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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Logging Off

Canterbury's finest of to make building ply.
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Dunne the Insignificant

English: Peter Dunne
English: Peter Dunne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dunne, who on less and less votes and insignificant recognition in recent polls, lead and then abandoned his vain attempt to reconcile his Drug Tzar label and his need to succeed [at something] after announcing his world class regulation of psychoactives. He was flogging a dead horse. No good will come of any drug by drug approach that insulates alcohol and marginalises 500,000 kiwi cannabis consumers. Drug by Drug [vs All Drug policy] is utterly necessary to ensure cannabis stay where it is. It is also inconsistent with the nations guiding document on drug policy, aptly named the "National Drug Policy" which was a world first in its liberal thinking and proposing that best practice [public health] would be found in the holistic vision of an ALL DRUG (inc legal ones) policy trajectory... later endorsed by the Law Commission.
Peter Dunne ruined all that when he struck down the "Restricted Substances Regulations 2008" in favour of his dog's breakfast, PSA!
For that reason he should be forgotten, let alone honoured.

Blair Anderson
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Thursday, June 05, 2014

Justice, Health or Social Issue.... Cannabis Policy up for Grabs.

An advertisement distributed by the Federal Bu...
An advt:  Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1935
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recently the meme of political rhetoric surrounding cannabis has been  harm minimisation as opposed to abstinence being the most useful way of supporting those in our community 'for whom Marijuana use is problematic'.  (note use of perjorative terminology 'marijuana')

What then of the bulk of cannabis use that is not problematic?
Is this to remain 'criminal' and if so, Why?

Are Politicians aware that the Christchurch Longitudinal Health and Development Study shows that 4:5 in the surveyed demograph have used cannabis MORE than five times. (announced at Healthy Christchurch meeting, Baptist Church just before Sept 1010 earthquakes. ref: Dr Jo Boden)

Should everyone of Childbearing age be urine tested for 'criminal' behaviours? Or is this to be another law in name only that still discharges responsibility for quality control and age of consent to be administered by the illicit networks?

Would such a decriminal status be worse or better than legally regulated PSA?

How does decriminalised cannabis improve 'all drug policy' [inc alcohol] ? and why have we never done a policy impact statement for the options before us (including the status quo)?

It looks as though this subject IS going to be an election issue. It is one that defines who can think 'best practice' and who is going to cowtow to prohibitionist thinking.

Blair Anderson
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Monday, May 26, 2014

Keeping Cannabis On The Boil,

Hi Brian, thanks for your better stories on cannabis. (see 

Brian Rudman: Hulse keeping marijuana reform pot on the boil

Better than the Police who continue to be confounded by this issue...  I was at the Health Select Committee meeting when Assoc Commish. Holyoak told the MP's that Police would have no objection to 'decriminalisation' (what ever he meant by that).

Subsequently, I had my hand all over the "declassification"  or Class D "Restricted Substances Regulations 2008" that became law the day John Key became Prime Minister.  I was the guy who told the committee HOW to make the crucial change. By Order in Council.   Which is what happened. (despite United Future doing everything it could to stop it)   As the law was being gazetted during the 2008 election it went unnoticed.
Potential harm of commonly used drugs based on...
Potential harm of commonly used drugs based on a study by David Nutt, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
No political pundit, journalist, commentator or morally afflicted MP spoke against the gazetting or the adoption of  Assoc Health Minister, Hon Jim Anderton's (actually it was Helen Clark's 'partial prohibition') before or AFTER. It became law. The schema was acknowledged as being 'World Class' by the likes of Professor David Nutt and others.  It was later when Dunne's PSA became law, deleting Class D,  that Dunne used that 'accreditation' as if it was his own, and of his initiative. It was not. PSA was destined to fail, not because of lack of political will,  rather it was never a harm reduction law in  the first place.   Harm reduction required an ALL drug policy response... PSA was a perverse 'drug by drug' reversal of that best practice  schema (see National Drug Policy circa 1996).  If you want to know more on this you can  ph me on 021823647 

I'll leave you with this little homily.... if cannabis was substituted where ever alcohol or tobacco was used it would add, on average, 24 years to an individual 'consumer of legals'  life expectancy.   Even if this estimate is out by a factor of ten.... And there is good reason to believe it is not, cannabis seen in this light is 'medical use'.  That is why the wording of the explanatory note in the restricted substances regulation was quite specific about.'psychoactive recreational use' and harms being relative, rather than absent. And that was what was "world first'.. Not Dunne's 'taking the credit' where it wasn't due.   

Blair Anderson
Another MildGreen Initiative,  Christchurch, NZ
03 3894065
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Gordon Campbell on the synthetic drugs ban

Now that synthetic cannabis is no longer legal, we can look back at our history with these products and see it as driven by New Zealand’s inability to implement a sensible drugs policy, overall. The legal highs industry was supposed to provide an acceptable alternative to cannabis use – yet it created an influx of more addictive, more psychologically harmful and more pharmacologically unpredictable products.

