The Helen Clark Foundation's Kathy Errington with an update on developments around cannabis legalisation ahead of the referendum at the general election

The Helen Clark Foundation's Kathy Errington with an update on developments around cannabis legalisation ahead of the referendum at the general election

This week’s Top 5 comes from Kathy Errington, executive director of public policy think tank The Helen Clark Foundation. Errington looks at some of the latest developments about cannabis legalisation in New Zealand ahead of the referendum in the September 19 election.

As always, we welcome your additions in the comments below or via email to david.chaston@interest.co.nz.

And if you're interested in contributing the occasional Top 5 yourself, contact gareth.vaughan@interest.co.nz.

On 12 August at 11am the Helen Clark Foundation and the NZ Drug Foundation will be hosting a free webinar about cannabis legalisation featuring the Rt Hon Helen Clark. For more details or to sign up (for free!) see here

In the lead up to the referendum on the legalisation of cannabis to be held alongside the general election on September 19, polling indicates that the result is still too close to call. At the Helen Clark Foundation we do not advocate the use of cannabis, or indeed any drug - including legal ones like tobacco and alcohol - but our research last year demonstrated that current laws based on prohibition have failed to prevent drug use while worsening the harm to the minority of cannabis users who struggle with addiction and dependency. For that reason we have spoken up in support of a yes vote.

 Last year I contributed a 'top 5' about drug law reform in New Zealand. So what has changed since then?

1. Law amendment failed.

The misuse of drugs amendment was a failure. Many people continue to be prosecuted for cannabis offenses, at the same rate as before the bill was passed.

Recent reporting from Derek Cheng at the New Zealand Herald shows how New Zealand's current uneven application of cannabis laws, which leave the drug illegal while directing police not to prosecute users 'unless there is a public interest' is (unsurprisingly) not working very well. This is because ultimately the laws make no sense. Why leave something illegal that you do not want to see people prosecuted for? How can senior politicians confess to committing a crime on TV with no fear of consequences, while other Kiwis see their lives ruined for doing the same? It is much better for legislators to lift the burden from police and simply legalise something if they do not want to see criminal prosecutions continue. This has the added benefit of freeing up police time to focus on more serious crime. 

2. Helping you decide.

The Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor released an informative site about cannabis legalisation. Unfortunately many people may have missed it as it was released during school holidays!

The site does not make a recommendation about how to vote. It only presents the most up to date evidence. Worth a look if you are undecided. 

3. Implications for Māori voters.

Dr Moana Theodore of Otago University released some analysis to inform Māori voters of the health and criminal justice implications of the referendum.

Her work shows that young Māori are three times more likely to be arrested and convicted for a cannabis-related offence.

Once convicted, virtually all users (95%) resume using at the same rate as before they were arrested. Many of the rest use at a higher rate. The full article is available for free here

4. Helen Clark's views.

Our Patron, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, spoke to Anna Wilcox of the Crowd goes Wild on Instagram about this topic.  Watch the whole interview here

5. 'Decriminalisation' not the sensible way.

My colleague at AUT, Khylee Quince, wrote this excellent piece at newsroom about why 'decriminalisation' is not a sensible way forward. 

"In addition to the criticism that the police have applied their informal policy of decriminalisation in a racist, discriminatory fashion, there is a bigger rule of law point to be made here. The police are not the makers of law in our legal system – they are the enforcement arm. The police have an appropriately limited role to use their discretion in any given case as to whether charges are justified in the public interest.

This should not extend however to a general policy that the law does not apply or should be ignored, except in a few instances where the transgressors are predominantly young, male, Māori. Parliament makes the law, and they have chosen not to repeal or amend the Misuse of Drugs Act in any significant way for 45 years.

Legalisation would give clarity as to the status of cannabis. No one could be charged, convicted or imprisoned for use or possession per se. Police could not use suspicion of cannabis use or possession to justify wider search, seizure or surveillance activities. This does not mean that people whose performance at work or driving is impaired would be off scot-free however, as employment contracts and traffic law will determine those boundaries – as they currently do in relation to abuse of alcohol."

