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


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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