Peters huffs pot then blows cold

Winston Peters is being reported as huffing hot on pot reform them blowing cold a short time later while campaigning in Northland.

Claire Trevett in Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:

NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection, but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.

Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.

Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. Yes if you’ve got the majority, no if you haven’t. That fair enough? Wonderful.”

Peters was shown on 3 News saying that.

But…

Asked about it later he denied he was supporting any such proposal or putting up a referendum himself, saying his comments were simply the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”

He didn’t say either, but was closer to the first – ” I’ll give you a vote on the referendum “.

That’s a Clayton’s election promise – he’s not offering anything, especially after his backtrack.

He did not personally support it and had never smoked cannabis himself.

He was setting out NZ First’s longstanding policy that citizens’ initiated referendums should be enforceable.

That’s not how it came across at all. Peters is promoted as being very experienced at campaigning. He was initially misleading and then made things up to try and cover up his mistake.

NZ First appear to have no policy on cannabis. There is no reference to it in their policies, and their only policy mentioning drugs is under Law and Order:

  • Reintroduce the chargeable offence of being intoxicated and disorderly in public, to include intoxication from the use of drugs whether legal or illicit.

Mark Osborne seems to have a similar position to National, unsurprisingly.

For the record I don’t support legalisation of marijuana and won’t be putting up a bill for it; or promising it and then unpromising it 5 minutes later.

National appear to want to leave the current legislation as it is – which means leave the same mess in place. But they don’t refer to cannabis in their Law and Order policy.

“Marijuana laws don’t make sense”

This is from the USA but similar applies here, our cannabis laws aren’t working well – they are working poorly.

There’s momentum in the US to view marijuana, and it’s being pushed by the President.

Obama: If Enough States Decriminalize Marijuana, Congress May Change Federal Law

President Barack Obama said if enough states reform their marijuana laws, Congress may change federal law that continues to make the drug illegal.

Obama, during an interview with Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith released in full on Monday, said he’s encouraged that liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans seem to agree that current U.S. marijuana laws don’t make sense.

“We may be able to make some progress on the decriminalization side,” Obama said. “At a certain point, if enough states end up decriminalizing, then Congress may then reschedule marijuana.”

Meanwhile our Ministry of Health and our Parliament keeps claiming there’s insufficient evidence to support changes even on medical cannabis.

Last week, Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced a billthat would reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug, which has high potential for abuse and no medical value, to a Schedule II drug, which has lower potential danger and recognized medical benefits.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. Twenty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Four states, as well as D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana.

And much of the shift in stance is recent.

Obama cautioned that legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, or any other substance, isn’t a panacea.

“I think there is a legitimate concern about the overall effects this has on society, particularly vulnerable parts of our society,” Obama said. “Substance abuse generally, legal and illegal substances, is a problem. Locking somebody up for 20 years is probably not the best strategy, and that is something we have to rethink as a society as a whole.”

And out Parliament should be rethinking their inaction seriously too. If they don’t they are failing to address laws on cannabis in New Zealand that are failing.

We have led the world on innovative ways to deal with synthetic drugs and trail growing change around the world by doing nothing on natural cannabis.

Currently our cannabis laws don’t make sense.

Drug Foundation responds to MOH “underwhelming” evidence on medical cannabis

Ross Bell from the Drug Foundation has queried Ministry of Health advice to Peter Dunne that evidence supporting the effectiveness of medical marijuana is “underwhelming”.

Bell says he fears the information is outdated and says comprehensive research has been done evidence available and “the drug foundation has concluded that cannabis has therapeutic benefits”.

This is inresponse to a speech Dunne has given to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna – see On Peter Dunne’s speech to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.

NZ Herald reports in Ministry of Health investigates medicinal cannabis use.

An investigation into the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been carried out by the Ministry of Health.

Growing numbers of jurisdictions allow cannabis for medical use and the Government has come under pressure to re-examine its use here.

Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne, who oversaw New Zealand’s innovative regulations on so-called legal highs, asked officials to look into the issue.

“My office receives regular correspondence seeking legislative change … cannabis, I am told, is apparently the panacea for a plethora of ailments, some of which, sadly, are painfully debilitating,” Mr Dunne said.

