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
Ruggie23 talks about there being no 'social' use of (currently illegal) drugs inferring only medicinal use should be legally regulated in some way. In the words of Pres. Obama "that was the point" - social use should be normative. It's misuse that needs to be managed.
Normative constructs 'police' this better than coercive care. Sure there will be exceptions, sure some idiots will still do drugs to excess, some will harm themselves and others, but that is happening NOW. What we want is less of a problem, and what we are currently doing is patently unsustainable.
I say, normative rules with no special consideration for one drug over another. We ALL practice harm minimisation by default, we need to enable to cooperative and mutual knowledge that protects society 'from harm maximisation' and understand that whatever we are doing now is worst case management.
This case exemplifies all that is wrong with the international drug covenants and conventions to which New Zealand is a signatory. Recent hangings in South East Asia, firing squads in China, and most recently two Kiwi's arrested (and presumed guilty) for 3.5oz of cannabis between them in India, (the home of Ganja, a plant named as sacred along with the river Ganges) all happen because we as a nation collectively give licence to kill and incarcerate cruelly and inhumanely. Where is the legal profession on drug policy? Or is the substantial legal aid grift and perpetual social mayhem an incentive for a silence closely resembling stupidity? NZ's own National Drug Intelligence Bureau chief along with the BERL Drug Harm report (though much criticised) states that the revenue 'churn' through the legal system is a DRUG HARM. The LEGAL profession are beneficiaries of the unintended consequences. So when are you collectively going to talk about that? To the Law Commission? Yeah Right! Curiously, in Christchurch's sister city Seattle, it was the law profession that lead drug policy law reform. see King County Bar Association - http://www.kcba.org/druglaw/
"The principal objectives of this effort are: reductions in crime and public disorder; improvement of the public health; better protection of children; and wiser use of scarce public resources."
sig Blair Anderson, Christchurch. 027 2657219 http://www.leap.cc http://mildgreens.blogspot.com
Talk of gun licencing is another red herring. A distraction. Avoidance of what is broken.
Open Letter to the Editor, New Zealand Herald./Blair
Len Snee would be enjoying Xmas with his family today if we had resolved the tensions surrounding cannabis and placed it within New Zealand's 'restricted substances regulations' where it's sale and distribution, cultivation and age of consent could be really controlled. We create, by doing nothing to fix these policy anomalies, the very scenario that unravelled in Napier. Harm was inevitable. Somewhere, sometime, the policy of prohibition creates the amplification of any deviancy resulting in escalation of harms way beyond any attendant risks (even if overstated) associated with cannabis.
duplicity is corrupt. On this day, Mr Snee would have licked the gravy from his lips and excused himself from the table and gone on duty to police the mayhem created by that other drug we drink. The criminal sanction on cannabis is hazardous, its cure, worse than the disease. It has never killed anyone, but the rules sure have. "D-classify". [see saferchoice.org]
A range of former so called ‘legal highs’ including GBL, BZP and man-made chemicals sprayed on herbal smoking products such as ‘Spice’ are now illegal, Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced today.
As part of the government’s commitment to tackle the emerging threat of so called ‘legal highs’, the substances now banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 include:
- Chemical solvent GBL (Gamma-Butyrolactone) and a similar chemical – which are converted into GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) in the body and often used as ‘club drugs’ – are now controlled as Class C drugs when intended for human consumption;
- Synthetic cannabinoids – man-made chemicals sprayed on herbal smoking products such as ‘Spice’, which act on the body in a similar way to cannabis but can be far more potent, are now controlled as Class B drugs alongside cannabis; and
- BZP (Benzylpiperazine) and related piperazines, which are stimulants, similar to amphetamine, are now controlled as Class C drugs.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:
"We are cracking down on so called ‘legal highs’ which are an emerging threat, particularly to young people. That is why we are making a range of these substances illegal from today with ground- breaking legislation which will also ban their related compounds.
"We are sending out a clear message to anyone who is thinking about experimenting with them, particularly over the festive period, that not only are they putting themselves in danger they will also be breaking the law."
Tim Hollis, Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on drugs, said:
"Police are all too well aware of the harms caused in local communities, particularly to young people, by these drugs and we support the decision taken by the Home Office to clearly spell this out.
"Enforcement will be proportionate and will focus particular attention on those who traffic in drugs and put people at harm. Practical advice has already been circulated to forces to support them in this respect. We want people to enjoy the festive season without exposing themselves to unnecessary risk by taking what are potentially dangerous substances."
The government continues to raise awareness of the dangers of psychoactive substances via the FRANK campaign.
In addition, 15 anabolic steroids, testosterone-like products often used by sports people and increasingly being used by the general public for their growth promoting properties, are to be controlled as Class C drugs, alongside two growth promoters.
