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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cannabis cases threatened by surveillance law change

The Video Camera Surveillance (Temporary Measures) Bill will potentially apply primarily to cannabis cases as the court already has the ability to use covert video evidence in serious drug cases, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party leader and Wellington lawyer Michael Appleby says.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis PartyImage via Wikipedia
Although the Supreme Court decision prompting the new law was based on the Urewera trial, John Key has said the decision affected "serious crimes" including drug offences.

However many legal experts including the Chief Human Rights Commissioner have testified that "serious criminals" can already be prosecuted using covert surveillance under section 30 of the Evidence Act.

Just as Tame Iti is still being prosecuted as a participant of an organised criminal group, even though the evidence was thrown out by the Supreme Court in most other Urewera cases.

"Therefore this urgent retrospective law change is potentially actually going to affect non-serious cases, including many of the 250 people arrested in Operation Lime," Mr Appleby said.

In May 2010 Police concluded a two year "National Covert Operation" called Operation Lime targeting garden shops including Switched on Gardener, with the aim to 'break the backbone of the cannabis industry'.

"In light of the recent findings of the NZ Law Commission and UN Global Commission on Drugs, cannabis charges could fail to meet the threshold for seriousness under the Evidence Act."

"In addition, the Bill of Rights may have been violated when customers went to these shops for legitimate reasons and were filmed by surveillance cameras."

United Future New ZealandImage via Wikipedia"Since ACT leader, Dr. Don Brash, is a supporter of cannabis law reform, the Act Party should oppose this bill when voted on under urgency next week," Mr Appleby said.

The ALCP are also supporting United Future candidate Ian Gaskin (Wigram) who in a letter in yesterday's Press has called for a liberal alliance of parties in support of Dr Brash's views on cannabis.
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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Key's Cannabis Response Reassuring?

>  Keys strong response against cannabis is very reassuring and I applaud him for it.

Based on EVIDENCE Keys response was neither strong nor reassuring, any applause is unearned and misplaced. /Blair Anderson

New Zealand National Party leader John Key and...

Do not be too encouraged, you run the risk of being as disillusioned  as the experts in health based drug policy, who, based on outcomes declared the current policy (and regime) as "unfit for use".

Key's naivety is exposed by any reading of Ministry of Health 'best practice' National Drug Policy guidelines. For an economist/accountant (whose capacity to understand such subtlety is about as relevant as his housing corp background) he should know that ALL policy should be assessed and accounted to ensure resources are placed to best advantage. THIS HAS NEVER BEEN DONE. It was included in the policy framework, even budgeted for on an annual basis (there would be nearly a million dollars in pool to do it now) but the line item was REMOVED by all accounts, deduction and from speaking with people involved at the time 'due to legislative implications'. That was/is policy fraud...

No other area of public policy, especially one that leads to the unintended consequences such as dead cops and tens of thousands with criminal lifelong 'numbers tattooed' on arbitrarily selected and undoubtedly fueled by racist and otherwise discriminatory sectors of the population.

If a reader cannot stomach that reality, you are part of the problem. Get rid of your white privilege and become a real communitarian.... there is NOTHING family, christian or good in the current regime.

That Key even argues that police are arbiters of who enters the criminal gateway is an anathema to thinking and reasoned serves only to assuage the guilt (realised or not) of those who are brazen bigots and naive fools.
Thankfully, most people can see right through such cheap pandering politics. Even National supporters.
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Regressive Support Is No Support At All.

Regrettably, Zero Tolerance is unlikely to find curry anywhere. It is unsupported by a legal model as nothing can come of anything that is not tolerated. How does one embrace consumers and gain any insight into problems associated with misuse unless use (particularly controlled by normative rules) can be fostered in a non-pejorative environment. (no decision about us without us) If anyone requires treatment coercion is not going to succeed so why pretend otherwise.
Examples of where drug  intolerance would fail includes such things as shooting galleries and needle exchanges. I might have thought Doug Sellman, of the National Addiction Centre would have expressed his concerns around cannabis in a much more informed manner.
Intolerance's should not be tolerated.