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

112 Comments

Ask anyone in government authority which are the best laws. They are the ones where the authorities can catch the most people doing something illegal, and then it is their own decision on whether to prosecute them or not. It gives them more power to let off people they like, and nail those they don't.

This whole article is simple bullshit .

It suggests we must change the law to accommodate people committing an offence, simply because so many continue to do so ?

Why not change the speed limit to go as fast as you like because so many road users travel over 100kph ?

Or allow youngsters to commit traffic violations and driver- licence infringements , simply because they continue to break the laws in such large numbers ?

Or change the law to allow shoplifting because so many do it when they know its illegal ?

We are on a slippery slope to nowhere if we end up with many thousands of dope smokers who cant work because they are high all day .

QUITE SIMPLY EVERYONE SHOULD VOTE ............NO !

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You seem to have chosen examples where there is significant harm to others. Speeding, dangerous driving and shoplifting all impact others. Having a quiet smoke of an evening affects noone else. The fact is it's so available at the moment virtually everyone who wants to use it does so already - there will not be a dramatic increase leading to thousands unable to work.

Those who currently smoke and hold down perfectly normal jobs will continue to do so. Those unable to hold down jobs will continue to self-medicate as they like, with the small improvement of no longer being labelled criminals and risking their health with substances of unknown origin.

You seem to have chosen an example that does not harm someone but equally someone driving under the influence of a drug like this can be lethal to others ?
You neglect to mention the huge number of people who can be adversely affect. If its medical that is possible under the current law.

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Imagine how hard it would be to stay under the drink-drive limit if alcoholic drinks didn't have their strength labelled on them - no idea if you're drinking a shandy or a vodka. Won't life be better once people who choose to use cannabis can buy an appropriate strength rather than throwing the dice? Drug-driving will of course still be illegal and punished.

Haha, I'm not sure whether to laugh or just shake my head at your level of naivety mfd. If you truly think people who smoke cannabis will buy various strengths I'm afraid you're a bit misguided

Perhaps we run in different circles. My friends who continue to smoke often complain that much of the supply is strong hydroponic stuff rather than the old bush weed - they'd love to have the option of some mellow stuff.

Or maybe they should try the option of smoking less of it at a time?

I agree mfd, this would be probably the only good outcome of the proposed law change.

Do you want alcohol made illegal as well?

A couple of questions;

It is disappointing that no statistics are presented her (or anywhere) on how many, if any, people are being arrested and prosecuted for using cannabis- my suspicion is none. Can anybody provide that data? I suspect that the police are more interested in the suppliers.

And who will pay the health costs? Studies are already out that indicate that the physical impacts of regular smoking of cannabis has similar, but different impacts to tobacco. The studies on the mental health impacts are yet to come out, but ask yourself do you want to fly in an aircraft that has been serviced by an individual high on cannabis? Or ride on a bus being driven by someone smoking a joint?

the Government has a plan to outlaw smoking tobacco by 2025 because of the health and economic impacts, why then would we legalise the smoking of another weed irrespective of the rationalisation?

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I presume you also favour criminalisation of alcohol suppliers under the same rationale

The old "alcohol is bad too" argument. Akin to the Labour vs National state housing failure debates.

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Not really. Our laws should apply principles equally - if something is made illegal because it is harmful, all other things equally harmful should also be made illegal. To have a system that is inconsistent, such as it is today, is a failure of government picking winners and losers.

Yea but they aren't equally harmful, are they? Different substances have different qualities and therefore different harmful effects. Legalising on the premise that it's no worse than alcohol without properly identifying and acknowledging the specific risks of a substance is reckless.

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You're right, they're not equally harmful, alcohol kills, maims and is responsible for far more violence than marijuana by a factor of 10.

