively low black market price of cannabis, and the personalised nature of transactions, mean the retail market generates relatively little violence or public nuisance."

(May 2001, para 22, A Submission to the Health Select Committee Inquiry into the Public Health Effects and Legal Status of Cannabis. Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit Runanga, Wananga, Hauora me te Paekaka Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland.)

Insert image of 14 year old South Auckland boy, hammered to death in front of his whanau for a cannabis tinnie!

"Family members have told how John, his mother and two of his friends were at home in Justamere Place, Weymouth, when two masked men burst in through the back door. The friends were celebrating a birthday.
John's mother ordered the gatecrashers to leave, but they later returned and attacked John outside. The mother of a boy who saw the bashing said one of the attackers was carrying a hammer and the other a gun. John died that night of bluntforce trauma to the back of his head." -

Blair Anderson

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Random Drug Testing Coming To A Street Near You.

Judge Jerry Paradis gave us some insight on drug testing that applies irrespective of the 'state of the technology' - its still a machine and the test is still arbitrary - bearing little correlation to 'evidence of impairment'

Former London "top cop" Chief Det Super, Eddie Ellison described such testing as the logical equivalent of licking an exhaust pipe to see if the car had been speeding. He also had grave A road side warning in Victoria, Australia.Image via Wikipediaconcerns as to the public perception of Police in general arguing that any such 'goodwill' cache will satisfy 'a few, desperate for drug policy to somehow work' while degrading vital public support. His emphasis was on good police management, value for money resourcing and effective evidence based options.

It is a dangerous step in invasive practice degrading civil liberty, and represents the worst in "pharmakos" - (google it here)

In Scotland a new technology that detects the merest hint of illegal drugs on the hands of [potential] patrons of bars and night clubs leads to forbidden entry and in liaison with police providing 'probable cause' to search invoked.

It is a small step for 'drug intel' to do the same from roadside collected data. (data matching, so clearly protected against in the beginning of Wanganui Computer central records, is now common practice)

We should not suck up to this in silence, the NATIONAL PARTY has indicated it will pass at the earliest opportunity this perceived to be 'tough on crime' legislation. Smoking a Bong and Driving!Image: Mike Kline via Flickr

(see Timaru Herald's slightly more considered DRUNK, rather than drugged drivers, are the more prolific on South Canterbury roads. compared to Roadside testing for drugged drivers hailed in Wairapa Times-Age.)

Clearly this is an issue in which public perceptions will be fundamental to the justification. (note the comment in the Time-Age "a two-year campaign in Britain led to a halving, to none, of dead young male drivers being on drugs. " - so just how big exactly was the problem? Now compare that to alcohol! Could they be so lucky! )

Media has set the ground for this radical intervention with its policy, intended or otherwise of pharmakos. (all drug use is misuse, all illegal drug users are bad, and legal drug abusers can go to hell too.)

We are in dangerous social engineering territory....far far more dangerous than anything LABOUR was accused of. Fake Driver in a HondaImage by CalAggie via Flickr

We need a constitution and protection from the corrosive excesses of givamint.


Motorists to face roadside drug tests

Police to use handheld machine giving fast results from next year

By Michael Savage, Political Correspondent
Friday, 21 November 2008

New technology that can test drivers for illegal drugs in as little as 90 seconds will be ready for police use as early as next year, The Independent has learnt.

Government officials are keen to approve the roadside gadgetry "as soon as possible", with developers working to have the devices ready for use by the second half of next year. The breakthrough technology will allow police officers to test drivers for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamines and amphetamines by testing a swab of a driver's saliva in a handheld device. (one needs to be very precautionary, this is and has 'serious' implications for those accused - very serious, and socially very expensive, yet the problem space may be very small and best addressed by enabling credible health promotion)

Roadside testing has been hampered in the past by the slowness of the process, which can take about 10 minutes. Other effective drugs tests require a urine sample (largely ineffective and socially unacceptable in practice), making them difficult to implement for drug-driving tests. ( Just because we have found an easy way doesn't make the policy automatically acceptable or appropriate)