Blair Anderson
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Don Brash and Foot 'n Mouth Disease

Don BrashImage via Wikipedia
As much as this country may dislike foot and mouth disease, simply banning it would achieve nothing. It has to be managed,
Former Treasurer now ACT leader, Don Brash, in front of a former Police Minister, Auckland Mayor and fellow candidate for the House of Representatives Hon John Banks, has seriously proposed a realignment of pot policy and reality.
Legal regulation is management of what ever problems , perceived or real, that may manifest, including  ensuring that resources are targeted, problems addressed, harms measured, responses balanced, evidence collated and due processes seen to be transparent and ethical. Drug Prohibition satisfies none of these criteria.
We are a country possessed by a paradigm.
While Don Brash answered this question in Christchurch with a 'categorical no' last election, it is economically and philosophically progressive and sensitive to a core election issue that Don responds now.

I honour the fact he has dug himself out of a hole, for there is nothing in ACT's principals that supports flogging a dead horse.

He wasn't the first ACT MP to address drugs. When Clifford Wallace Thornton Jr was guested at ACT's  CHCH  2003 end of year rave up ( MP Rodney Hide said "I agree with everything that man has said". He also said, "I'd legalise all drugs tomorrow" in response to a question from the floor in Christchurch during ACT's leadership quest. It didnt harm his chances,  
MP Stephen Franks later wrote variously on ACT's website on the cannabis issue and memorably said  "just because something is legal, doesn't make it laudable".
One thing for sure, if ACT is to be a coalition partner, this issue will not die easily. And they will not loose votes for it this time either, any more than Greens or Labour (whose caucus was the first in the world to decriminalise and legally regulate recreational psychoactive soft drugs under the UN Convention's compliant Misuse of Drugs Act 1975) led and launched by then social conservative and established drug czar, Hon Jim Anderton. It became law the day John Key became Right and Honourable. The rest of the world was watching then and it will be watching now.
National is on notice. Peter Dunne's United Future is on the outside on this one as is his standing as Associate Health Minister for Drug Policy.
One thing for sure this spring election, no Parliament is serious about fixing the alcohol problem unless it is prepared to deal with the neighbouring intoxicants.

So who should get the credit for that 'curly one' ? 

Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Powers To Which They Are Not Entitled

LTE Southland Times
The increase in legislative response required to manage drug policy is clearly evident in the politics of search and surveillance. That the rest of the world is 'reasoning' the failures of prohibition shouldn't surprise Southlanders, the home of the Invercargill Licensing Trust that acts as the 'control and regulation' brake on the most harmful drug, once banned, and honoured in its breach with Hokanui stills and trade after-hours to whom ever wished to pay the price asked.
 A 'nest' of surveillance cameras at the Gillet...Image via Wikipedia
Curiously, and highly relevant to the present politics of retrospective legislation, the passing of the Misuse of Drugs Act in 1975. The Act's working title was 'prevention of misuse bill' which again is highly instructive of where blanket prohibitions fail. The then Minister of Health, Hon Tom McGuigan when addressing the house that this bill would give to Police "powers to which they were not entitled".
All indications are that of the 50 cases currently under investigation and 40 cases before the courts, most of these are drug related, the Law Commissions recent "control and regulate" report becomes highly relevant. For example, it study was to be informed by what is being done in other jurisdictions, when we look at Great Britain, the coalition partner to the current government has moved  control and regulate ALL drugs. "Legalise", the L word. The political third rail...
I ask, would the retrospective urgency and Search and Surveillance Bill even be necessary if we actually did 'best practice' drug policy... ?  Tom McGuigan didn't think so, so why are we not having that discussion about powers to which they are not entitled? 

