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, November 01, 2013

Cannabis Ballooning Issue

If cannabis was permitted for responsible adult use in NZ, it would still be unacceptable and illegal for operators of machinery - including pilots - to consume on the job, say advocates for law reform.

Site of one of NZ's worst Air Accidents.

‘Discussion around the Carterton balloon tragedy needs to look beyond 'drug testing' and examine the failure of prohibition to achieve its stated aim. A failure despite imposed or optional overheads in personnel/business risk management and the huge taxpayer investment in enforcement of the law.

MildGreen policy analysts say the illegality of weed is hypocritical and DANGEROUS, breeding DISRESPECT, and impairing health and safety. They are adamant that although the balloon pilot’s evident cannabis use may well have impaired his judgement, contributing to the horrific accident, the FAILURE of prohibition is ultimately responsible for any cannabis implicated harms occurring in the community, on the nation’s roads, and in NZ adventure tourism industry.

“Marijuana consumers would have a far greater appreciation of impairment risks, far greater access to health services, harm reduction, and quit programmes, and far greater respect for rules, if the context of use was not saturated with the hypocritical and alienating CRIMINALISATION law” argues Kevin O'Connell, where ‘Bad laws breed disrespect’, and it appears that the balloon pilot Lance Hopping, like many New Zealanders in the cannabis culture, did not have much respect for the nation's sanctimonious prohibition law.

The MildGreens are advocates for Harm Minimisation in relation to cannabis, alcohol and other drugs, and the group say that vilifying and criminalising cannabis does not in any way adequately deter use (including ‘impairing’ use) of the natural plant, and that the chronic absence of integrity in NZ drug controls protects no one.

‘It is estimated conservatively that half a million New Zealanders are marijuana consumers; the prohibition law fundamentally does not work.

‘Legalisation is capacity-building for people, it allows for responsibility and moderation, notions which are suppressed under the prohibition law – it is human nature to rebel against being coerced not to do something that is widely considered completely natural thing to do’ is understood widely by many, and underpins the global movement to bring cannabis related harms under control.... by legal regulation. Saying No is just Nuts says the MildGreen East Christchurch by-election candidate Blair Anderson, who points out that an unprecedented 6:10 Americans now agree. [NYTimes]

The public of NZ are being mislead about the need for ongoing prohibition to protect the community. The law achieves exactly the opposite of its aim to deter and eradicate use of the herb. This is a fact acknowledged by two Select Committee  enquiries by the New Zealand Parliament (1998 and 2003), yet the highly punitive approach continues to thrive, with NO ACCOUNTABILITY, and no cost-effectiveness assessment.

NZ has a massive marijuana culture where cannabis is hugely perceived by a vast sector of the population, as being relatively safe.

‘Cannabis is widely perceived as being relatively safe, because it is relatively safe – that does not mean that it is completely safe’. says Anderson. 

The bottom line is that cannabis illegality protected no-one in balloon crash. This, Haast and other incidences are happening on prohibitions watch, will there be no end to this madness? ask the MildGreens.

Media and law makers should be asking ‘’how is it that prohibited substances are so readily available?”  - We know the answer: it is because prohibition is a grossly deficient means of control.

While the advocates agree that drug and alcohol testing may reduce risks in the aviation / tourism industries, that the underlying intervention, the highly indicated RESPECT for rules and regulations is long overdue, in particular priority given to CANNABIS LAW REFORM, putting it on par with alcohol and tobacco as an adults only [R18] product consistent with the Class D provisions of the recent psychoactive substances regulations.

The MildGreens are equally concerned that some [mainstream] media are reporting that Mr Hopping’s use WAS a factor in the crash. They agree that while the apparent use MAY have been a factor (as found by the Transport Authority), the pilots implicated errors of judgement may well have had nothing to do with the presence or not of Cannabis metabolites even at 2mg/l particularly in an experienced user.  

There is a big difference between ‘was’ and ‘may’ in a standard of proof as it is in standards of editorial reporting say the advocates.

They say that journalists reporting that cannabis WAS a factor in the tragedy are both publishing and broadcasting misinformation. see 

Cannabis prohibition generates many media stories, and the MildGreens say the public should be aware of propaganda and scapegoating of cannabis users, as has occurred in this tragic case.

Blair Anderson and Kevin O'Connell
Social Ecologists 'at large'
Christchurch, New Zealand
ph nz  (643) 389 4065
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