@ Te Kooti ...what kind of logic are you using with such a comment ?

The reason alcohol is statistically more harmful than cannabis , IS BECAUSE ITS NOT AN ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE !

I drink alcohol because its legal to do so and I can buy it easily .

I , like most adults, dont use Cannabis , because its illegal to buy or use .

We are going to have a HUGE problem with Cannabis induced substance abuse with a drug that as easy to grow as weeds , and way cheaper than alcohol or tobacco.

It's quite simple ......VOTE NO !

The Dunedin and Christchurch longitudinal studies found that in both groups (born in the 70s), around 80% of participants tried cannabis. Most people do not care about stupid laws and make their own minds up.

Do you think there'll be a dramatic uptick from 80% if it's made legal, and that would in some way be catastrophic?

Sounds like a ridiculous biased study, I guess its put out by he equally bias drug org that makes money from people affected by addiction.
What a load of rubbish to say 80% of any group has used it.

Both are very useful long term longitudinal studies. I have not heard anyone call them biased before, and I don't believe they have any axe to grind regarding drugs. In fact the Dunedin study found a correlation between cannabis use and a variety of poor health outcomes.

https://dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz/files/1588627345587.pdf

"The majority of New Zealanders (approximately 80%) born in the 1970s report using cannabis at least once, despite its illegal status"

"There was a consistent dose–response relation between increasing levels of, and/or persistence of cannabis use and a range of deleterious health outcomes including loss of cognitive capacity, increased respiratory symptoms and impaired lung function, periodontal disease, compromised educational achievement and employment history, as well as a host of negative social outcomes (e.g. criminal convictions, relationship' difficulties,driving impairment). No discernable impacts upon cardiovascular function were observed. The majority of cannabis users did so with little or no harm."

I'm sure you'll be just as skeptical about the second statement as you were about the first. Of course, being a longitudinal study, it's difficult to unpick correlation from causation.

Boatman you really do need to be a little more moderate and a little less closed minded. I'll correct you on a couple of things:
1: The majority of adults born after 1960 have at least tried cannabis, many still consume it regularly
2: It doesn't actually grow like a weed
3: It isn't and won't be cheaper than alcohol

Have you even bothered to look at the data from places that have legalized it?

So there are no health risks with marijuana? Ok no worries lets legalise then

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Yes, there are health risks with Marijuana just as there are with alcohol, high calorie foods and a sedentary lifestyle. Only one is currently illegal though.

So because there are risks with currently legal substances, marijuana should be legal?

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If society believes the utility outweighs the risks, yes. I really dislike the hypocrisy of the white middle class drug being legal but god forbid if the natives have a joint, let's lock them up.

We'll find out soon enough if they do. Sure, there is plenty of historical stigma around marijuana, but my main concern is that legalisation will provide more problems than solutions

Going out on a limb there Te Kooti with the "white middle class drug" thing. I would submit that alcohol (the drug I'm assuming you're referencing) wreaks far more havoc on Maori and Pacifica communities than cannabis. Would you prefer the Govt restricts alcohol access to the affore mentioned communities due to a Harm inflicted index

Alcohol is a white middle class drug, that's why it's legal and pot isn't. You may be correct in that if pot were legal and adopted by M & PI, that may be less bad.

I would take issue with your assertion that because alcohol, in your view, is a "white middle class drug" it's legal. Alcohol is legal because it's mass production is regulated and it's a revenue earner. It has nothing what so ever to do with race. By your reckoning should we then call pot a "brown lower socio economic drug" and thus legalise it for that segment of the community only?

What we need to do is stop incarcerating our indigenous people for cultivating and using a substance any rational person will accept causes no more harm than alcohol.

Don't assume anything, but don't try to argue that alcohol is harmless either.

And does this mean you're happy that the next aircraft you fly on has been serviced by some high on cannabis, or the bus, or for that matter other cars are being driven by individuals high on it? You're arguing for alcohol too.

