MPs on cannabis

On Thursday 3 News political editor Patrick Gower asked MPs if they would vote to decriminalise cannabis and whether they have smoked cannabis – MPs and marijuana – politicians’ views on decriminalising pot.

Would you vote to decriminalise cannabis?

  • Paula Bennett (National, Waitakere): No
  • Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture, Ohariu): No
  • Mark Mitchell (National, Rodney): I definitely wouldn’t vote to decriminalise it.
  • Metiria Turei (Greens, list): Yes
  • Tau Henare (National, list): It’s illegal to smoke dope now, but it’s really easy to get Kronic. Work that one out.
  • Claudette Hauiti (National, list): ignored question.
  • Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (National, list): I can’t answer that, I’m all getting late.
  • Sue Moroney (Labour, list): I’d be prepared to consider it in the context of wider drug law reform.
  • Eric Roy (National, Invercargill): No I wouldn’t.
  • Annette King (Labour, Rongatai): Probably not.
  • Andrew Williams (NZ First, list): I haven’t even thought about it myself.
  • Gareth Hughes (Greens, list): You know I used to work for Greenpeace, sailed in the Rainbow Warrior so what do you expect, and that’s why I support decriminalisation.
  • Phil Heatley (National, Whangarei): No.

No – 5
Probably not – 1
Yes – 2Consider it or possible – 2
Wouldn’t say – 3

Have you smoked cannabis?

  • Paula Bennett (National, Waitakere): certainly not a no.
  • Peter Dunne (UnitedFuture, Ohariu): yes
  • Mark Mitchell (National, Rodney): maybe when I was 16 or 17.
  • Metiria Turei (Greens, list): Yes
  • Richard Prosser (NZ First, list) made faces and pretended he didn’t hear the question. Then he responded: Have you? Asked again: I don’t think I’ve got an answer to that question. After further questioning he kept avoiding answering, until when pressed he finally admitted: Yeah, I have.
  • Tau Henare (National, list): Yeah.
  • Eric Roy (National, Invercargill): Never.
  • Gareth Hughes (Greens, list): Yeah I’ve smoked cannabis. You know I used to work for Greenpeace, sailed in the Rainbow Warrior so what do you expect…
  • Christopher Finlayson (National, list): No
  • Catherine Delahunty (Greens, list): Yes
  • Annette King (Labour, Rongatai):Yes I did.
  • Jonathan Young (National, New Plymouth): No I don’t, obviously haven’t.
  • Todd McClay (National, Rotorua) I have in my younger days.
  • Phil Heatley (National, Whangarei):Never commented on it, never will.

 

Questions about cannabis related to synthetic drug use and law

There’s a lot of discussion about synthetic drugs and associated issues. The issue of how cannabis fits in is also being increasingly raised. I have some questions on this.

  • What are people’s thoughts here about what part cannabis plays in the synthetic drug issue?
  • Is cannabis as risky, riskier or is it safer?
  • If cannabis was available the same as synthetics would the problem be better, worse or similar?
  • If no synthetics pass the safety test of the new Act and nothing else changes will the problems get better or worse?
  • Should the laws related to cannabis use be reviewed?
  • Should the laws related to cannabis cultivation be reviewed?
  • Should the laws related to cannabis supply be reviewed?
  • Should all psychoactive substances be banned (including cannabis)?

I’m researching and seeking opinions on cannabis versus synthetic drugs. No drug is completely safe, but total bans never work, people will find ways of using drugs, legally or illegally.

When the Psychoactive Substances Act kicks in we may have no synthetic drugs legally for sale or we may have a reduced number of them for sale. Regardless, we will still have issues with drug use, drug addiction and associated problems – especially health and crime.

Synthetic drugs and cannabis

A post at Trip Me:

At the end of the day, natural cannabis needs to be legalized. In an ideal world, we would have high CBD, low THC cannabis available for recreational and medical use and everyone would vaporize at a reasonable temp. But this is not an ideal world now is it?

Natural cannabis has MUCH of the same issues that we see with synthetic cannabis, if used and abused to the same extent however.

Any young person, under the age of 21, that smokes up to and above an ounce a week, of natural cannabis skunk, is going to suffer long term psychological damage. There have been some minor studies to prove this, but for those of us that have friends and family that have been smoking for years and years, we know this already.