“For those suffering from such ailments I have enormous sympathy … the evidence [supplied by officials], however, has been underwhelming.”

Bell’s response:

However, NZ Drug Foundation director Ross Bell, who attended the meeting, said he feared advice provided to Mr Dunne was outdated.

“There are lots of countries that have quite well-established medical cannabis regimes, they have experience with this and they have seen some benefit.”

Mr Bell said comprehensive research had been done on the issue.

However, the drug foundation has concluded that cannabis has therapeutic benefits for conditions such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers.

“We should be looking at delivering that benefit through proper medical products … it’s not smokable cannabis.”

Mr Dunne also spoke about how “compassion, innovation and proportion” should be front of mind in the development of drug policy.

“We, as a global community, must continue to move away from rigid law and order responses, and apply a health lens when dealing with those adversely affected by drug use,” Mr Dunne told the gathering.

That message was bold, Mr Bell said, and clearly aligned New Zealand with countries moving beyond a “war on drugs” punitive approach.

However, he was concerned at the dismissal of cannabis for medical use. Mr Bell was told of the ministry’s investigation in a meeting with Mr Dunne in late January.

Sativex mouth spray is the only form of medicinal cannabis currently available, but is not funded by Pharmac and costs about $1300 a month.

Dunne is still in Vienna and unavailable for comment, but his comments have initiated comment an issue of growing importance to many people.

In particular it’s important to find out why the Ministry of Health is so luke-warm on the use of medical cannabis.

Medical Marijuana, Munchies vs HIV….. (Munchies wins)

My first patient story from an angle other than pain!!  this patient has been active in the past within the Medical Cannabis community, and has successfully beaten the odds to persevere with HIV when most of his peer group in a similar position have bitten the dust.  Nausea and appetite stimulation is the other big condition with significant evidence that Cannabis is renowned for treating. Although this man has HIV, even more evidence can be had for fighting the same symptoms as side effects of Chemotherapy treatment for those fighting Cancer.

AIDS

It was quite a shock to be diagnosed HIV+ some years ago.  Thoughts of an early death and suffering sprang to mind.  Upon educating myself about the virus I discovered the anti viral medications often cause extreme nausea and other serious side effects. I learned that many people were resorting to cannabis to control nausea and stimulate appetite.

I began medications immediately upon diagnosis. I was afraid, having been told of the likely side effects.

The morning I swallowed my first handful of drugs I will never forget.  Within half an hour I was extremely nauseas. I actually began vomiting until I was simply dry retching.  I thought about having to take more medications later that evening and became very concerned.  I tried to eat some lunch but never actually put any food in my mouth due to the extreme nausea and vomiting. I began to despair at what my life was going to be like. I cried.

Mid afternoon arrived and I forced myself to put a chicken in the oven for dinner, knowing I needed food with my drugs. As soon as I could smell it cooking I was vomiting wildly. I was so upset, in tears and despairing. I could not stand the smell of the cooking chicken, one of my favourite foods, so took it from the oven and threw it away!

Amongst tears and worry about how my life was to be I began to wonder if I should try cannabis for it’s anti emetic properties. I called a family member who brought me some cannabis. I was a wreck. Vomiting, crying and really in a panic. I took two puffs on a cannabis cigarette and my extremely severe and debilitating nausea was completely removed.  Completely! I was shocked but of course happy that my full day of vomiting had come to an end. The “high” had completely and utterly overruled the nausea! I cried in front of my children, only this time it was tears of relief and happiness. I ate food wolfing it down. Thank you to the “munchies” syndrome associated with cannabis.

From that day on I thought I would use cannabis. I was able to produce my own much of the time. It is not hard with a bit of study and a good teacher.  It was however illegal. I concluded that a law which may prevent me having a good quality of life and even life itself by allowing me to keep my medications down without vomiting them out was wrong. I have a right to do what it takes to stay alive I told myself. I did what I needed to stay alive and as well as possible.

I started a support group, contacted media and made sure my doctors knew what I was doing. My specialist at the time did not discourage cannabis use and eventually wrote to the Minister of Health suggesting I should be permitted cannabis use.  I also wrote to Associate Minister of Health, Peter Dunne outlining how my dear friend could not stomach his life saving medications and so decided not to take them. I described how my dear friend had died a nasty death. The Government, via Peter Dunne replied that my comments and concerns were “garbage not worthy of a response!  That was well over a decade ago now.