The Transport minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, wants to crack down (war talk alert) on those who use a car while under the influence of drugs, including legal drugs that can impair concentration. Up to a fifth of drivers killed in road accidents are found to have drugs in their system. (it is known that inclusion of cannabis testing 'data' grossly distorts this data set in favour of the elected official whose 'policy' of cracking down is expediency pandering to fears where there may well be none. )

An older version of the technology is already being used by the Home Office to test offenders (and innocent people) for drugs. They are also used for roadside testing by police in countries including Australia, Italy and Croatia. (which still doesn't make it pass the analytic standard, Australia's experience has not been as good as this would imply)

A swab of saliva is placed in a handheld tester the size of a chip-and-pin machine. Officers are then told (by a machine) whether the driver has passed or failed the test and which drugs have been detected. (watch out the poppy seed bun and innumerable other false positives.!)

A (unnamed) spokesperson at the Department for Transport said: "We are working very closely with the Home Office to make sure the approval document needed for roadside devices is completed as soon as possible. We are serious about tackling the (unquantified) problem of drug-driving."

Talks have been held between the company producing the technology, Concateno, and the Department for Transport. Philip Hand, a consultant with Concateno, said: "The new system will be easy for police to use and appropriate for roadside tests (sales pitch alert). We are hoping to receive the necessary approval before the devices are ready to be rolled out at the end of the year." (absent evidence this intervention is even warranted, in particular, for cannabis, where the correspondence to public danger is unproven or the 'harms' of creating unintended social downsides uncosted. )

The Government plans to create legislation to bring drug-driving in line with drink-driving. (and the evidence for this is? alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that has a linear correlation to impairment, whereas for cannabis the determinant is pharmakos ) Other measures proposed in its road safety consultation, published yesterday, include a plan to ban drivers who are twice caught exceeding a speed limit by 20mph. The Government is also considering a lowering of the legal alcohol limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg – the level most commonly used throughout the EU. (decreasing the size of the net, is not addressing the recidivist or the grossly impaired.... )

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Spokesperson on Climate Change, Environment and Associate 'Shadow' Law And Order.

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cannabis 'could stop dementia in its tracks'

Attributal recreational cannabis harm "Arrgh ummm I forget !"
Attributal 'snakeoil' medicinal benefit, "Oh Yeah, I remember !"
Ya can't have it both ways.... see  Cannabis may help keep Alzheimer's disease at bay.
In experiments, a marijuana-based medicine triggered the formation of new brain cells and cut inflammation linked to dementia.

Full Story: 20 November 2008
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Royal Assent given to D-grade Soft Drugs.

NZ Prime MinisterPrime Minister Gets a "D"
for Partial Prohibition.

Image: Tirau Dan via Flickr

Media release to CanWest's Vancouver Sun.

Writers response to OPED (14Nov) "Medical marijuana could ease economic pains"

What is needed, is a new schedule to ABC. Something that is convention compliant, meets the policy analytic standards and addresses all the flaws of current prohibitory practice.

Our just 'gone' by lunchtime (yesterday) Prime Minister, Hon Helen Clark described what is needed as a "partial prohibition".

So, on November 6th, just past, New Zealand placed into law the regulatory model "Class D". It makes provision under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health - possession, sale, advertising, packaging, labeling etc of 'soft' drugs. Canadian reformers and health administrators alike may find the pragmatic and simple approach to this problem instructive. Further, it was adopted without political squabble or public rancour.

The 4 page legislative framework can be seen at LEXISNEXIS: see
Distribute as you see fit. It may well just be a world first.

Blair Anderson

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Resolution on the Control of Marijuana

Marijuana should be regulated and taxed, and most criminal sanctions should be eliminated.

Our societal response to marijuana is doing more harm than good. It is ineffective at controlling marijuana use, especially among young people; it costs Washington taxpayers many millions of dollars annually; it diverts law-enforcement and judicial resources from more pressing uses; it contributes to other pressures to build costly new prisons; it burdens thousands of non-troublesome users with criminal records that create obstacles to employment and education, increasing the likelihood that they may become public charges; it sustains a lucrative black market with associated criminal activity and loss of tax revenue; and to the extent that it has been expressed in laws that many citizens view as unwarranted and consistently disregard, it promotes disrespect for law.

