This regime was adopted and implemented (became law) in 2008. It was a response to the marketing and sale of BZP and designed to provide appropriate rules and regulations the recognised the reality that the USE of drugs other than tobacco and alcohol is occurring, and that the rational response was not to ban and thus create contingent downsides worse than the USE of the drugs themselves.
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With an enforceable R18 (consistent with current legislation regarding access to alcohol) the RESTRICTED SUBSTANCES REGULATIONS were heralded as 'innovative' and world class by leading drug policy guru's such as Professor David Nutt. (see http://legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2008/0373/latest/whole.html )
Nutt described these rules as 'absolutely' suitable for managing cannabis, New Zealand's most popular neighbouring intoxicant. In his recent seminal paper summarised on his blog (http://profdavidnutt.wordpress.com/ ) that balances evidentially the arguments surrounding cannabis and alcohol availability - it is clear that ANY government that is serious about fixing the alcohol issue is not serious about doing so unless it addresses and fixes the glaring anomalies surrounding cannabis.
The response by Dunne et al is a nonsense while this remains the elephant in the room.
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Dunne's failure to use the fit for purpose 'regulatory model' OR even talk about it smacks of 'electoral dishonesty' and should not surprise us, given he is so marginalised from an electorate that has resoundingly said (77% variously) decriminalise pot.
It is a case of people being smarter than the purveyors of moral turpitude. There is NOTHING moral about hurting people for no good reason, and nothing correct about pretending your solution is better than something your not prepared to discuss.
Consider this comment by Professor Nutt:
Taken together we estimate that alcohol is at least twice as harmful to users than cannabis and 5 times more harmful to society. The obvious conclusion is that the current legislation criminalising cannabis users is illogical as well as inhumane and may be causing much more harm than it does good. Time for a rational intervention Mr Cameron? (ipsofacto Tony Ryall, John Key etc)
The full paper can be found in the Journal of Psychopharmacology http://jop.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/09/03/0269881111414751
Dunne deserves a good electoral ass kicking, but media are complicit in pandering to fears where there are none and failing in there duty to balanced reporting, elsewise they would have asked him WHY drive people to drink?