We currently “supposedly” have one cannabis medication available in New Zealand, Sativex. I say supposedly because it is so tightly controlled not even my HIV specialist is authorised to script it! Sativex is not funded by Pharmac and out of my reach even if scripted.

I suffered a severe heart event a few years ago and cannot inhale cannabis. I am too scared now to produce my own because the stress of arrest and imprisonment may cause a heart event. I had made my own tincture which worked even better than inhaling. I cannot afford that amount of cannabis and the fear of court action prevents me doing that as well. Any processing of cannabis increases the penalties in the extreme.

I suffer terribly every day. I wonder why my government devalues my life and the lives of thousands of kiwi’s by refusing to permit doctor scripted cannabis products or even make Sativex easier to get and afford. My own government is complicit in perpetuating our suffering and misery. Nothing has changed in over a decade apart from there being much more supporting information. I am almost ashamed to be a New Zealander.

Kevin Hague – Greens on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Kevin Hague: “What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.”

“One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis ”

“Our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.”

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Kevin Hague interview.

Garner: So where do the Greens stand on this? And will we see some kind of public debate? Or is it simply too hard for our politicians given what America’s doing. Is it time we caught with this or do we just watch and follow, Who knows.

Kevin Hague is the Green drugs policy spokesperson. What are your views in what’s happening in America?

Hague: Oh look I think it’s a very interesting thing, because what we are seeing I guess particularly from Colorado where we’ve probably got the best information so far and probably the longest history so far…

…is that the kinda dire predictions about increased use and increased harm haven’t come about. That actually evidence is pretty strong that there’s actually if anything been reduced harm, and as you mentioned in your intro actually there’s a bit of a dilemma for Colorado legislators, what are they going to do with all the money that’s come in.

Garner: Well the answer to that question could be that it goes into the health system, or it goes into the education system.

Hague: Yes precisely.   What we’ve been calling for is a rational approach to drugs in general and I guess cannabis in particular, where we look at what is it that we’re trying to achieve.

What we’re trying to achieve is that to ensure that drug use causes as little harm as it possibly can.

Garner: So do you think Kevin, if I can take you right back to the start. Do you think we need to change the law here?

Hague: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve been standing for this for a long time because it’s very clear that the current law is not achieving that goal.

The current law is I mean if you just take the simple fact that most New Zealanders have used cannabis. Well clearly the law as it stands is not reducing demand, and in fact is putting a lot of people in harms way because if New Zealanders are needing to go to you know gangs for example to get their supply well those gangs aren’t concerned with quality or ensuring that under age people don’t get access.

Or ensuring that people who need treatment for example are actually referred. Those are all things that we could do if we changed the law. As well as the medicinal aspects.

Garner: Right, so what would you do with the law? if you were able to draft something and start lobbying around Parliament and get 61 votes, what would a law look like for you?

Hague: Well I guess there’s two different arenas.

One is around medicinal cannabis, and it’s very clear that a very large majority of New Zealanders support better access to medicinal cannabis and you’ll know that we put a bill to Parliament in 2009 and got 34 votes out of 120.

Things have changed over the last five or six years. Apart from the Government.

But the step forward we need to make in that area, more generally our policy says that there should be no penalty for personal use or cultivation up to a certain point.

Garner: Would you decriminalise rather than legalise?

Hague: Our policy is kind of doesn’t use either of those words, and we’re currently actually in light of the experience in the United States and Portugal and other jurisdictions we are looking at overhauling our own policy.

To be completed later.

Andrew Little – cautious on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Andrew Little – “So my approach is proceed with caution”.

There’s likely to be as much political caution as caution over cannabis. But if encouraged Little should at least join the debate and not sweep it under the carpet as most parties and politicians have kept doing up until now.

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Andrew Little interview.

Garner: We’ve had this debate this afternoon around the legalisation of cannabis, we’ve got a poll up and man it’s been phenomenal, 86% replied (saying cannabis should be legalised), 2000 votes. We’ve had Kevin Hague on, he says it is actually time for this debate to actually occur given what’s happening in America, around four different states either decriminalise or legalised.