ALCOHOL does exactly the same thing, only ten times worse. We are hearing reports of people getting violent and aggressive, but there is absolutely NO denying that there is a subset of the population that has these violent and aggressive tendencies without drugs or alcohol, so of course these people are going to suffer ill-effects. Don’t act like natural cannabis somehow doesn’t have these negative side effects. Because it does.

I find it absolutely mind blowing that people jump up and down claiming that the public is being used as some sort of human experiment, when we have these pharmaceutical companies shoveling all sorts of medicines down peoples throats that have pages upon pages of negative side effects. How IRONIC is it that most of the currently prescribed anti-depressants include side effects such as Nausea, Insomnia, Anxiety, Restlessness, Tremors, Sweating, Sleepiness or fatigue, Dry mouth, Headaches, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS!!! – Sound familiar??? (Currently about 10% of the New Zealand population are on anti-depressants)

Almost every medicine available is an ongoing public experiment, how can you not understand this?

We live in a world where hundreds and thousands of unregulated chemicals go in to the manufacture of house hold goods, cleaning products and our FOOD.

We also need to understand, that the Ministry of Health obviously has some extremely high level experts working on this law. If there was some sort of immediate or serious long term harm to the public, if used correctly, do you honestly think the products would still be on the shelves? I find it very hard to believe that the chemists, scientists and doctors working for, or advising the government haven’t done some sort of due diligence to ensure people aren’t going to drop dead.

Most of the synthetic cannbinoids were developed by some of the largest pharma companies in the world for human consumption, as medicines, or controls, or whatever, then of course many were then modified by equally intelligent chemists in order to change the effect or skirt the law. But the fact of the matter is, right now, the cannabinoids that are used in most products possibly aren’t the most ideal cannabinoids available and we are likely to see better studied and better suited noids in future products.

The biggest issue in all of this is education. Young people simply should not be using them at all. I think the age restriction should be 21 and not 18, same with alcohol quite frankly. Personally I think ALL packs should have some sort of warning stating that the chemicals contained in these products have NOT been thoroughly tested and are to be used at a users own risk. And people need to understand that, at the end of the day, Synthetic Cannabis is a DRUG. Just because it is legal does not make it suddenly some sort of magical substance that is safe from side effects and abuse. It’s not. No drugs are!

Somebody show me ONE cannabis user that doesn’t have problems sleeping at night or get agitated the day after smoking.
Somebody show me ONE alcohol user that hasn’t injured themselves or killed a few brain or liver cells from binge drinking.

The harms are all relative, and drugs are not going away any time soon. Sure we could “ban” synthetic cannabis, but there is no doubt in my mind that the people that are truly abusing these products are going to find another fix. Glue sniffing, huffing, pills, whatever.

Let’s also remember that not all synthetic highs are created equally. There are a number of “bad apples” in the industry, and the government are doing what they can now to weed these people out. (No pun intended) – Only now are we getting to the stage where all manufacturing is closely monitored, all chemicals need to be tested for purity, we are now getting to the stage (FINALLY) where chemicals and I guess the plant matter and finished product must go through some very very strict and serious tests to ensure they are “low risk”.

Remember that this all takes time and money. The government also requires statistics to define what should be considered “low risk” – how do they get some of those statistics? From health departments of course. Obviously we have the toxicity testing and all that, but there is certainly an element of real life case studies that are needed. We have had almost ten years of synthetic cannabis (ab)use in New Zealand and with this data, the government is able to make a more informed decision.

We already know alcohol would NEVER pass these tests. But it’s all relative. If you are going to take a DRUG, then you know, there are some risks associated with the use of that drug. With the use of ANY drug. But consumers need to be educated that this is the case and consumers need to be of an age where they are able to make such informed decisions.

If natural cannabis were legal, the same thing would apply.

I’d like to take a step back for a minute, and let’s pretend like synthetic cannabis were never introduced. Where would we be along the road to better drug laws? Probably not very far, not even close to where we are now.

So let’s look at a few statistics shall we?

The latest global drug survey gave us an interesting insight in to New Zealand Drug Use, and it is hugely concerning;

7.9% of New Zealanders have used LSD in the past year, 31.9% in their lifetimes.
13.1% of New Zealanders have used “MDMA” in the past year, 36.4% in their lifetimes.
4.9% have used Amphetamines and 3.2% have used Cocaine in the past year.