Blair Anderson 

ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

International Drug Policy Contravenes Indigenous Rights.

President of the INCB, 
President of
President of OHCHR,
General Assembly Hall, United Nations HQ (New ...Image by Luke Redmond via Flickr
         Recently a report was published on the official website of the INCB concerning the world situation on drugs in 2010. In point 284 of this report it is explained that a series of plants and herbal preparations such as Ayahuasca and the botanicals Iboga, Peyote, Psilocybin mushrooms, etc. 'are not currently controlled under the 1971 Convention or under the 1988 Convention.' In point 286 'The Board notes increased interest in the recreational use of such plant materials.' to follow in 287 'The Board notes that, in view of the health risks associated with the abuse of such plant material (...) The Board recommends that Governments should consider controlling such plant material at the national level where necessary.'

         The plants which the INCB invites to place under national control by the governments are generally botanicals, and above all, belong to the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples. Very rarely has abusive use of these herbal preparations been detected and the references in the scientific literature conclude that the health risk associated with the consumption of e.g. Ayahuasca is very limited, and not in line with the exaggerations mentioned in the report.

         The INCB, advising the control of these plants in an indiscriminate manner to the member states of the UN is inviting the criminalization of many people who have not committed any crime. This is the situation of the last weeks in Spain, where at least four citizens have been detained for having received Ayahuasca by post, and the judges understand that Ayahuasca is a form of elaboration of DMT, an internationally controlled substance since 1971. However, because Ayahuasca is not under international control, as explained by the INCB in its 2010 report, and because Spain doesn't have a specific legislation of Ayahuasca, the arrests are violating international law according to the conventions. Other arrests have occurred recently in Peru, where Ayahuasca is recognized as cultural heritage, as well as other countries such as the US and Belgium. In the US more arrests have occurred for the traditional use of Iboga, another plant which is not under international control.

         The INCB advises that the preparation and ritual use of these plants be controlled by the governments (the INCB possibly does not include these plants in the lists of controlled substances because this would be in contradiction with the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People of the UN, where it explicitly recognizes the rights of the indigenous people for the use of their traditional plants). Due to the fact that such ritual use of these plants belongs to the cultural trans-generational heritage of humanity, we ask that:
  • the INCB rectifies its recommendation directed towards the member states of the UN, as found in point 287 of the 2010 annual report of the INCB, and after rectification to inform the political representatives of the associated countries and their respective agencies responsible for the control of narcotics of these corrections.
  • the UN recognizes the empirical use of these botanical species as well as the important cultural value of the oral transmission of its ritual preparation, as this knowledge implies a trans-generational cultural heritage; therefore, we solicit to the UN to protect these ethnobotanical materials and the related trans-cultural practices by considering them World Heritage with the objective to preserve them from eradication.
Yours Truly,
Blair Anderson 
ph NZ  (++643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

The Dangers of DrugsImage by Andy Pryke via Flickr
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Saturday, September 17, 2011

NZ's Multi Billion Dollar Boondoggle

If, according to POLICE INTELLIGENCE one gram of *cannabis is worth $5 then the estimated 200 tonnes of cannabis GOODS traded through friendly/social networks SERVICING 400,000 recreational consumers in New Zealand is worth $150Million in forgone GST. Sales minus Production Costs, $1Billion * (-20%) = $800M @ 33% tax = $264M in PAYE/Company Tax. Annual budgets for Displaced allocated cannabis enforcement in Police, Justice, Corrections, Security and other unintended burdens $150M, making cannabis law, the past forty years a multi billion dollar boondoggle, and for what? Alienation from rule of law? Disrespect of societal normative values? A justice employment scheme? Gawd knows because politicians don't.

Cannabis must be regulated and taxed. It is the stuff of social capital.

* see

Blair Anderson,

Blair Anderson
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Legalising Cannabis "For the Best" ?