What’s your position on decriminalising cannabis?

Little: Yeah up to now I think we’ve, my personal view is I’ve approached it very cautiously. I mean I, when I was a union lawyer I did a lot of cases of the drug and testing in workplaces and all that sort of stuff.

The studies I did of it, the thing that came out of it for me was that a lot of the cannabis in New Zealand, that’s grown in New Zealand has such a high THC level it’s actually different to cannabis sold in other countries, so that’s an area of danger.

But having said that I’d be keen to have a look and see what the experience has been of States like you know Washington and the other states that have adopted decriminalisation more recently and just see what the experience has been and see whether there is something we can learn from it.

I’d never say no to it but I’d say we’ve got to approach this with considerable caution.

It sounds like Little wants to approach it with considerable caution. A lot has already been learnt from overseas experience going back many years.

Garner: Right, considerable caution because it could be politically not viable, it might make you unpopular? Or because you believe in it’s worth having a debate?

Little: Oh no given that my honeymoon’s over, I’m used to the unpopularity…

Garner: Yes it is over, you don’t want a long honeymoon mate, you don’t want a long honeymoon…

Little: I’m more concerned about the public health and safety aspects of it and given the conditions here. That’s the issue for me.

There are already health and safety aspects as things are. And legal and social issues. But how we currently deal with it isn’t working very well.

I think since i was up at the Auckland University quad yesterday, part of the ? week, I talked to some of the young folks there and that issue came up.

Unprompted just raised that issue with me. So there’s clearly a discussion going on out there though and you know we need to be part of it.

The discussion has been going on for a long time.

Garner: When you discuss these things obviously you get those headlines out, ‘Little supports decriminalisation’, I mean is that a fair headline or not?

Little: (pause) no that would be an unfair headline at the moment because I, I’m not, I don’t, I know there is an issue there. I’d like to look more closely at it. I’d like to  look at the experience of the American states that have decriminalised.

But I draw on my own personal experience and the research I’ve done when I was a union lawyer, to say there is an issue here that is not as easy just to say let’s decriminalise, let’s open it up.

So my approach is proceed with caution.

Garner: Proceed with caution but at least start to look at what’s happening in America.

Little: Have a look, and lets have the debate. Ah and lets get some facts, lets shine some facts on the issue. Lets not just react emotionally but lets have the debate, get the facts and proceed with caution.

There’s a lot of facts known already. It’s the debate that’s been lacking, assiduously avoided by politicians.

Little is being ultra cautious here.

To be fair to him it’s early in his time as leader and he will need to work through it within Labour. At least that’s what he should be doing.

I know there’s a will in (part of) Labour caucus to address the cannabis issue. And there’s likely to be strong support in the Labour constituency to address the issue. And in the wider population.

Little needs to be encouraged and if necessary pressured to pick up the cannabis ball and run with it. Serious political debate on it is long overdue.

Duncan Garner on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

SHOULD WE LEGALISE CANNABIS? GREENS AND LABOUR SAY LET’S THINK ABOUT IT

Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Green Party drugs policy spokesperson Kevin Hague said evidence shows legalisation leads to reduced harm from cannabis.

“We need to go to legalisation with regulation, which is pretty much the approach we take with alcohol, which is New Zealand’s most popular drug,” Hague said

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said New Zealand should see what the experience is in US states where cannabis has been legalised but “proceed with caution”.

Intro transcript:

Garner: Talking of reaction we put this poll up yesterday around should we legalise decriminalise cannabis or do nothing about it, leave it as it is?

The reason, the reason why we asked the question is simple, because four  American states, and Washington DC, have made all these moves around legalising cannabis to a point to me in some areas where it looks like they’re trying to create a market for it so they can tax it.

The reason should be that things are unfair and not working in New Zealand regarding cannabis laws, especially on the restrictions on medical use.

Columbia I think is a market that will see about sixty million dollars of tax revenue come in over the next twelve months.

I thought DC had first legalised medical marijuana, and then just made personal possession and growing legal and weren’t establishing a market, but I could be wrong.