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Neither would I want my pilot or driver on alcohol either. Marijuana can be detected just as alcohol can. Marijuana has been legal in many US states + Canada for a number of years and have you heard about any plane crashes attributable to this? You like alcohol because it's your drug of choice. For the record, I don't like dope either but my people are criminalised disproportionately and I would rather educate them not to use it than see their futures ruined by a criminal record.

Cannabis has been detected in the postmortems of aircrew on a number of occasions in fatal crashes around the world. However while it has been identified as a possible contributor, it is seldom stated that it is the cause. Same a a drunk driver - going to fast because he was drunk, but the cause of the crash? Excessive speed. I'll edit my last comment - today they often do just say he was drunk, with the implication - STUPID.

It's usually detected because the INACTIVE metabolites can be picked up for weeks or months due to them being fat soluble. That's why no one takes claims like this seriously, you'd need to do salivary tests or other to show true impairment.

Imagine a beer you had two months ago being blamed for a crash you had today. Alcohol testing is not equivalent in your example because that test is directly correlated with realtime impairment.

Te Kooti I want you to mull this over.. Maori are criminalised disproportionately because most of the prime production areas for cannabis are in relatively deprived rural areas where there is arguably a "disproportionate" number of Maori living without jobs. Growing and selling cannabis is viewed as a relatively easy way to make money. I challenge you to refute that observation in regards to Northland/Gisborne/Eastern Bay of Plenty. It is not the use of cannabis that gets Maori arrested but the cultivation and distribution of it. You and I both know cannabis was the financial mainstay of many communities in the areas I've listed above.

So why not legalise it to give these communities a viable business opportunity?
It would beat arresting people and perpetuating their poverty as we do now.

Yeah, good point Pluto. If the Govt gave people in these areas a hand to establish viable businesses that would indeed be a good thing. Unfortunately there's nothing in the current proposal that speaks to that possibility. Who knows.. maybe it's in development. I'll probably vote yes, but I don't think it's a panacea that Chloe and co think it is

That is clearly the case Hook, legalising would still reduce the number of convictions however. I'm not even convinced it will be that much of a sustainable economic boost, the large Canadian and US manufacturers are so sophisticated and could easily supply NZ without missing a beat.

This is true Te Kooti. Hikurangi are trying something and I hope it goes well for them but I think NZ is a late starter overall

There is a lot of economic lessons in the drug trade. Look at cocaine; a kg of cocaine in Colombia is worth around $5k, $10k in Southern Mexico, $15k in Northern Mexico, $50k in El Paso, $70k in Chicago, $300k in Sydney. Perfectly priced for the degree of risk and production is very small part of the value chain.

I'm not sure equating the cocaine trade with the cannabis trade is particularly relevant IMO. Let's face it.. growing, distributing and consuming cannabis is relatively benign compared to some of the alternatives. Legalising low level consumption/possession isn't really that big a deal. Legalising large scale production to supply the market will be an interesting but necessary next step

My exaggerated point is that production contributes little to the value chain, the bulk goes to distribution where illegal and branding where legal.

I'm not so sure.. in my experience the value extracted is dependant on the volume sold. A pound sells for 3-4K, break it into oz's and 16x450=7200, break the ozs into tinnies and 30x20x16=8400. In NZ the growers are independant price setters, in South America the growers are cartel controlled price takers.. BIG difference

Your math is precisely the point I was making, the value is in distribution. A wholesale amount broken down into retail amounts goes up in value 10 fold.

Yeah, I'll give you that. The point I was trying to make was a grower can also be a distributor, your argument is valid across all sectors of production.

The stats for cannabis offences are available here;

https://www.justice.govt.nz/justice-sector-policy/research-data/justice-...

Lots of information in the spreadsheet.

Last year, 3,384 charges were laid for simple possession and/or use. It seems to run pretty near that number for the past 5 years.