It looks a lot like Washington needs New Zealand's legal regulated soft drug law and policy, Class D!

In a victory of 'due process' over potential political foul-mongery mid elections, NZ turned the tide by "Order in Council" recieving Royal assent on November 6th 2008. These gazetted ammendments implemented 'historic' lawful sale of soft drugs subject to controls and regulations to the classification innovation of "Class D".

NZ's National Drug Policy priority of overall harm reduction now includes "Beyond Zero Tolerance" R18 regulatory non-punative amendments to the principal act, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 thereby "contemplates a system in which marijuana would be available for lawful purchase by adults without a medical prescription or other special license to purchase it." - exactly as proposed by Washington State Law and Health sectors.

"it is time to talk" about a Seattle-Christchurch cultural exchange? / Blair

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Growing Up in the Age of Legal Marijuana

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Psychopathological and cognitive effects of cannabinoids

Ps­ycho­patho­lo­g­ical an­d­ co­g­n­itiv­e effects­ o­f ther­apeutic can­n­ab­in­o­id­s­ in­ Multiple S­cler­o­s­is­

O­B­J­ECTIV­ES­: To­ s­tud­y po­s­s­ib­le ps­ycho­patho­lo­g­ical s­ympto­ms­ an­d­ co­g­n­itiv­e d­eficits­, ab­us­e in­d­uctio­n­, as­ well as­ g­en­er­al to­ler­ab­ility an­d­ effects­ o­n­ quality o­f life, fatig­ue an­d­ mo­to­r­ fun­ctio­n­ in­ can­n­ab­is­-n­aiv­e patien­ts­ with multiple s­cler­o­s­is­ (MS­) tr­eated­ with a fr­ee-d­o­s­e can­n­ab­is­ plan­t extr­act (S­ativ­ex).

METHO­D­S­: In­ an­ 8-week, r­an­d­o­miz­ed­, d­o­ub­le-b­lin­d­, placeb­o­-co­n­tr­o­lled­, par­allel g­r­o­up cr­o­s­s­o­v­er­ tr­ial, 17 can­n­ab­is­-n­aiv­e patien­ts­ with MS­ wer­e as­s­es­s­ed­ at b­as­elin­e an­d­ at the en­d­ o­f the can­n­ab­is­ an­d­ placeb­o­ phas­es­ o­f the tr­ial (each o­f 3 weeks­) b­y mean­s­ o­f S­ympto­m Checklis­t-90 R­ev­is­ed­, S­elf-r­atin­g­ An­xiety S­cale, Multiple S­cler­o­s­is­ Fun­ctio­n­al Co­mpo­s­ite (o­f which 1 d­imen­s­io­n­ is­ the Paced­ Aud­ito­r­y S­er­ial Ad­d­itio­n­al Tes­t that was­ us­ed­ to­ ev­aluate co­g­n­itio­n­), V­is­ual An­alo­g­ue S­cale o­n­ health-r­elated­ quality o­f life, Multiple S­cler­o­s­is­ Impact S­cale-29, an­d­ Fatig­ue S­ev­er­ity S­cale.

R­ES­ULTS­: Po­s­tplaceb­o­ v­er­s­us­ po­s­tcan­n­ab­in­o­id­ s­co­r­es­ s­ho­wed­ that n­o­ s­ig­n­ifican­t d­iffer­en­ces­ co­uld­ b­e d­etected­ o­n­ all the v­ar­iab­les­ un­d­er­ s­tud­y. A s­ig­n­ifican­t po­s­itiv­e co­r­r­elatio­n­ was­ fo­un­d­ b­etween­ D­elta-9-tetr­ahyd­r­o­can­n­ab­in­o­l b­lo­o­d­ lev­els­ an­d­ s­co­r­es­ at the G­en­er­al S­ympto­matic In­d­ex an­d­ at the "in­ter­per­s­o­n­al s­en­s­itiv­ity," "ag­g­r­es­s­iv­e b­ehav­io­ur­," an­d­ "par­an­o­iac ten­d­en­cies­" s­ub­s­cales­ o­f the S­ympto­m Checklis­t-90 R­ev­is­ed­. N­o­ s­er­io­us­ ad­v­er­s­e ev­en­ts­, ab­us­e ten­d­en­cies­, o­r­ d­ir­ect withd­r­awal s­ympto­ms­ wer­e r­epo­r­ted­. In­cr­eas­ed­ d­es­ir­e fo­r­ S­ativ­ex with s­eco­n­d­ar­y d­epr­es­s­io­n­ was­ r­epo­r­ted­ in­ 1 s­ub­j­ect.