The control of these substances follows advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). Following receipt of their advice and after consulting with industry on those substances which have legitimate use, the government announced its intention to bring these substances under control using the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The ACMD continue to look at the use of so called ‘legal highs’ as a priority and will report back to the government on the cathinones in 2010.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) and its like chemical 1,4-Butanediol (1,4-BD) are converted into GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) in the body. GBL is a colourless, oily liquid with a weak odour. Both substances can reduce inhibitions, cause nausea, reduced heart rate and even lead to death. Both are particularly dangerous when taken with alcohol and other depressant substances. Options for control of these substances were subject to public consultation which finished on 13 August. The government’s decision to control GBL and 1,4-BD for human consumption takes fully into account the wide use of these chemicals for legitimate purposes.The ACMD’s advice can be found at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/
2. Benzylpiperazine (BZP) and related piperazines are man-made stimulants which have similar but less potent properties to amphetamine. They can cause a rush of energy, agitation, vomiting and headaches. They can come in many shapes and forms, including pills and powders. Control of these substances was subject to public consultation which finished on 13 August. The ACMD’s advice can be found at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/
3. Synthetic cannabinoids are man-made chemicals that mimic the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in cannabis. They can be sprayed on herbal smoking products such as ‘Spice’. The ACMD advice, published on 12 August, can be found at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/
4. Anabolic Steroids – details of the 15 steroids and two growth promoters and ACMD’s advice are available at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/
5. Oripavine, an alkaloid found in poppy straw of the opium poppy which can be converted into thebaine and used in the production of semi-synthetic opiates, is also controlled under the 1971 Act as a Class C drug in accordance with our international obligations. There is presently no evidence of its misuse in the UK. The ACMD advice can be found at http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/
6. So called ‘legal highs’ are psychoactive substances that are taken to achieve an altered state of mind (a “high”), that are not currently controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. However, most of these substances are illegal to sell, supply or advertise for human consumption under medicines legislation because of their effects on the body. To view the March 2009 commissioning letter from the then Home Secretary to the ACMD on so called “legal highs” and other areas see http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/reports-research/
7. A drug is brought under control of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 by an Order made by the Privy Council following approval of the Order by both Houses of Parliament via the affirmative resolution procedure. Summaries of the public consultations completed earlier this year in relation to some of these drugs are available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/haveyoursay/closed-consultations/2008-cons-closed1/?version=15
8. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) is a non-departmental public body established by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The ACMD provides independent expert advice to ministers on drug misuse - primarily to the Home Office, but also to other government departments. To view the ACMD’s advice to government visit http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs-laws/acmd/reports-research/
9. For details of the government’s drug strategy visit www.drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk
10. For further information please contact the Home Office Press Office on 020 7035 3535
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department
NZ's current maintenance of cannabis in the ABC classification system that underpins prohibition is deservedly under scrutiny by the NZ Law Commission. Several Select Committees have variously stated clearly that the law be reviewed. The point that escapes media, politicians and the Police seems to be that the Napier incident would not have happened, Len Snee would still be alive as would Jan, his partner would not be in jail and Len (and Mr Broad) would be gainfully employed dealing with real crime probably 'no guns required'.
The escalation of the militarisation of the Police goes hand in hand with the war on drugs, just as it did with alcohol in the USA. Alcohol no more caused the St Valentine's Day massacre than Cannabis caused the death of Len Snee. So all this waxing lyrical about to arm or not to arm is fatuous without an open ended debate where the Politicians, Police and Media must account for the sustainability of the prohibitive practice.
A good place to start would be to first acknowledge that NZ passed the required model for the administration of cannabis when John Key became right and honourable. It was a legislative adjustment passed by order in council gazetted some 28 days before the last general election. We made provision for legally regulating (thus controlling) the sale, storage, advertising and labelling and place of sales for recreational psychoactive 'soft' drugs. Were cannabis in this new "De-Classified" partial prohibition [R18] as a first and somewhat logical application of this crucial adjustment, this writer has no doubt Mr Snee would be enjoying a Merry Xmas with his family before spending his New Year managing the 'alcohol' problem that is the precursor to so much crime, mayhem and consequence.
Has no one the courage to ask where the hell the emperor left his clothes?
Denver Councillors seem to overlook that its own Colorado State University [and affiliate laboratories] are now the seat of some of the most innovative patient centered medicinal cannabis therapeutics and science research on the planet. I personally inspected some of them. From SuperCritical CO2 extraction and precision genetic analysis to ice-cream 'mode of use' delivery!
Would the same Council 'ban' pharmacies from being close to Doctors?
It would not be an understatement to suggest that this is an emerging model for primary 'wellness' health care delivery.