Thanks Kate, good link. Those stats are not cheery, and can be interpreted negatively quite easily. As an analyst though, I understand that statistics never tell the full story, and I am curious about that. Are you aware if there is any deeper research into them? In particular with the guidance that Police get, why are they charging so many for possession and use? I'll keep the race issue out, but I am concerned that there may be a significant component of that to this.

See tabs 7 and 8 for the demographic data.

Is cannabis a drug?

Will a guy who has been a long-term consumer of cannabis be
. significantly losing short term memory
. significantly losing span of concentration
. significantly weakening respiratory system
. significantly increasing chances of being mentally ill
??

The British East India company, supported by the British Empire, grew opium and on-sold them to China to poison the country in 1800s.

I cannot imagine it is now supporting to poison itself and its colonies.

Sounds like a political junkie to me.

Haha, and a very historically challenged one at that.

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The most dangerous and sinister aspect of cannabis is getting caught with it.

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In my own personal experiences living in Amsterdam for a few years, is that it is just normal. If it is legalised some will make pigs of themselves but that will wear off fast and their intake drop off.
I don't use it but I have no issues with those who do. Seeing it everywhere for three years, I just dont batter an eyelid at all and fail to understand people's concerns. It is everywhere in NZ and that will not change at all if it is legal or not.
I havent read up on the details, I would be pro if it was legalised but anti if it was only a select group that could monpolise it as a business and add marketing to it.

Kezza I think the Govt is looking offshore and seeing the tax revenue. It will almost definitely become a business proposition (highly regulated). I'm not too sure about overt marketing, I would expect that to be discouraged but word of mouth will probably suffice for any producer. Interestingly in California now cannabis is legalised, taxed and state controlled rather than reduce the blackmarket supply it's actually enhanced it. Apparently legal weed is so expensive people are going back to their old suppliers

Problem is even in areas where cannabis supposedly legalised like California, the US Government is making it extremely difficult for cannabis business to work as legitimate business since they're very heavily and punitively taxed which is why over 80% of that states cannabis sales still occur on the black market. I would also suspect that the US Government would rather protect big pharmaceutical companies that sell far more addictive drugs such as Opioids then look out for their people. There's a very interesting documentary on Netflix that discloses this quite well called The Business of Drugs. https://www.netflix.com/nz/title/80199963

One of the differences with what is proposed here is that people here would be able to grow their own as well.

Yep and therefore no tax revenue for the government. Plus big pharma wouldn't like that either since they would loose a big share of their customers.

When I was living in Amsterdam they changed the law from 3 plants per person to 30.

I too have just returned to NZ after living with my young family in the netherlands for 7yrs. The fact that it is illegal here in NZ is stifling, backwards, ultra conservative and anti social. For all the people who stick to the line that legalising weed is going to be extremely bad for NZ - how many of them have lived in a place where it is legal?
I could imagine if there was social media available back when alcohol was illegal you would find the same narrow minded and inexperienced conservatism asking to keep alcohol illegal for all the same reasons as mentioned today for pot. And the law here is definitely racist as is mentioned in the article.

Lived over there for three years and agree.
Utter madness that it is not legal in NZ. This is much like the same sex marriages hype awhile ago. People worried that they were catch gayness or something as spooky.
Its a drug, crazy, mind altering, they will come and chop your heads off, steal from their own family for aother hit.

Helen Clark supporting the destruction of the youths brains, a proven fact up till the age of 25 you can dramatically affect peoples brains some more than others even from one go at it.

This is purely about getting a cut of the tax, next step to legalise all drugs I'm sure.

@my2c............ its quite simple .............VOTE NO !

When someone says 'it's quite simple' you almost always know they're wrong.

Fingers crossed, eh? Prohibition has been a complete failure.

They are actually doing the opposite by creating a regulated market. It's ironic that views like yours actually cause more harm despite I'm sure your 'good intentions'. You'd have to also be very naive to assume youth don't have access to it now.