CO­N­CLUS­IO­N­S­: Can­n­ab­in­o­id­ tr­eatmen­t d­id­ n­o­t in­d­uce ps­ycho­patho­lo­g­y an­d­ d­id­ n­o­t impair­ co­g­n­itio­n­ in­ can­n­ab­is­-n­aiv­e patien­ts­ with MS­. Ho­wev­er­, the po­s­itiv­e co­r­r­elatio­n­ b­etween­ b­lo­o­d­ lev­els­ o­f D­elta-9-tetr­ahyd­r­o­can­n­ab­in­o­l an­d­ ps­ycho­patho­lo­g­ical s­co­r­es­ s­ug­g­es­ts­ that at d­o­s­ag­es­ hig­her­ than­ tho­s­e us­ed­ in­ ther­apeutic s­ettin­g­s­, in­ter­per­s­o­n­al s­en­s­itiv­ity, ag­g­r­es­s­iv­en­es­s­, an­d­ par­an­o­iac featur­es­ mig­ht ar­is­e, altho­ug­h g­r­eater­ s­tatis­tical po­wer­ wo­uld­ b­e n­eces­s­ar­y to­ co­n­fir­m this­ fin­d­in­g­. (ie. the effect is sub-clinical/Blair)

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

RIP Steve!

We lost an actor for change. A man who made a difference, daily.

"Steve had a car crash on Tuesday. He suffered broken ribs, collarbone, deep cut, concussion / fit, fluid on the lung and bruising. The hospital discharged him after less than 20 hours. He was at home with his cats and frequent visits from friends, but sadly and tragically he died last night. A friend found him this morning." / Arohanui, Francie.

Steve's Mom and Dad.

Damn, Damn, Double Damn.
Steve Luke engaged in a wide range of issues surrounding the health and welfare of folk, especially the ones transparent to the body politic.

It was Steve's 'common passion' from which I took great encouragement, particularily his interest and activism in drug issues and needle exchange. RIP Steve.

Sharing stories.....

Blair Anderson
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Saturday, November 08, 2008


As the Olympic motto "Faster, Higher, Stronger" emphasises, records are made to be broken. (txt as published in the NZ herald, images, links and comments by MildGreens.)

Back in 2005 Australian police cracked the one tonne barrier for ecstasy seizures, prompting a federal minister to declare that a message had been sent to drug traffickers. Whatever it was, they didn't take much notice. This month the Aussies raised the bar, announcing a 4.4 tonne haul. The politicians took a different tack this time, claiming the world record seizure would save Australia $1.6 billion in health and social costs.

A road side warning in Victoria, Australia.Image via Wikipedia

A more rigorous audit might offset this saving against the cost of the investigation which involved 400 police, 185,000 telephone intercepts and 10,000 hours of surveillance.

Agencies in five other countries also took part.

Rather than beat his chest, the Federal Police Commissioner found it sobering that the drug syndicate could shrug off a financial hit of that magnitude and continue with business as usual.

Health professionals were also underwhelmed. An associate professor at Melbourne University's School of Population Health said recent experience suggested the seizure would have little impact on supply because traffickers stockpile for rainy days such as this. An emergency doctor specialising in illegal drugs pointed out that the traffickers wouldn't have brought in that much product unless there was a market for it: "What you're looking at is a truly phenomenal demand for these sorts of drugs. As long as that demand exists, it doesn't matter what interdiction does." Nail; head.