As contentious as the subject is, and for many for whom their story is one of consequences and poor outcomes, it can be fairly said there is nothing in the pharmacology of cannabis that directly leads to negative consequences. Indulgences to excess sure! But that is not 'cannabis' - that is the human condition and if it wasn't cannabis it would have been 'something else'. On reviewing ALL the comments there are as many ill-informed 'reform minded' folk as there are those who hold the line of status quo. However there are other factors to consider, many of them.
Would for example Napier Policeman Len Snee be alive or dead today under a Portugal/Netherlands/Brazil model? The answer is to that question is instructive. It has nothing to do with cannabis and how it affects people who consume it. It has a lot to do with the rules surrounding cannabis. The rules create 'deviancy amplification'. What ever cannabis does in a mental health setting is not helped by a 'policeman' at your door.
The law in this case (and there are other cases that can be equally made for LSD, MDMA and others) is an Ass. And before anyone jumps up and down.. It was so described by former Minister of Police and Health (the latter title holds the warrant for the exacting of the Misuse of Drugs Act) Hon Annette King. If the "warrant" holder has no confidence in the rules, neither should Police or Prosecutors or Judges. And neither should we.. the Public.
The maintenance of criminal sanction for the possession and/or cultivation of 'a plant' that is demonstrably a food supplement (go ahead... look up 'endocannabinoid' on google) represents one of the greatest social injustices of all time.
But don't expect anything but 'puerile' argument from the current Minister of Health (and former Justice Spokesperson) Tony Ryall. He has a stake-hold in maintaining the mayhem. For he will promise to save us from ourselves. And there are readers here who would hold the earnest view that so he should.
When the King saw Humpty Dumpty's condition... and ALL his 'men and horses' were unable to make good, it proved that no amount of men nor horses were going to fix the problem.
Ryall and his like just want more men and horses.
Trevor seems to forget the role of age of consent and obligation to state to ones life education.
These are the very same kids we are sending to Afghanistan.
Old enough to die for your country, old enough to make decisions for oneself.
I'd rather a soldier with self will and drink experience than the one for whom the double standards has alienated, for whom the law is in contempt and for whom in all likelihood has been arbitrarily criminalised for race, class, ageist and sexist reasons.
Even I mistrust a politicised justice system that endorses such prejudices.
It is not that the numbers are great, even problematic, rather, I urge you and your fellow prohibitory zero-tolerance brain robbers to consider whose freedom our soldiers fought for if not for those of our youth.
If Trevor's concern for the foundations of our society is to measured (and, gongs aside it has never been) it cannot be argued that our current relationship with drugs and drug policy is logically or economically sustainable. And, like New Zealand the world is coming to terms with that.
The UN Human Rights best practice is not addressing the raft of unintended consequences of this War for whom, on a global scale are young people -innocent victims, mere collateral. Even the USA is taking an independent, from the boots up re-evaluation, including the international implications for the Single Treaty. These are changing times. ABC classifications are in disrepute. Even the AMA has recanted. [Gt. Britain: only one Nutt lost his chair job, seemingly being an expert is not enough... one must dogmatically hold the line against all reason. Where is the liberty worth fighting for in that?/Blair]
A Class D act would be to come up with UN complaint transitional solutions. Then we can really start protecting ALL our kids and stop this moral pretence.
Anything else remains deficient, inefficient, inequitable and it especially hurts young people. The very ones you're trying to save, Trev!
(* and former LIFEBOY, BOYS BRIGADE, WINDSOR, NTH. IN'GILL.)
During his 10 years on the advisory council he said he found talking with politicians very difficult and that fewer people were now voting in elections because the House of Commons is nothing more than a “pantomime”. He said: “I never realised how unintellectual politicians are.” - Professor Nutt, presentation to Students for Sensible Drug Policy at Leeds University, Nov. 2009.
Over the past ten or so years, the MildGreens have been consistent in making the call that no other social contruct so readily subject to 'change' depleted good governance. It should not be surprising that the evidence for such conclusions should continue to manifest in the international arena. One cannot study post war politics without having a full understanding of how drug policy has (mis)shaped our world. /Blair
‘Individuals who use drugs do not forfeit their human rights...Too often, drug users suffer discrimination, are forced to accept treatment, marginalized and often harmed by approaches which over-emphasize criminalization and punishment while under-emphasizingharm reduction and respect for human rights.’ / Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, March 2009
Today, Human Rights Day (10 December 2009), is the occasion for the launch of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy.
The Centre is dedicated to developing and promoting innovative and high quality legal and human rights scholarship on issues related to drug laws, policy and enforcement.
It pursues this mandate by publishing original, peer reviewed research on drug issues as they relate to international human rights law, international humanitarian law, international criminal law and public international law, and fostering research on drug policy issues among postgraduate law and human rights students at universities and colleges around the world.