Last year’s legislative attempt to minimise the harm failed. Given the difficulty of banning the products via a description of their (ever-changing) components, a testing regime has now been created whereby, as Prime Minister John Key explained on Monday, the only products able to pass it will deliver such minimal effects as to be hardly worth the trouble. Once the existing stockpiles run out, the main outcome of the synthetic cannabis experiment will be that inadvertently, New Zealand has created a demand for a new array of drugs that it is now leaving to criminal elements to supply and satisfy, by illegal means. On that black market, there will be competitive advantages for synthetic drugs: reportedly, they cannot be detected either by workplace drug tests or by airport sniffer dogs.
Meanwhile, the far larger problems of our drug policy to do with (a) the lack of sensible policies on cannabis and (b) the government’s reluctance to antagonise the liquor industry lobby by raising the price and restricting the marketing of alcohol to the young, are deliberately being left untouched. For the government, the moral panic over synthetic cannabis has been a useful diversion over a real but relatively minor issue. Along the way, the generational aspect of the conflict has been unpleasant to watch. Drugs used almost exclusively by the young have been banned, by politicians unwilling to take any substantial steps to raise the price of their own drug of choice, or limit its availability. Logically, the outcome of this latest debacle should be that the legalisation of cannabis use and the management of cannabis supply are put back on the table. Unfortunately though, the hysteria whipped up about synthetic cannabis now makes it less likely – not more likely – that our drugs policy will evolve in a rational fashion.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Dogs? Drugs? Good Lord, Know!

Where dog policy intersects with other drug policy....

Just Google Dog and Oxytocin
 and see where this takes you

Blair Anderson
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

LTE: On the making of good law; first enable reason.

While there is a tautology, illegal because it is immoral, and immoral because it is illegal, the presence of cannabis and its use in NZ is endemic. It is everywhere. Across all demographics.
NZ passed the correct law to embrace and D-classify cannabis, and implement management back in 2008. It was Hon Anderton and Rt Hon Clark's last caucus initiative implementing a R18 partial prohibition in three erudite pages of fine law that was 'world class'. And it didn't do Clark any harm for her career. It did become law the very day John Key became Right and Honourable.

Matters relating to the stymied 'politics' that lead to the subsequent dysfunctional response from Messrs Dunne et al was explored objectively by fellows of the Dunedin Law Faculty at a crucial and important symposium on cannabis law held in the same year hosted by none other than the very Otago Norml  folk being vilified here.

University life is about exploring the edges of reason, and this is one such case. The response by campus watch, and proctors, is the modern equivalent of book burning.

Naysayers and inparticular politicians with the ostrich syndrome have a big lesson coming. There is no political will for continued prohibition of cannabis, exemplified by a Cambell Live poll of 16000 Kiwi folk, 84% desire a seachange in our drug policy. It it isn't half about time. To continue to pretend 16% have 'the answer' is about as anal as public policy gets. It is just a shame we havent got the collective nouse in the house to make it so.

see Campbell Live poll shows people think marijuana decriminalisation is good.

So VOTE. And insist that ANY POLL includes ALL the PARTIES standing on the hustings this election.

The true measure of our collective will cannot be embraced while the ALCP [Cannabis Party] is exluded 'from the polls', as if the issue didnt exist.

Eighty four percent support is a game changer.

Such overdue reform may yet be NZ's most profound global peace initiative since that other great campus contrary to status quo initiative "Nuke Free."

I say University is there to support "Cognitive Liberty" - Democracy depends on it. Anything else is tyranny of the minority.

Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'
Christchurch, New Zealand
ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219
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Monday, April 14, 2014

LTE: Inoculate our youth 'against drugs' : Legalise. Gisborne Media Outlets.

The world is still looking to inoculate our youth 'against drugs'. Even if it were possible for a few adults to conceive of a better way to do so, the pretence that one can remove 'drivers to drug use' confounds what is broken, and in particular where misuse occurs.

The problem of  Gisbourne's Rotary  initiative "not even once' is just a rebranded 'just say no' with its legacy of failure. Billions spent on it... but here we have the 'premise' that this programme is somehow different. It isn't.

The current President of this Rotary Chapter (and recently  NZ Conservative Party list candidate #2) along with its 'connections' to business interests in 'employee testing' need a lesson from history, no matter what you call it, brand it, label it, it is prohibition 'belief'  by any other name.  Communitarians of the Gisborne West Rotary are foolish in the extreme for believing so, sillier indeed than the kids who are 'just doing it once'.

Evidence from the University of Otago's 'gold standard'  Canterbury Health And Development Study shows that four out of five young people are doing it at least five times. And it is they who are appearing in the 94%  of positive 'employee' cannabis tests.

The evidence they, these citizens of tomorrow are coming to harm (even if it was just once) is minimal.  Clearly they are good at getting a job! Hence the evidence such education programs are misguided is robust. They are not just ineffectual, they are often dangerously counter productive. More often than not they lead to earlier and more harmful experimentation and are an identified impediment to (other) health promotion (NZ House of Representatives Health Select Committee 1998 and 2003). Rotary is creating the very problem they setting out to solve.

But this is what one comes to expect from folk who profit from the perpetuation of zero tolerance. Mr Murrell, of the New Zealand Drug Detection Agency admits as such when he declares "it is getting worse". Unfortunately his business model relies on it getting worse. If it was getting better he and many other ex-Policemen attracted to this company's mission statement would be out of a job. And Rotary Gisbourne would have better stories to tell.

Blair Anderson,
Educators for Sensible Drug Policy
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