Panamanian motor vessel Gatun during the large...Image via Wikipedia

The front line in the war on drugs is the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez ( pop. 1.5 million ), just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Around 60,000 people cross into the US via Juarez every day, making it a prime entry point for narcotics. Juarez makes Baghdad seem like Havelock North: over the weekend before last, 40 people were murdered there; last weekend the death toll was 42. This year, 800 people have been killed in Juarez as rival drug cartels wage a savage war for control of this immensely lucrative smuggling route.

If there's one place on earth where interdiction should work, it's here. Everyone knows what's going on. Enforcement, in the form of local and regional cops, undercover men, customs agents, border patrol, the monolithic US Drug Enforcement Agency and a 3000-strong troop deployment in Juarez, is well-resourced and omnipresent.

But no matter how many mules they nab and how much dope they intercept, the stuff keeps coming. How do you stop a blizzard?

Last week, the former head of the Britain's Anti-Drug Co-ordination Unit revealed he quit because he got sick of having to implement policies that he and his colleagues knew were a waste of time but which their political masters insisted publicly were the only way to tackle the drug menace. Julian Critchley believes the world would be a better place without drugs. However, he also believes - and one would've thought this would be the starting point for anyone who's serious about tackling a major social problem - that "we must live in the world as it is, not as we want it to be".

Critchley started out against decriminalisation but soon concluded that "enforcement and supply-side interventions were largely pointless. They have no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs". The facts bear him out. After decades of prohibition, illegal drugs are in plentiful supply in Britain and cheaper, in real terms, than ever.

The number of drug users and the volume of drug-related crime have risen sharply and the lavish, untaxed profits from illegal trading have fuelled massive growth in organised crime. The same is true of most western countries, including this one.

We have an approach - prohibition - that not only fails utterly in its basic objective of keeping these substances out of the hands of young people, but also does untold global damage by bolstering the most amoral and predatory elements in society and corrupting state institutions in countries such as Mexico and Colombia to the point where they're rotten to the core.

In the face of this catastrophe politicians continue to trot out Margaret Thatcher's mantra: "There is no alternative." They do so because middle-class parents, the people who determine the outcome of most elections, are understandably tormented by the thought of drugs destroying the young lives in which they've invested so heavily. The middle class is kidding itself. "There is no alternative" implies an eventual successful outcome that prohibition can't possibly deliver.

In reality it means that there's no alternative to having the worst of both worlds: drugs and crime.

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Professor Ronald Inglehart "Changing Mass Attitudes and Democracy".

Fullbright Scholar lecture

On 17 November, the University of Canterbury will host a lecture by Fulbright Distinguished US Scholar Professor Ronald Inglehart, Director of the World Values Survey which measures political and socio-cultural change in societies around the world. [ Monday 17 November, 11am — Commerce 013 ]

The World Values Survey has charted increasing happiness in most countries over the past two decades and this year ranked New Zealand 15th of 52 countries surveyed, one place ahead of the United States.

The topic of his free public lecture at UC will be: "Changing Mass Attitudes and Democracy". He will discuss how the basic values of publics around the world are changing in ways that lead them to give increasingly high priority to individual autonomy and free choice.

Combined with increasing levels of education these changes have given rise to increasingly widespread and effective demands for changes to democracy from authoritarian rule.

(Might be relative and inspiring to those politicians responsible for resolving the tensions in the war on drugs, and media on reporting it./Blair)

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Friday, November 07, 2008

Cannabis key difference between Helen and John

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Press Release: Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

also see Scoop: Cannabis key difference between Helen and John

"As the two main parties fight over the central ground this election, there is little seperation between the two partys' policies. One key issue which seperates the two leaders is the Cannabis issue," says Julian Crawford, ALCP candidate for Dunedin Nth.

"Both Clark and Key spoke about this issue during last night's leaders debate, exhibiting vastly divergent positions. Key denied ever having experimented with cannabis, while Clark indicated that both she and veteran broadcaster Paul Holmes had smoked the soft drug during their university days."

"The National Party has admitted that under its leadership, cannabis users, regardless of their medical needs, will face increased levels of punishment (Nick Smith, Nelson Mail 23/5/08)."