We certainly had no trouble getting hold of it as teens in the 90s, we used to just rock up to tinny houses and wallah! No ID checks were ever required. Alcohol was harder to procure precisely because it wasn't being sold in an unregulated black market.

Do you ever wonder why alcohol prohibition was abolished if it was so successful at curtailing alcohol use and harm?

Did you know my2c that the first study in the entire world that found there was a problem where a very few teenage users can suffer psychosis from marijuana use was in fact the Dunedin longitudinal study, the very one that at 1:09pm you said:

Sounds like a ridiculous biased study, I guess its put out by he equally bias drug org that makes money from people affected by addiction.

These same study authors have put out this article about what they think about marijuana legalization in NZ: https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago738055.html

They in fact support it.

Perhaps if you hold the research that says teenagers can suffer from cognitive problems due to marijuana use in such high regard, then you should also listen to those same researchers opinions when they say weighing up all available evidence, marijuana should be legalized in New Zealand.

There has been a lot of discourse regarding the referendum. Unfortunately it is another, in this case extremely, poorly thought out piece of legislation. From a criminality point of view the law regarding simple possession/consumption it has its merits, however let me pose these questions:
1: As proposed the limits on possession would be about 1/2 an ounce. Given people will be able to legally cultivate, what happens when you harvest a plant carrying 32 times that weight in DM?
2: Will people be able to sell 1/2 oz's legally to each other?
3: Will we see an uptick in trespass/theft/assault charges when someones legally grown plant is stolen or attempted to be?

I'm very confused about how I'll vote in this one. For my mind, the whole argument has been under-pinned by 'tax and regulate' rhetoric. Allowing people to grow their own totally undermines that, for my mind. Ditto on the volume generated when a plant is harvested - it's a bizarre idea that you'd have to legally destroy most of your own crop. Has that really been thought through?

I see no reason to continue criminalising it but the finer points on this are quite confusing and I'm having trouble understanding whether we're decriminalising use or decriminalising small-scale supply. How this puts the gangs off (one of the supposed strengths of legalisation) is beyond me. I'd like to say I voted yes to legalise it, but I'm not a fan of what is proposed.

Well GV here's the thing.. the gangs have now moved on to meth so it won't affect them in anything but a minor way. In my small rural town it's harder to get an oz of weed than it is to get a gram of meth. With the prevalence of drug testing in workplaces peoples drug of choice is one that washes out of the body in 48hrs or so, not one that takes 48 days. As I said above this a cr@p piece of populist legislation that will create more problems than it solves. It's poorly researched and poorly constructed by people who actually have little knowledge of the practicalities involved.

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It needs to be de-criminalised so we stop ruining peoples lives (disproportionately Maori). If you have been to Abbot Kinney Dr in LA you will see just how sophisticated and well packaged the industry is, like walking into an Apple shop. Less than 5% of the product is sold raw, it's patches or sprays or tinctures or edibles. The biggest advancement is knowing what strength of dose and mood you are getting, 1/10 strength is barely detectable but just lifts your mood. Many users have substituted CBD/THC for their anti-depressants. They can remove anxiety, help insomnia etc etc. This is an industry so far removed from what your average Kiwi understands it to be. It's better for your health than alcohol as well. I never liked dope, but this is light years away from what we grew up with.

That's the thing - why would I buy when I can grow? I'm not being offered the chance to vote for a highly regulated industry, I'm being asked to vote for industry AND home grow; but somehow people are going to grow far milder strains at lower potencies than what we have in the wild today, while also paying for a regulated and tax product? This is only slightly less ridiculous than it being illegal in the first place. All for the social implications of legalising it and blank slating convictions where we can, but let's not implement a shitty system because we've tried to make it all things to all people.

