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, March 17, 2009

NZ On Drugs, Human Rights and Harm Reduction

New Zealand made a strong statement supporting both human rights and harm reduction. \
http://www.cndblog.org/2009/03/new-zealand-makes-strong-statement-on.html

It's a synopsis of NZ's presentation that omits that Dunne also talked about 'restricted substances' and that it presents a legislative R18 'soft drug' option Beyond2008 when it was introduced into NZ law on Nov 6th 2008.

If the CND presentations by New Zealand highlighted anything at all, it was the bastardisation of the consensus of (and input into) Wellington Beyond2008.

The participation 'by civil society' depends on where your standing, and who one enlists to enforce non-participation. [But only Ross would understand the significance of that management decision.]

As the Beckley Cannabis Commission Report quite clearly highlights: Cannabis Use:

"Cannabis is the most widely used illegal drug, making it the mainstay of the 'War on Drugs'. The UN has estimated that cannabis is used by 4% of the global adult population. The number of users has risen by 10% since their last estimate in 2005, despite the call for a drug free world. This compares to a figure of 1% for the use of all other illegal drugs combined. However, the focus of international attention has concentrated on that 1% which causes the most harms leading to cannabis being largely ignored in international drug policy discussions."

I wouldnt expect the CND panel to have any difficulty with the perception of NZ acting as a global 'social pioneer' in needle exchange thanks to the heroic work of Doctor John Dobson. (I do resent that Mr Dunne et all should claim any credit for the harm minimization and lives saved which one could easily draw from his presentation. Niether he, nor the Government of the day, can ethically claim any drug policy kudos there, they continue to live in a world where there are only problematic drugs and problematic use)

However, with New Zealand featuring at the top of the scale for cannabis arrests AND consumption all Dunne could offer is the promise of abstention.

Doubtless he will in due course produce the 'evidence' he knows just how this is to be achieved... that will be just after he pulls his head out of his a....

The most important bits of the CND meetings were the side meeting with the NGO's. There, real progress was made. I suspect the Drug Foundation (the NGO we sent) may have more juicy bits to share with us yet? Especially the bit about human rights and engagement with the 'stoners' (the principles that underpin 'no decision about us without us', disability law would be a nice place to start)

A useful point of discussion and would aid advancing the debate in NZ would be to hear what [if any] feedback has it had on the NZ Drug Harm Index [NZDHI]? And since it was launched under the aegis of a 'Healthy Drug Law" symposium what shortcomings [if any] does the NZ Drug Foundation see in the 2010 Police Drug Strategy?

I would be keen to hear if NZDF supports ENCOD's call for a year of reflection and if so... how much it is prepared to engage civil society AND cannabis users in that process.

Blair Anderson
http://mildgreens.blogspot.com/



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