Dr. Kenneth Hendrickson advocates for the cause

By Dr. Kenneth Hendickson
I don’t use cannabis. I did during college, but it has been over 20 years since my last toke and I have no plans to return. I have familial and contractual obligations that make breaking the law with cannabis out of the question for me.
That being said, I understand that cannabis is a permanent part of our society. I have also come to believe that our current cannabis laws and policies do not achieve reasonable public health goals, are cost inefficient, are corrosive to the Constitution, and have contributed to the destabilization of governments around the world and communities throughout the United States.
In making such assertions, I am far from alone. Fully 75% of the American people consider the Drug War failed, according to a 2008 Zogby poll. Over 500 world economists from the best universities and agencies, including three who are Nobel Laureates, have endorsed the work of Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron. Miron has shown, among other things, that prohibition increases the price of cannabis and other drugs and actually spurs increased production and sales.United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan up...Image via Wikipedia
The Global Commission on Drug Policy, touting such luminaries as Kofi Annan, Reagan administration officials like George Schulz and Paul Volcker, and leaders from business, the arts, and the law, recently published its review of the Drug War. Like many before them, they concluded that prohibition policies principally championed by the United States are failing and are exacerbating the international drug problem.
In 2009, a combined panel of Latin American presidents and politicians, including Fernando Ernando Henrique Cardoso (former President of Brazil), Cesar Gaviria (former President of Colombia) and Ernesto Zedillo (former President of Mexico) requested the US to review and revise its Drug War policies. None of these observers are wild people or counter-cultural agitators. They represent the highest levels of leadership and achievement across many countries.

And they all say the same thing: the Drug War does not work.

Looking at the costs at home, we see that not only has the United States invested billions of dollars in this failed effort, it has also embraced legal and social practices that threaten our basic civil liberties. Currently, the United States imprisons the most people in the world. With about 5% of the world population, our nation maintains about 25% of the world prison population. We imprison more people per 100,000 of the general population than Russia and China combined.

American police officers and federal agents conduct thousands of home invasions every year, too often with tragic unintended consequences. Investigations, arrests, and sentencing are demonstrably unequal among our different racial groups. For example, while adult African Americans account for about 9% of the population and about 13% of cannabis users, they account for nearly 25% of all cannabis/marijuana arrests. Such heavy handed imprisonment policies and unequal enforcement breed hostility and contempt for the law.

Moreover, US policies are the most aggressive in the industrialized world for ensuring drug offenders do not successfully reform. American rates for funding treatment and rehab are among the lowest.
American laws dictate that drug offenders lose access to educational funding. The 1998 Drug Free Student Loans act withholds student loans (not grants, just loans) from convicted drug offenders, even though research shows education is a major tool in rehabilitation of offenders.

I do not support drug abuse. In reforming drug laws including the legalization of marijuana, I believe we can achieve better public health and public security results than we do now. My goals are the same as most people: reduction in health hazards associated with drug use including marijuana; special focus on keeping young people and children from beginning drug habits; reduction in drug related crimes; stabilization of neighbors like Mexico by reducing and eventually eliminating the power of organized crime.

I also wish to strengthen our Constitutional liberties and work for a more efficient government here at home. These goals can be better achieved not with heavy handed prohibitionist policies, but with a blended mix of law enforcement, public education, treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts, and in some instances like marijuana legalization.
Several countries now have regimes of legal decriminalization of cannabis possession. Places like the Netherlands have practiced legal toleration of marijuana use for many years. Portugal, having created a comprehensive drug policy reform, has enjoyed tremendous success in reducing drug related pathologies since 2001. However, all countries decriminalizing marijuana still wrestle with problems related to production and supply. Legalization will close that loop in the particular case of marijuana.
No country has developed a magic formula and even the most successful, like Portugal, are works in progress. I do not propose any utopian scheme. Reform and repair of Drug War damage will take time, wisdom, and skill. However, the necessary components to begin are nowhere more abundant than the United States. Our country still boasts the best medical science, the best universities, the highest number of top level trained professionals and trained jurists in the world. We have social services professionals, health policy analysts, and an excellent media and information infrastructure.