GV you need to do a bit more research regarding your so-called "wild strains". NZ already has some of, if not THE, most potent cannabis in the world. The seeds of which are readily available. The regulated and taxed product will be successful because not everyone who wants to smoke it can grow it. It's not that easy to grow successfully and I'd say there are a lot of people who wouldn't know the difference between a male and female plant (yes they are sexed). As I've said here repeatedly, cr@p law poorly researched and poorly constructed. Maybe the referendum should fail so our pollys can go back and have another look at it but this time involve some people who actually are involved in the industry.

Why do bottle shops exist when you can brew as much alcohol as you want?

Two reasons,
1:people are lazy and
2; people are lazy

Yep, so that's why 99%?of alcohol consumers pay for a regulated and taxed product rather than produce it themselves. That's why despite personal growing being legal under this referredum, we'd still profit as a country from a regulated and taxed business market for cannabis.

@GV its quite simple ........................VOTE NO

Its quite simple ............ VOTE NO !

Its staggering that we are even having this debate .

Cannabis is a dangerous mind-altering substance, worse than alcohol or cigarettes , and its long term effects on high users is terrible , as bad as, if not worse than alcoholism

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That is really simple... for a simple mind perhaps ;)

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I dont expect to hear another nanny state or personal freedom statement from you then?

Haha. Boatman I think you're being a bit alarmist with that. It's no less of a harmful substance with heavy use, but I doubt it's that much worse. Actually I know it's no worse.. I was a heavy long term user (4-5 joints a day for probably 30 yrs) so I speak from experience. The difference with cannabis is it's a psychologically addictive drug i.e you can wake up one morning and say "bugger this - I'm done with it". Alcohol and tobacco are physically addictive - you wind up suffering withdrawal symptoms.

I read a study showing that pot smokers generally do X amount if years then call it quits or button off considerserbly. Defintally my experience with people I know as well.

DP.

I dont smoke pot but it is arround sometimes. I am offered and I decline, no big deal, maybe a little glance worried I'm a undercover then all good.
I decided to give up drinking for a year and wow the peer pressure to have one beer is amazing, 'come on, just have one', 'one won't hurt, we won't tell anyone'. Mates stop calling and popping around, it's like you have an infectious disease.

Kezza, I think some folks get to the point where they just can't be bothered with weed. I grew my own for probably 10 years and just finally got sick of faffing around with it. I think dope smoking is something most people just grow out of.. some sooner than later

Luckily your concern has been addressed in medical literature and it was found cannabis is a safer drug than nicotine and alcohol. If you're interested (which I suspect you're not) you could google 'Rationale Drug Harm Index' and see for yourself. Multiple studies on this matter were published in The Lancet which is a leading medical journal, no offence but I'll take their opinion over yours Boatman.

I've read your comments for a few years and am normally in whole hearted agreement with your insights and takes.

In this instance you're simply wrong. I will be voting YES! Seeing as you've not bothered to offer anything but tired prohibitionist tropes I'm not going to argues and will have my say at the ballot box. :)

Or we can look at the actual evidence from the experts:

The study shows that that by adulthood most New Zealanders (born in the 1970’s and now approaching middle age) have tried cannabis and did so with relative impunity, escaping serious health and or social consequences. However for a small portion who used cannabis frequently or became dependent, the study outlines a number of ‘non-trivial’ negative outcomes.

“These range from impairment in psychological function, loss of cognitive capacity, poorer respiratory and gum health, and a range of negative psychosocial consequences such as early school leaving and academic underachievement, failure in employment and the workplace, dependence on social benefits, and risk of criminal conviction or incarceration,” Professor Poulton says.

Given that New Zealand’s high rate of cannabis use has occurred at a time when cannabis was illegal, the study authors question if cannabis should be treated as a health issue instead of a legal issue.

“The illegal status of marijuana does not prevent most people from using, and arrests and convictions do not lead to a reduction in use, and often see a bias against Maori.