So is there any political will here for change? I know politicians here get very nervous about this debate because it could lead to electoral oblivion.

I remember Don Brash put his head up didn’t he when he was the new Act leader, he said ‘oh we should decriminalise cannabis’. I’m not really sure that Don Brash was thinking that, although if he’s a classic liberal perhaps that is how classic liberals think.

Brash (and ACT) had far bigger hurdles than his views on cannabis to overcome, which he failed to overcome.

So where do the Greens stand on this? And will we see some kind of public debate, or is it simply too hard for our politicians, given what America’s doing is it time we caught up with this or do we just watch and follow?

But there’s been no sign of our politicians following. Most just duck for cover and try to ignore it, but cannabis won’t go away, and neither will the problems associated with it’s prohibition.

I’ll transcribe the Hague and Little interviews as I get tome (hopefully by tonight)

Cannabis considerations

Commenter Paul468 posted this, it’s worth it’s own post.

We should definitely consider it. Some bullet points (excuse the pun)

1 Great opportunity for selecting Northland and East Coast as “certified” growing areas bringing employment and economic growth to two needy areas

2 Revenue for the government while reducing benefit costs in two of our very needy areas as they will have more work and economic activity. thats a win-win

3 Benefits around medical uses. I would enjoy help with control of my arthritis but would not want the high – so i could still work etc

4 It’s gotta be better than party pills and synthetic cannabis. In fact I doubt synthetic cannabis or alcohol or tobacco would pass the synthetic cannabis test easier than real cannabis would. I can see legal challenges looming on that onne.

5 It would free up police resources as well as courts etc

6 This will be an election winner. There will be staunch national supporters, myself included that would vote for another major party like labour on a single policy item such as this. That party would get the missing million, the youtth vote, the student vote and a lot of others wanting a one time vote to help make a change. It’s an election winner.

7 We need to push for this now so 2017 is the year for change.

Anyone else think point number 6 is right. Would you change for a single policy for just one election

Public, Greens and Labour favour action on cannabis law

Duncan Garner has been asking his listeners and Kevin Hague and Andrew Little about addressing cannabis law.

Should we legalise cannabis? Greens and Labour say let’s think about it

We should do more than think about it, we should be doing something about it.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Majority public support (albeit an self selecting online poll).

Green Party drugs policy spokesperson Kevin Hague said evidence shows legalisation leads to reduced harm from cannabis.

“We need to go to legalisation with regulation, which is pretty much the approach we take with alcohol, which is New Zealand’s most popular drug,” Hague said.

And…

Labour Party leader Andrew Little said New Zealand should see what the experience is in US states where cannabis has been legalised but “proceed with caution”.

There’s increasing change to loosening cannabis laws around the world, it’s past time we should look at similar here.

RadioLive interviews with Hague and Little at the link, Should we legalise cannabis? Greens and Labour say let’s think about it.

Follow https://twitter.com/nzdrug

Cannabis agnostic

I’m a cannabis agnostic (thanks for the term Abe).

Fortunately I have no need for medical marijuana products.

I’ve never been inclined to use cannabis recreationally. It simply hasn’t attracted me despite being readily available (friends including a flatmate have been users).

So I have no interest in cannabis for my own use. But two things concern me.

First and foremost, it seems unconscionable that there are such severe restrictions on the use of medical marijuana in New Zealand. I don’t think there’s any doubt that people would benefit, some significantly, from being able to utilise a fairly natural and apparently effective remedy through pain relief and other specific uses.

Second, prohibition isn’t working. New Zealand has one of the highest per capita rates of cannabis use in the world.

But while getting pissed out of your brain is allowed (and promoted by many), and the effects of alcohol abuse are insidious and enormous in our society, being caught having a puff of pot could result in a conviction. That seems awfully out of whack.

And keeping cannabis underground nurtures and normalises an extensive criminal network.

I don’t care about cannabis as a plant or a product for myself.

But I care about the significant adverse affects on health treatment and on our society with our current legal stance on cannabis.

And the lack of a will to address any of this in Parliament concerns me greatly. I’m very disappointed with our politicians who refuse to even seriously consider doing something about it. They are failing society.

This must change.

I may be cannabis agnostic on a user level but am an activist on a society level.

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