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British Top Research Scientist says Legalize.

Associate Minister of Health, Hon Peter Dunne.
Parliament Buildings,
Dear Sir,
Wikipedia:Contact us/Photo submissionIn the light of recent comments in the house re Law Commission recommendations and the current governments response I observed that you have said you and the Ministry of Health have an evidenced based policy formulation. How can you reconcile this stated position against an increasing number of authoritative and eminent scientists and policy stakeholders who continue to critique prohibition practices that you continue to declare as either successful or will be shortly if we try hard enough.
I support my request with the following discussion that appeared in the British newspaper The Guardian  for your Ministry to comment on. 
Cannabis should be licensed and sold in shops, expert say.
Leading cannabis researcher calls for legalisation with controls similar to alcohol and tobacco.
Cannabis for recreational use should be available in shops under similar restrictions to those used to control the sale of alcohol and tobacco, according to Britain's leading expert on the drug.   see
Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'
50 Wainoni Road, Christchurch, New Zealand.
ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219
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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Major Impact on Drug Market, Use BanVine.

Wineyard in Central Otago, close to Felton RoadImage via WikipediaA Hawea Flat man grew a $25,000 cannabis crop that could have flooded the Central Otago drug market, a judge said.

Tupari Graham Ngaia, 59, builder, appeared for sentence before Judge Kevin Phillips in the Queenstown District Court last week, for having cannabis for supply and growing cannabis, on March 24.

Crown prosecutor Michael Morris asked the court to consider a starting point of three years' jail.

Ngaia's lawyer said his client was near the end of his criminal lifespan and it was 20 years since the previous serious offending.

Judge Phillips said police found 34 plants and a box of dried cannabis head. The overall crop was capable of producing up to 4.5kg of the drug, with a value of $25,000 to $30,000. He said Ngaia, previously jailed for supplying heroin in 1991, was entitled to discounts for an early guilty plea.

"A large amount of cannabis would have gone on to the Central Otago market because of your endeavours," he said, noting that "would have had a major impact on that market."

Pinot noir grapes have a much darker hue than ...Image via WikipediaThe judge sentenced Ngaia to 16 months' jail for the growing offence and nine months' jail for having the drug for supply, to be served concurrently.
(as reported in the Southland Times)

One cannot have this kind of competition in Pinot Noir Country. What kind of message does lying to the Public about Drugs give. Lying (even if it is just misinformed) from behind the Bench  deserves three years, you irresponsible clown. Instead we spend $150,000 detecting, prosecuting and jailing someone who is nothing more than a social entrepreneur from a district where cannabis is universally 'endemic'. This kind of exaggeration and institutionalised myth making brings the justice, law and police into disrespect and drives people to drink. /Blair
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rotorua Rugby Saved From Serious Drug Offending

There was just one arrest in Rotorua for the Fiji v Namibia match as fans gathered for the city's first Rugby World Cup game.

A man was picked up by officers outside the stadium for possession of cannabis.
Inspector Scott Fraser says the crowd was in good spirits and well-behaved for the match between Fiji and Namibia.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 08:  (L-R) Pol...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThank God for Peter Dunne, Tony Ryall and John Key and the rest of his lot for keeping us all safe as we watch from the alcohol fueled and sponsored sidelines.

And they pretend they don't understand double standards or neighbouring intoxicant.

Consider the Rugby World Cup "Party Central" opening:
"Drunk and unruly passengers were hitting the emergency lever on the trains, and causing chaos. Wild party goers were creating havoc at the viaduct, and ... at least six paddlers on the tai tokerau waka were taken to hospital after being assaulted by drunk members of the public."
Blair Anderson
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Friday, September 09, 2011

Elephants, Dunne, Ryall and King.