Now let’s not kid ourselves here, how sure are we, that organized crime syndicates and local drug dealers have the end users health in mind when they are cutting their products for greater profits?

How sure are we that those 580 THOUSAND New Zealanders that have used “MDMA” in the past year actually got MDMA? How sure are we that those pills or bags of powder were not cut with HIGHLY HIGHLY dangerous chemicals or other synthetic drugs that are not regulated or tested?

Have any of you actually seen the number of new RC’s that are developed around the world on a monthly basis? Times are changing guys. We no longer live in the world of ‘cocaine’ ‘ecstasy’ and ‘cannabis’ – there are hundreds of thousands of drug dealers that don’t give two shits about what they are selling as long as it gives the user “a buzz” – and you know what else? – A large majority of users probably don’t give two shits about what they are taking either … so long as it gives them “a buzz”.

The same can be said for the 350 THOUSAND New Zealanders that took what they thought was “LSD” in the past 12 months – most likely made in a lab somewhere with poor quality controls, most likely not even LSD half of the time.

The same can be said for cocaine, meth, whatever people are taking these days. It’s a truly STAGGERING number of people that are taking recreational drugs. Unreal if you ask me.

So the reality is, people are going to use and abuse drugs, regardless of their safety profile, regardless or their legality and regardless of the cost.

If we, as a country, can make steps towards giving well over half a million New Zealanders (likely a hell of a lot more), the chance to use some of these recreational substances, with the knowledge that they don’t contain harmful adulterants, they are not cut to crap with god knows what, they are what they say they are on the pack (as if this happens with illegal drugs anyway) and they have the support of the health system if something goes wrong, then I truly believe we are going to be in a position where we are SAVING more lives than we are LOSING. Both in terms of fatalities and long term quality of life.

The social and economic costs of NOT continuing down this path of regulation is, in my opinion, indescribable.

Now … back to where we stand at this very moment. We have synthetic cannabinoids that are awaiting trials and safety testing. We also we have a subset of people that are abusing them, not knowing that they could become addicted and cause some side effects. We also have legal high companies that are selling these products and are getting a hard time.

Sure there are some bad apples like I said above, and we all know this, but there are also somepeople, that have a much greater vision for the future of this country, and the world. A world where good, honest, law abiding citizens aren’t locked up or given a criminal record for cannabis possession … a world where good, honest people, can relax or party hard on occasion with a safe regulated recreational pill, powder or substance without the fear of retribution, whatever that may be.

And let’s just remember that it takes time and money to get to that point. We wouldn’t be half way down that path without this new law, we wouldn’t have this new law without synthetic cannabis, and without the legal highs companies being in the financial position to afford to develop and test these substances, we will never reach that goal or that vision, and all the hard work would be unwound and the underworld will once again reign supreme.

Let’s just hope that even after all the media hysteria, bullying and abuse at least one or two of the “good apples” can make it through and make the world a better place.

Cannabis and psychoactive substances debate continues

The cannabis and psychoactive substances debate continues.

Public Address: The perilous birth of the Psychoactive Substances Act

Whale Oil: Where is Colorado’s predicted crime wave from legalisation?

But there seems to be no political will to address it apart from the ALCP. The Greens seen lukewarm at best, it doesn’t fit with their marketing strategy. Cunliffe says Labour won’t decriminalise. No sign of anything from National on it. Winston and the rest aren’t likely to do anything.

So we have momentum around the world, we have growing acknowledgement that things aren’t working here as they are but no sign of any change.

Would this be a good issue to be driven non-partisan by the blogosphere?

I don’t know what the best solution would be but it looks like we need to seriously consider changing our approach.

 

 

 

Dunne on psychoactive substances and cannabis

The sale and use of psychoactive substances are very topical issues. How cannabis is related to this often comes into discussions.

I asked Peter Dunne some questions on this.

1. You recently attended a United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs Meeting, Vienna, Austria and spoke about New Psychoactive Substances. What reaction did you get in Vienna about New Zealand’s Psychoactive Substances Act?

The response was positive and interested. I had separate meetings with the European Union, the Dutch, the British, the Americans the Australians and the head of the UN Commission where our legislation was the major topic. All are watching to learn from us, most we believe we are on the right track.

2. Are you happy with how the implementation of the Act is progressing?

I am very frustrated by the lack of response from local government. Only 5 of 71 Councils have so far prepared their local policies. Their tardiness is the major reason for the current public controversy.