“I’ve been giving evidence to various health select committees about cannabis use and harms for almost a quarter of a century and raise the same point each time: harms associated with cannabis use should be treated as a health issue, not as a legal issue, with a strong preference for evidence-informed preventive and early intervention approaches but these are impeded by the legal status of cannabis,” Professor Poulton says.

Emphasis mine.

https://www.otago.ac.nz/news/news/otago738055.html

Say no to that whacky backy young whippersnappers! Or I'll bend you over my knee and give you a spanking with my walking cane! Now where is my walking cane... what day is it? I think I'm lost...

Good article, Though I suspect that the real reason why most governments don't want to decriminalize soft drugs like cannabis is because they don't want to detract "customers" away from the larger pharmaceuticals markets that promote pain management products. Mostly highly addictive Opioids prescribed by doctors and dentists. Netflix has a very interesting documentary that sheds light on this area: The Business of Drugs. https://www.netflix.com/nz/title/80199963

No you can already get prescribed it for medical use

Not for THC product though, Sativex is only funded for multiple sclerosis and is generally too prohibitively expensive for others without this to use.

What riles me about this debate are the hypocrites that cry nanny state and personal freedom over every other government interference in their lives, suddenly about face and put the boot in.

Absolutely. I’m voting ‘No’ because it’s Chloe pushing it and because the shallow thinking pisses so many of you lefties off. That’s democracy for you.

So you admit to being an idiot, then.

You being an idiot doesn't pass me off, just makes me sad that idiots are allowed to vote.

Did anyone read this article in the NZ Herald?
Very good IMHO.

Gran with a plan: The great-grandmother facilitating medicinal cannabis use
26 Apr, 2020
By: Russel Brown

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12326752

Pity it's behind a paywall, should have been publicly available I reckon.

I know medical CBD oil is available thru a doctor, but is rather more expensive than the "black market" CBD oil plus the cost of the Dr visit.
In my case I use it daily after a severe operation.

antonymouse, I would STRONGLY recommend you go back to the medical version... you don't want to know how that BM oil is produced or what chemical residues are in it. I do and wouldn't touch the stuff.

Iso propyl alcohol, that is evaporated off leaving just the oil behind. Thats all that is used.

Hahahaha YDaB..Gimme a break mate!!! tried buying Iso in large quantities lately (if ever)???? Just because you Googled it doesn't mean that's what's used in the real world.

Pretty easy to buy actually? its common knowledge all you need is iso as a solvent to extract the oil from the plant

I very much doubt you're speaking from experience regarding iso. Not many places you can go buy 20ltrs of Iso without questions being asked. Most people use something far cheaper and easier to get - Meths

Lol no one uses meths, your dealer sucks if thats the case. Heaps of places if you've got a trade account.

Not many dealers have a trade account bud. That's my point. To have a trade account to get Iso you'd need to be in the Printing industry or maybe Tanning industry. Maybe Electronics industry. Neither sound like fertile ground for Can. Oil makers

You've got no idea my guy...

Well I do have an idea about what happens in my neck of the woods. Maybe yours is different, but I doubt it

Lighter fluid can also be used. It's a gold colour instead of black.

Mechanics can get it in bulk to clean auto parts..

So can painters. Honestly not hard to get

Thanks for the warning Hook, I know where my CBD comes from and how it's made. Cheers

Glad to hear that am. As long as you can trust your supplier then no harm is done

Canabus, marriageuana. Skank. Call it what you want. It is a drug. Certainly not as addictive as nicotine, certainly not as destructive as alcohol. Let's be logical and treat them all the same.
How about going the Swedish way where all drugs whether alcohol, nicotine or weed are obtainable only from govamint run. Shops.

Or make them all ulligal. Prohibition that's the answer. Bring back the cane whiel we are at it.

Sory about the spilling must have been that redwine I was drinking last night or the ciggies

Aside from impairment issues, ho does legalising cannabis fit with the government's smoke free NZ objectives