" its social harm of $12,000 a kilogram, most of which consists of the opportunity cost of production." - as seen on the NoRightTurn blog critiqueing the arrest of 300 New Zealand tinnie shop owners and their patrons.

Not so, but partially correct. It is duplicious that Police found the social harm to be equal to the retail value of cannabis herb at the tinnie shop - also a $12,000kg reflecting the criminal risk of sanction, risks associated with production  (120days) and risks associated with distribution. Add to that the lack of security or access to dispute resolution, the margin is 'all the risks' associated with prohibition, ie: the rules, itself.  Its origin is a weed that runs on solar energy. Couldnt be greener or cheaper.
But what makes up the BERL social harm index  burden(s), according to  the economists, includes  incurred cost of policing, the very upholding of the rules. Not that the Police are to particular about that 'social investment' having never ever measured the efficacy of its delivery. How would the Police know which dollar was the dollar that is working if they cannot measure anything but the deficit funded 'drug interdiction budget', a bottomless pit by all accounts.  "Such management would not pass muster at a UK police college." - Detective Chief Superintendent Eddie Ellison following a meeting with Greg O'Conner
I attended a National Party Conference in the now defunct Christchurch Convention Centre, and in an informal meeting between the writer, Dr Paul Hutchison and Tony Ryall (who was then Justice spokesperson) and on discussion on this very subject Hutchison said of such policy analysis, the required impact statements and cost benefit of service delivery "it is absolutely essential" addressing the comment to the now Minister of Health with the Warrant under which all drug enforcement is enacted. So why is Dunne the font of all things 'drug' if he is only the penny. Media should be asking the pound note - in particular as Ryall is a shoe-in on the list.
By ignoring the societal benefits, there can be no comparison with the neighbouring intoxicants (esp alcohol)  - how can the inter agency and ministerial committees be so blind?. Even the State Services Commission failed to identify the elephant in the room (not that my letter, a petition of one on this very point didn't send them into a legal tailspin ). No government is serious about fixing alcohol without resolving the tensions surrounding cannabis.
So Hon. Mr Ryall, how safe is safe?  How will that test be applied? And by whom?
Following two largely exonerative (and unanimous) health select committees on cannabis Minister of Health Annette King created the Expert Advisory Committee "to take the politics out of drug policy". Peter Dunne's announcement, this day put the politics back into policy, ignores best practice  and, it may well turn out... gift the ALCP with a platform in the law and order and alcohol debates.
The Police arresting 300 people - most of them players and consumers of an otherwise benign industry (see California) at the same time, when there was no other linkage other than 'the ever popular' cannabis tells us more about collusion with media, orchestrated good timing and blatant 'tough on crime' electioneering.
That Police should lie about the impact of the policy absent any accounting 'what they do'  only brings policing into disrepute. Curiously in other areas of public policy the Police are forbidden from commenting on policy. The last time they were before a select committee and they sold that pup that wont hunt - cannabis causes crime,  they were subsequently directed to go and do there homework and returned a few weeks later, the Police Commissioner before committee now  'having no objection to decriminalisation'.
Reform clearly is the stuff of social capital. We only have to stop institutional and political doublespeak [lying by any other name]... and this is all over.  Easy, ask them to tell 'nothing but the truth'. Transparency please.
The required law change is ALREADY on the books, royal seal of approval given the day John Key became Right and Honourable. Ironically under the Misuse of Drugs Act we made provision in a world first, to make the USE of soft recreational drugs 'regulated'. Yes, and R18. (see search for 'restricted substances regulations' )
 And that is what Dunne so pleased about, pandering to drug policy prejudices assures his re-election. He only has to say "that is unacceptable" and he gets a sound bite.
Yet, the  ALCP consistently polls more than United Future.  Odd eh?
Ask Dunne if his new drug policy is going to meet the "Regulate and Control"  Law Commissioner, Sir Geoffrey Palmer's New Zealand Bill of Rights 'legislative test' and we will see how centre middle and honest this man really is.
Drug review... Bring it on!
Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'

ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Naughty Science, Hush Yourself!