"Helen Clark however has taken a much more favourable attitude to cannabis law reform. Speaking at the Otago University campus in October, Clark said that New Zealand should look to other coutries that have tried alternatives to cannabis prohibition. Making a choice from the wide range of law reform options is the main consideration before the cannabis laws can change, according to the PM. This task is being undertaken by the Law Commission who are reviewing the entire misuse of drugs act 1975. The Law Commision will seek public consultation in 2009."

"Helen Clark has indicated that her favoured option for cannabis law refrom is 'partial prohibition' (Tearaway 1/7/08). The ALCP also endorses partial prohibition as part of it policy programme. This means that adults will be allowed to grow and posses personal amounts of cannabis, within government defined limits. Anyone found exceeding these limits for personal use will face the same penalties currently in effect."

"The ALCP commends the Prime Minister for taking a positive stand on an issue that has been too controversial for many other politicians. The ALCP looks forward to working with a Labour-led government after the election. Mr Key has not only demonstrated a lack of testicular fortitude when it comes to experimentation with cannabis, he has displayed considerable ingnorance regarding this important issue. Someone who is not adventurous enought to try cannabis even once in their life, is not fit to lead this country," says Crawford.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Cannabinoids and the Brain

Chemical structure of a CBG-type cannabinoid.Image via Wikipedia Cannabinoids and the Brain By Attila Kofalvi

Endocannabinoids control most of the body functions, and in the brain, they modulate neurotransmission, synaptic plasticity, confer neuroprotection, control metabolism, neuro- and neuritogenesis, survival, cognitive and motor functions as well as a plethora of other higher-order brain functions.

Their fruitful therapeutic potential is recognized by cannabinoid researchers and pharmaceutical companies, respectively.The human brainImage via Wikipedia

The aim of this book is to help clinicians, neuroscientists, as well as students, understand the significance of the endocannabinoid system. This book, however, also will be very useful to those who already feel comfortable with the neuroscience of endocannabinoids. The book will introduce the reader to the up-to-date neurobiology of endocannabinoids and related systems, and will detail their pathophysiological role and therapeutic potential. Authors involved in clinical investigations present results of recent clinical trials, and the development of new therapeutic strategies and medicines.

Publisher: Springer Number Of Pages: 584 Publication Date: 2008-04-01 ISBN-10 / ASIN: 0387743480 ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780387743486 Binding: Hardcover

Blair Anderson

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Survey Reveals Majority Want Marijuana Legalized

American Drug War: The Last White HopeImage via Wikipedia
Survey Reveals Majority Want Marijuana Legalized (the zee gives it away, of course this survey is USA based but.... it is the home of the drug war and if politics earnestly represented community consensus this war on people would be over... yesterday! /Blair)

An over-whelming majority favor the legalization of marijuana, according to a new Headline Press survey. The new poll found that 86% of all those surveyed favor the decriminalization of pot. ( see American Chronicle )

The online survey, conducted over the last two weeks of October, found that only 14% of those surveyed do not want the use of marijuana legalized. Studies indicate that the medicinal use of marijuana aids in the healing or prevention of cataracts, broken bones, a variety of cancers and other ailments.

Opponents of the legalization of marijuana argue that since the use of alcohol is already legal in all states the usage of marijuana should continue to be outlawed. Controversy surrounds the usage of marijuana, despite increasing scientific evidence that its long term damage effects are limited. A state law in California allows the legal dispensing of marijuana for medical purposes.

Those who favor its legalization point to the lack of law enforcement in many other areas, criticizing lawmakers and other government leaders for allowing the growth of white collar crime, which helped to damage the national economy with the credit crisis through actions on Wall Street.

Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs American taxpayers roughly US$10 billion annually and results in more than 829,000 arrests a year, far more than the total number of arrests for all violent crimes combined. The arrests are much easier to obtain by police than the time and effort required to produce arrests in many other areas of law enforcement.

Blair Anderson ‹(•¿•)›

Spokesperson on Climate Change, Environment and Associate 'Shadow' Law And Order.

Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph (643) 389 4065 cell 027 265 7219

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Did Frank Marshall Davis Sell Cocaine With Obama? [New Zeal]

Blair Anderson has left a new comment on the post "Did Frank Marshall Davis Sell Cocaine With Obama?":

States ...Getty Images While it may or may not be true as to Obama's partaking of social intoxicants (experiential or otherwise) or as to the source of said drugs (always best from a trusted source), Obama can be held in high regard for at least acknowledging the reality, that he enjoyed them "and inhaled, that was the point!".

Not so however can I mitigate the 'Uncle Tom' that we see today. Obama has failed in his 'need for change' dialog in not going there on drug issues. It is a racist, classist law in application and effect. His silence given the fiscal 'trillion dollar boondoggle' downside in these pressing times and the impact on law and order...(and UNGASS review) is squeamish, but like New Zealand's pretense around 'bottom lines' pre-MMP election journalism on this subject seems internationally afflicted.

We are the only democratic nation on the planet for whom two consecutive MMP arrangements have had as there bottom line "thou shalt not talk about cannabis". This being one of four criteria for 'confidence and supply (access to treasury cheque account) makes us and our forth estate look patently inane.

United States President Bill Clinton and New Z...Image via WikipediaWill no one ask ANY of the leaders major or minor of their post election intentions?

Cannabis issues defined the outcome of the 96, 99, 02, and 05 elections...(ask Jenny Shipley!) are we politically stupid?

There is an UNGASS review in March09 and a NZ Law Commission review 'in progress' - tell me there is no context to the question?

Posted by Blair Anderson to New Zeal at 10:43 AM

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Distinguish Use and Misuse.

‘We must distinguish between drug use and misuse’ - Fr Peter McVerry

SOCIETY needs to make a distinction between drug use and drug misuse and should consider the legal supply of drugs. [29Oct2008]
Image by dogwelder via Flickr
This call was made by veteran homelessness campaigner Fr Peter McVerry in a speech at a conference on drugs last night. Fr McVerry said adults should take a “long and critical” look at their own drug use, namely alcohol and prescription drugs, such as valium. “It is hypocritical to expect our young people to stay away from drugs, when we adults won’t,” he told the conference, organised by the Addiction Training Institute.

He said adults had fostered a culture of consumerism and individualism, which did not value young people for what they were and destroyed their sense of community. The Jesuit priest, who has worked with homeless young people for 30 years, said he had seen the “devastation” caused by illegal drugs, particularly heroin and cocaine. “I spend much of my time helping young people to come off drugs. As a priest, I bury, on average, one young person a month who has died from a drug overdose, some of whom I would have been very close to.” But he said there was a massive difference between drug user per se and drug misuse. Dublin - No DrugsImage by hippydream via Flickr

“I do it along the lines of alcohol. Many people use alcohol but it doesn’t have any dire consequence for themselves or for anybody else and people can use drugs without it having any dire consequences for themselves or anyone else, whereas the misuse of drugs is where drugs have consequences for oneself, one’s family or one’s community.”

He said 98% of those who experiment with drugs do not go on to misuse them. “If you want to find out why young people take drugs, go into any pub any night of the week and ask the adults why they take alcohol. The reasons are the same.

Adults would say we take alcohol in order to relax, as a focus for socialising, in order to escape from the pressures of life and to alter our moods. We take alcohol because we enjoy it. Young people take drugs for exactly the same reasons.”

He said Ireland’s response to illegal drugs has been a predominantly criminal justice approach, which he was “particularly inappropriate” for drug users, who should be helped by way of prevention and education.

He said criminal justice responses should be secondary in dealing with drug misusers, who should be first helped from a social and medical point of view. Fr McVerry said public discussion of drugs was dominated by either a climate of fear or a moral climate. “It would appear to me that the legalisation of drugs must be, at the very least, on our list of policy options to be discussed. If we accept that drugs are here to stay, as I think we must, then our priority ought to be ‘controlling the supply of drugs’.”

He said legalising drugs in the model of alcohol would be a “total disaster” and that their supply would have to be tightly controlled. “We often forget — or are unaware — that we have already legalised one drug, methadone. Methadone is a highly dangerous drug and even more addictive than heroin.”

He said he appreciated that legalising, or controlling the supply of drugs, was politically unrealistic.

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