3. Was the relationship between cannabis use and synthetic substitutes discussed, especially the effects of cannabis being illegal encouraging drug users to use legal but unknown drugs?

There was not much discussion about cannabis in Vienna, other than general confirmation that there should be no legal relaxation.

4. How are other countries dealing with the cannabis/legal high issues?

Many are applying bans, although all acknowledge that they are ineffective and merely drive things underground. That is why most are looking at what we are doing. In general, they seem to be about we were 2 to 3 years ago in this debate.

5. Is anything being done in New Zealand or being considered to being done about the claimed anomaly between far better known and claimed less harmful cannabis use remaining illegal while synthetic drugs are given approval to be sold.

In a word, no.

6. What are the chances of New Zealand’s laws relating to cannabis being reviewed in the next three years.

Zero I think.

7. Now your Psychotic Substances Act has been successfully introduced and is being implemented do you have any plans for or do you want to try and address cannabis or any other recreational psychotic drug issues?

It is my personal view that is possible that in the future the regulated market approach could be applied to cannabis, but that is not a priority. In any case, all the pharmacological and toxicologist and international advice I receive strongly suggests cannabis would fail the low risk test.

 

Cannabis law posts and polls

There’s been two cannabis law discussions today on blogs so I have looked for polls on the issue. The most indicative polls from UMR from 2011 and 2013 suggest a slight trend towards a softening of laws with nearly two thirds thinking there should be some change.

Whale Oil: SIMPLE REALLY, BUT ONE IS LEGAL AND ONE IS NOT which has links to US poll data. Cameron Slater concludes:

It is high time (snigger) that our politicians acted responsibly and moved toward legalisation of cannabis. There is no better way to reduce the harm of synthetic cannabis than to allow organic cannabis onto the market freely and without sanction save for similar legislative processes similar to alcohol and tobacco.

The Standard had a guest post What do we do about synthetic cannabis? but the discussion that followed also covered cannabis and the question came up about public opinion on law reform. I searched and found information on several relevant polls.

A Curia poll run for Family First

KIWIS SAY NOPE TO DOPE – POLL
Media Release 10 September 2013

Only one in three NZ’s believe that marijuana should be decriminalised, according to an independent poll of NZ’ers.

In the poll of 1,000 NZ’ers by Curia Market Research, respondents were asked whether they agreed with the statement “If an adult wishes to use a drug such as marijuana, they should be able to do so legally.”

Only 33% of respondents agreed, with 60% disagreeing and 7% being unsure or refusing to say.

This will have been a properly scientific poll the headline the claim doesn’t match the odd poll question.

“Use a drug such as marijuana” opens up possibilities of drugs other than cannabis so people are not saying no “to dope”, they are saying no to ‘drugs such as dope which is significantly different.

It’s quite possible people would have decided based on synthetic cannabis and other concoctions as well as natural cannabis.

It’s quite possible that a question referring to natural marijuana only would have more agreeing and fewer disagreeing than this poll result.

I also found a more useful reference to two other polls, both done by UMR.

Two marijuana specific polls from UMR which show a slight move to more softening of marijuana laws:

…the results of a SAYit survey of n=1000 New Zealanders conducted in August 2011, and showed that at that time:

14% wanted marijuana fully legalised
45% wanted it decriminalised, so anyone caught using it would get fined but would not get a criminal record
38% believed that it should remain illegal and anyone caught using it should get a criminal record.
3% were unsure.

​We re-asked this question in July 2013 (again with a survey of n=1000 New Zealanders), which showed a small change in attitudes.

17% now want marijuana fully legalised
46% now want it decriminalised
35% believe that it should remain illegal.
2% are now unsure.

​The proportion favouring a softening in the laws is therefore up from 59% to 63%.

http://sayit.co.nz/blog/marijuana-versus-synthetic-cannabis

This suggests a possible trend towards at least softening cannabis laws with nearly two thirds in favour of some change.

Cannabis law reform alive overseas, dead as a cold turkey here

Cannabis law changes are happening around the world, including in some US states. But the chances of anything happening on it here in the foreseeable future look slim.

The use and abuse of cannabis and the associated legal and criminal issues surrounding cannabis in New Zealand are substantial, but politicians don’t want to go there.

National are not likely to consider let alone allow any relaxing of the laws related to cultivation and use of cannabis.