The Centre’s work is supported by a prestigious International Advisory Committee as well as two Institutional Partners. At present, the Centre has established two ongoing projects:
The International Yearbook on Human Rights and Drug Policy is the first and only international peer reviewed law journal focusing exclusively on human rights and drug policy. We are now accepting submissions to the first edition of the Yearbook to be published in late 2010.
The Human Rights and Drug Policy Project is a joint initiative with the Irish Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway. This Project will establish a Doctoral Studentship in Human Rights and Drug Policy, as well as a programme of activities designed to promote research on drug policy issues among other university human rights programmes. Applications for the Doctoral Studentship are being accepted until 18 December.
For more information, please visit www.humanrightsanddrugs.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Directors: Rick Lines, Damon Barrett
International Advisory Committee: Dr Massimo Barra (founder, Villa Maraini Foundation, IT); Dr David Bewley-Taylor (Swansea University, UK); Prof Neil Boister (University of Canter(University of Essex, UK); Dr Ursula Kilkelly (University College Cork, IRE), Prof Manfred Nowak (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment); Rebecca Schleifer (Human Rights Watch); Prof William A Schabas (Irish Centre for Human Rights); Baroness Vivien Stern (International Centre for Prison Studies, UK); Prof Gerry Stimson (International Harm Reduction Association)
Institutional Partners: International Harm Reduction Association; Irish Centre for Human Rights
"But banning individual substances long after they have appeared doesn't seem like a reasonable long-term response to legal highs, which are easily and quickly manufactured and distributed on the internet. [Professor] Nutt believes we should follow the model adopted in New Zealand, whereby new drugs are immediately put into a new 'class D' category, where it is not illegal to sell or possess but its effects are monitored. 'The manufacturers and suppliers can define the dosage, do quality control, make sure it is not contaminated. You can also monitor sales and use this data to see how much is out there – from that you can work out the use/harm ratio.' Nutt proposed this to the government as a way of dealing with legal highs in the first instance. 'They turned it down. They said they didn't want to take that route at the moment; they wanted to legislate for specific compounds.'" Click here to find out more!:
"Judy Turner: Has the Minister seen research from the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research and the Australian National Drug Research Institute that shows that prohibition of cannabis does limit the amount consumed by heavy users, and does he agree that that justifies retaining its current legal status in New Zealand?
Hon Jim Anderton: Yes, I have seen that evidence and much other evidence that lead me to believe that the present prohibition on cannabis in this country is the correct prohibition for us to have.
Steve Chadwick: Has the Minister seen studies or reports that link cannabis use with psychotic symptoms or mental health disorders?
Hon Jim Anderton: Yes. I think that was the report referred to in the original question. As I say, I think it would be instructive for members of Parliament to read that report. Other empirical work is also being done in New Zealand, however. Late last year the National Drug Policy's discretionary fund allocated funding to a number of projects. Three projects deal with research into the health effects of cannabis. These studies aim to gather information on the effects of cannabis on users' lungs, how it compares with use of tobacco, and the impact on New Zealand households of expenditure on cannabis.
Judy Turner: Does the Minister accept that his proposed drug classification system, which will establish a new class, class D, will open the door wide for any future Labour-Green Government to decriminalise cannabis without the need for legislation; if not, why not?
Hon Jim Anderton: No, I do not. The classification I am seeking is for legal substances. Cannabis is an illegal substance.
Well done Jim. A clear understanding of not much at all... except that Class D might be very useful for legalising presently illegal substances. Its your law Jim. You made it. And I couldnt have written it simpler myself.
The 59-year-old has been jailed in California and New Zealand for cultivating cannabis but has no plans to change his ways. Dakta is a strong activist for law reform surrounding the drug and has been pushing for its legalisation since 1999.
He’s even set up a cannabis club in a New Lynn warehouse known as the Daktory. Dakta says marijuana use is widespread and causes less harm in the community than alcohol."
(... the MildGreens are founding member/contributors to the Daktory, and supporters of the Daktavist Vision.)
Holme’s Anti-P campaign is unworthy of recognition by anyone but the deluded.
Which part of what has been done has been effective, efficacious or efficient? Remind me please… everything that has been ‘anti-P’ seems only to on evidence produced more of the problem than existed before.
This is entirely predictable. “P” prevalence is a function of poor drug policy not the pharmacology of the drug.
If such policy as we have now is to be lauded, it cannot be lauded for its success. Mr Holmes waxes lyrical about his own family circumstances but then endorses the very system that has both failed him and others, but worse, has contributed to the very mess he sets out to clean up.
That ranks alongside stupidity and to nominate any ‘award of merit’ would be to bring the award itself into disrepute.
Proponent for enabled health promotion, fiscal responsibility, education, growth management, traffic and transportation, public safety and the environment.
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