Every now and then the science turns up the irrefutable evidence that we, as a nation and as participants in a international convention, actively and purposefully constrain both debate and research into cannabis and all that that means.

We wax lyrical about being kinder and gentler about medicinal cannabis use (but not supply) and periodically say 'no objection to that' meanwhile the political shills say no change on our watch despite massive support across many jurisdictions for a change in the law.

So as a member of the biomedical  expert community I should rightly be frustrated  that mainstream media fail to pick up on the implications of this given cannabis's multi-purpose utility, prevelence of use and the continuum of 'emerging science' that validates how wrong we have current policy and how we have improperly impugned cannabis these past 40-50 years.

Here is an abstract from the latest British Journal of Pharmacology by several of my cultural hero's of the science of pot. It makes for depressing reading given the scale and magnitude of the problem we face as our population ages.

Cannabinoids are promising medicines to slow down disease progression in neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's disease (PD) and Huntington's disease (HD), two of the most important disorders affecting the basal ganglia. Two pharmacological profiles have been proposed for cannabinoids being effective in these disorders. On the one hand, cannabinoids like Δ(9) -tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabidiol protect nigral or striatal neurons in experimental models of both disorders, in which oxidative injury is a prominent cytotoxic mechanism. This effect could be exerted, at least in part, through mechanisms independent of CB(1) and CB(2) receptors and involving the control of endogenous antioxidant defences. On the other hand, the activation of CB(2) receptors leads to a slower progression of neurodegeneration in both disorders. This effect would be exerted by limiting the toxicity of microglial cells for neurons and, in particular, by reducing the generation of proinflammatory factors. It is important to mention that CB(2) receptors have been identified in the healthy brain, mainly in glial elements and, to a lesser extent, in certain subpopulations of neurons, and that they are dramatically up-regulated in response to damaging stimuli, which supports the idea that the cannabinoid system behaves as an endogenous neuroprotective system. This CB(2) receptor up-regulation has been found in many neurodegenerative disorders including HD and PD, which supports the beneficial effects found for CB(2) receptor agonists in both disorders. In conclusion, the evidence reported so far supports that those cannabinoids having antioxidant properties and/or capability to activate CB(2) receptors may represent promising therapeutic agents in HD and PD, thus deserving a prompt clinical evaluation.

Fernández-Ruiz, J; Moreno-Martet, M; Rodríguez-Cueto, C; Palomo-Garo, C; Gómez-Cañas, M; Valdeolivas, S; Guaza, C; Romero, J; Guzmán, M; Mechoulam, R; Ramos, JA
Br. J. Pharmacol. 163, 13650 (2011) /  Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular III, Instituto Universitario de Investigación en Neuroquímica, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.

Blair Anderson
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Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Black Hole Paradigm 'Applied Drug Policy'.

Preparing to burn a witch in 1544. Witch-hunts...Image via Wikipedia
What is unfair is the failure to constructively debate applied drug policy.
(commenting on, rather lamenting, the simplistic analysis over at "the Jackal" blog.)

The prevalence and apparent danger of methamphetamine use in our community is a function of poor drug policy maintained by political masters boxed into a failed model.

The moral panic and deviancy amplification that so characterises the societal and criminal justice response is so predictable as to be proscriptive yet it lacks both evidence base as a public health intervention and cost benefit analysis as an applied policy.
The tougher we are on cannabis the more we generate a methamphetamine (and other dangerous unintended consequences) problem. (see Professor James Roumasett, Economics, Hawaii University "Ice and Pokalo")

We create a soup of human rights violations purportedly to protect the public good yet fail to make any significant impact in prevention of misuse, availability or harms.

This is nothing short of black hole economics justified by politicians who pander to fears where there should be none.
Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'
ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219
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