David Cunliffe has said Labour are not interested in doing anything.

“They can put on the table what they want to put on the table, but Labour’s policy is not to decriminalise cannabis,” says Mr Cunliffe.

‘They’ is the Greens but they don’t seem very interested. From Labour, Greens crack over cannabis views:

If the Green Party had its way it would immediately allow for medicinal marijuana and legal action for violent offences would be prioritised over possession.

The next step is decriminalisation with a legal age limit of 18.

For one party it’s the only issue, and before joining the Greens Ms Turei was a member of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.

“It won’t be one of our major priorities, but it is our policy and we’re not ashamed of that,” she says.

And when interviewed on The Nation last week Russel Norman also sounded less than enthusiastic.

And that could include carrying on fracking, now decriminalisation of cannabis. We had Colin Craig on here, he spoke to Simon a few weeks ago – we asked him this, have you ever smoked a joint? Have you ever smoked a joint?

Yeah, yeah, of course I’ve smoked a joint.

Yeah, so decriminalisation of cannabis, that’s a Green party policy, it’s been a Green party policy down the ages. Will you pursue that in a Labour/Green government?

It’s still part of our policy and so whether it’s part of the priorities – so what we do is before each election is we announce our ten point priority list, right? And we did it last time and we’ll do it again this time and so in any post-election negotiations, you’ll know the what are the key areas we’re going to prioritise. So, I doubt –

So where will that be?

Yeah, yes. So I doubt – we haven’t decided it, right? But I doubt that decriminalisation will be one of the top ten. But, that’s up to the party to decide, but I doubt that will be.

Sure, ok. So, decriminalisation, you’re not into it really. But the TPP -

Well, no Paddy. You can paraphrase it like that, but it doesn’t mean that we -

But let’s move on…

Not a priority and Norman virtually ruled it out of any coalition negotiations where Greens would have most chance of making something happen.

With none of the three largest parties interested in initiating anything on cannabis law reform, and no sign of any small parties being interested, the chances if anything happening look as alive as a cold turkey.

 

Greens on cannabis

Cannabis law has been raised as an issue by media in relation to the Greens launching their election year yesterday.

Greenns want cannabis decriminalised

Speaking after her State of the Nation speech at Waitangi Park in Wellington, co-leader Metiria Turei said they wanted to see the law changed.

“I would like to progress a vast amount of our policy, actually and that would be one that would be very interesting,” she said.

Both Green leaders Metiria Turei and Russel Norman made it clear nothing had changed, they have had cannabis law reform as policy for some time.

Green policy on cannabis:

Drug Law Reform – Policy Summary

Key Principles

The Green Party recognises that:
- A drug-free lifestyle is the healthiest;
- All drugs can cause harm, regardless of their legal status.
- Not all drug use is problematic.
- Some current government policies do not reduce harm but rather create a further set of problems.

Goals
- To reduce drug abuse;
- To reduce the illegal drug market;
- To minimise the harm of legal and illegal drugs on society and individual users.

Specific Policy Points

1. Immediate Steps
-More funding for drug education programmes in schools and communities.
- Establish a Ministerial Advisory Group on Drug Education to evaluate and improve drug education. (Greens initiated the drug education best practise guidelines published by the Ministry of Youth Development).
- Prioritise the prosecution of crimes such as violent offences ahead of personal cannabis possession.
- Enable doctors to prescribe cannabis products for severely ill patients.

2. Medium Term Steps
- Ban broadcast alcohol advertising and direct-to-consumer advertising of pharmaceuticals.
- Introduce a legal age limit of 18 years for personal cannabis use.
- Define in law the limits on growing cannabis for personal use.
- Ensure it remains an offence to drive while under the influence of cannabis.
- Support strong integration of, and better resourcing for, mental health and substance misuse services.
- Place tighter controls on highly addictive prescription drugs.

3. Longer Term Steps
- Review all drug-related legislation to ensure consistency and a harm reduction approach.
- Monitor and evaluate the effects of the removal of personal penalties for cannabis use, drug education programmes, drug addiction treatment programmes, and pharmaceutical controls.

https://www.greens.org.nz/policy/summary/drugs

Seems like a reasonable approach to me.

I’ve never used cannabis but I think the law is not working well currently, and cannabis is no more harmful than alcohol.

More detailed Green Drug Law Reform Policy

US now favours legalising marijuana

Pew Research shows that a majority in the US now favour legalising marijuana and the demographics show that the trend towards legalising is likely to continue.

Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal or illegal?

  • Legal 52%
  • Illegal 45%

In 2010 it was 41% for legal and 52% for illegal.

When broken down by generation it’s easy to see where the trend is headed.

  • Silent (born 1928-1945) 32%
  • Boomer (born 1946-1964) 50%
  • Gen X (born 1965-1980) 54%
  • Millenial (born 1981-now) 65%

The newly-arrived Millennial generation is the most supportive of marijuana legalization. The more liberal views of this new cohort are replacing the more conservative views of the Greatest and Silent generations, and contributing to the overall shift in public opinion toward legalization.

Who uses marijuana?

Nearly half (48%) of all adults have tried marijuana, including 57% of Millennials. In the past year, 12% of Americans have used marijuana either for a medical issue or recreationally, or both. Age makes a difference: 27% of those under 30 say they have used marijuana in the past year, three times the percentage in any other age category.

Views on marijuana:

  • 77% say marijuana has some medical uses.
  • 72% say enforcement isn’t worth it.
  • 32% say marijuana is morally wrong (down from 50% in 2006)
  • 50% say it is not a moral issue (up from 35% in 2006)

Reaction to Dunne’s drug comments

Peter Dunne has provoked reactions with his new “thinking” on how we might deal with drugs – see Psychoactive Substances Act approach for other drugs? and NORML likes Peter Dunne’s new thinking.

Here are comments on Dunne’s blog post.

Julian Buchanan

So let’s start then by abandoning ‘drug testing’ which has no evidence base, is unreliable and perpetuates this failed war on drugs by focusing largely upon illicit use and presence of a drug rather than impairment or intoxication.

And in the light of this revelation let’s immediately take steps to allow people with medically certified life-limiting conditions to self medicate with raw cannabis.

Julian Buchanan
Associate Professor
Institute of Criminology
Victoria University of Wellington

Kail Johnson

A brilliant proposition. An effective way of dealing with a social issue like low risk and low harm substances currently regulated under the MOD Act and this current system of governance.

And yes I also agree with Julian, Drug Testing is a very rude practice. What a person does in their own time is their own business as long as it does no harm to others.

I also want to note that although it is in our governments best interest to dictate how we live our lives it is not something I agree with as it does not work. The rebellious teenager stereotype is a fine analogy as to why these techniques are ill advisable. 

And to add the clear hypocrisy with being able to have alcohol and tobacco which are very harmful yet the guy who smokes some cannabis is considered a criminal. To me it seems like our government and others idealise humanity too much and need to realise things like psychoactive substances are an integral part of human history, culture and being.

But hey, I’m just a college drop-out. But overall good step forward to see this opinion surface from Dunne, good to see at-least one kiwi politician actually thinking about ways to better address social issues like this.

Brandon Hutchison

Drug testing in the workplace is largely done for corporate image, and has little to do with safety.

Ummm…Peter; This is partly what drug law reformers have be asking for the past 30 years. So why have you been at the vanguard of promoting the war on drugs and thwarting reform in NZ? Congratulations on belatedly seeing the light, but in the meantime prohibition has cost billions of dollars and destroyed numerous lives; more than “drugs” ever did or could. Brandon Hutchison, Christchurch

‘novelpsychss’

It’s almost unheard of for a a serving politician to agree with drug law reform advocates, especially on an issue which is more complex than the simple concept of decriminalisation.

Keep thinking!

Jason Churcher on Facebook:

Peter, ever since you lost your cabinet portfolios you’ve been making more and more sense. A great example of what can be achieved when you have free thought without the slavery to National imposed by collective responsibility.

But Dunne clarified his thinking on cannabis:

For all those who see this as code for legalising cannabis, I say read again. On all the pharmacological and toxicological evidence currently available, cannabis is unlikely to satisfy the low risk requirement on medicinal or other grounds.

Alcohol may not satisfy those requirements either, but the booze genie is well and truly out of the bottle.

Some say that cannabis use is too well established to deal with it as a criminal matter too.

Dunne’s new thinking will certainly get other people thinking ways of addressing our many drug problems.

But the biggest impediment to dealing with all narcotic drug differently is the lack of interest from the major parties. National and Labour show no sign of wanting to address this issue, and even the Greens seem to have gone lukewarm on cannabis law reform.

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