Hague on recreational cannabis

Green spokesperson on health Kevin Hague has given his personal views on medicinal cannabis in a blog post.

My personal position on the sale and supply of cannabis for recreational use

I was in Vancouver last year, and medicinal cannabis shops were everywhere. We checked one out. The deal is we had to go and get a certificate from a doctor (some of the shops have a doctor onsite) to say we had a medical condition (you know pain, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping) that would benefit from using cannabis, and then we could buy whatever we wanted in all sorts of smokable, edible and drinkable formats.

Some other jurisdictions (eg California) have this approach too. It is precisely what opponents of medicinal cannabis access are concerned about, because it’s legalised supply with the thinnest of veils over the top.

This is presumably one of the things the National Party is concerned about when it opposes moving on cannabis or even  being prepared to look into options.

Unfortunately the illegal status of cannabis has led to this kind of approach and has confused the meaning of the term “medicinal cannabis”, with the unfortunate consequence that we lose support for medicinal cannabis from those who would be open to genuine medicinal uses but who are opposed to recreational use for whatever reason, thereby slowing down and complicating progress.

It certainly does seem to be complicating progress here in New Zealand.

My personal position, as most people probably know, is to support legalisation of the possession, use, cultivation, sale and supply of cannabis for recreational use, although each of these should be subject to some level of regulation.

I support the development of a framework that is consistently applied to all recreational drugs including both currently licit and illicit ones, with the heftiness of regulation being in proportion to the risk of harm from a drug (the only basis I can think of for the State to be involved at all).

When such an analysis has been undertaken previously, the risk of harm from cannabis has generally been found to be significantly less than that of alcohol, for example, so it’s not unreasonable to think of recreational cannabis being regulated in a similar way to alcohol is now (though regulation for alcohol should probably be stronger).

There are various models for doing this being experimented with around the world as the ‘war on drugs’ thankfully begins to fall apart, so while there are some interesting debates to be had (state supply like Uruguay, or free for all like Colorado, for example) these are questions for another day.

Why are they questions for another day? Isn’t it time to look for answers now?

Hague then goes on to discuss issues around medicinal cannabis, and how it complicates the recreational debate. Which is where he and Greens seem to be interested in at the moment, kicking the recreational can down the political road.

 

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27 Comments

  1. Geoffrey

     /  17th March 2016

    I cannot understand the actual problem. Cannabis is less deleterious than alcohol by a wide margin and could be legalised for both recreational and medicinal use with no social detriment. As a follow on benefit, it would deprive our version of organised crime ( the gangs) of their primary income. Perhaps it is the damage it would do to big pharma’s income stream that is the real issue. It is not possible to patent cannabis and look what happened when they tried to create patentable synthetics!

    Reply
  2. Pantsdownbrown

     /  17th March 2016

    “Cannabis is less deleterious than alcohol by a wide margin and could be legalised for both recreational and medicinal use with no social detriment” – alcohol has absolutely nothing to do with whether cannabis should be legalised……..

    Reply
    • Geoffrey

       /  17th March 2016

      True, alcohol and cannabis are not directly related. But, the mechanism for the control of alcohol suggests that it would not be difficult to manage the production and distribution of cannabis in an equally effective manner.

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  17th March 2016

        I agree with decriminalisation but I’m not convinced the increased use of cannabis that will surely occur if it is legalised is a good thing.

        Reply
        • Robby

           /  17th March 2016

          Use will not increase. Anyone who wants to use it recreationally can easily get it already. The only people who have difficulty getting it ATM are those who want Sativex

          Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  17th March 2016

            What about increased use of harder drugs then?

            I’m open minded about legalisation however it is far too early in the piece to tell from the states in the USA that have made it legal to ascertain any long term problems we should be concerned about.

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              I also think you are being deluded if you don’t think legalising cannabis will increase usage once it starts getting heavily advertised & promoted in public, is more easily obtainable, is of a better/more consistent quality & becomes a big ‘above table’ money earner for businesses.

            • Robby

               /  17th March 2016

              “More easily obtainable”???? Pull your head out of your backside PDB, it is very easy to get already.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              Not for the average person who doesn’t partake all that often and isn’t particularly ‘connected’……not compared to the total ease of buying it online, getting it delivered to your door, or walking into one of many shops once legalised.

            • Robby

               /  17th March 2016

              I ‘partake’ very rarely these days, and wouldn’t consider myself particularly well ‘connected’ either. Everybody ‘knows a guy’, or knows someone who does….

            • Geoffrey

               /  17th March 2016

              I’d have thought a history of thousands of years of use is relevant. The brief period of imposed illegality should not be allowed to distort rational restoration of appropriate modern consumption of one of nature’s gifts.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              Here’s another of ‘Natures gifts’ that gives you a high – you try it first……..

              http://www.gyanunlimited.com/health/datura-stramonium-medicinal-uses-side-effects-and-benefits/9184/

            • Robby

               /  17th March 2016

              Interestingly enough PDB, the pharmaceutical industry has been utilising Datura extracts for quite some time….
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyoscine_hydrobromide

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              Yes – it does mention in that article I posted as well – wouldn’t try it ‘off the tree’ so to speak!

            • Geoffrey

               /  17th March 2016

              And there was I thinking we were having a rational discussion. I’m outa here.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              Go the munchies?

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  17th March 2016

              *GOT*

            • Bill

               /  18th March 2016

              Really, not long enough, California legalized medical use in 1996, if the sky is indeed falling, why are they pushing forward for fall legalization. The US federal government has spent billions trying to prove the harms of Cannabis use and then used the results to secure patent 6630507, this is fact and not anecdotal. The latest revelation that GW pharmaceuticals latest Cannabis Epilepsy drug Epidiolex, has sent their share price skyward by 136% ,clearly shows that all the people who risked everything to save their children from this horrible condition were fully justified in doing so. If for what ever reason people have a dislike for Cannabis, that’s your right, but don’t tell me I can’t use it and then lock me in a cage to make you feel better about yourselves.

  3. Oliver

     /  17th March 2016

    Reasons why we should legalize

    1. It’s safer than pharmaceutical drugs currently on the market.
    2. It excellent for chronic pain relief
    3. Stress relief – we could all do with a bit of that.
    4. It social drug that is harmless – unlike alcohol
    5. We would save millions of dollars form police and justice system.
    6. People wouldn’t end up as criminals for doing something that is legal in other first world countries.
    7. We could make a lot of money producing it – it would be great for the economy.
    8. We would make loads of money from tax.
    9. It would take power away from the gangs and reduce crime.

    Reply
  4. The balance of risk versus allowing people to exercise personal choice….

    Its time for a real adult conversation about drugs in NZ society.

    Personally not my thing – dabbled as teen and early twenties, but not for me.

    The key for me with any legalisation of any currently illicit drug is that choice to consume is a rational one with good access to real quality information on the potential risks. if you then choose to take the substance well the consequences are on your own head…

    Oh – any a sensible looking piece from Hague…

    Reply
  5. ‘Up in smoke thats where my money goes..
    in my lungs & sometimes up my nose..
    when troubled times begin to bother me..
    thats when I choke & all my cares go up in smoke.’

    ‘Up in smoke thats where I wanna be..
    ’cause when I’m high the world alone dont bother me..
    SO when my life becomes one long & tasteless joke..
    I take a TOKE & all my cares go up in smoke..

    Come on LETS GO GET HIGH !’

    Thx Richard & Tommy 🙂 😀

    Reply
  6. .. & the Colorado Rocky mountain HIGH..
    I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky..
    Friends around the campfire & everybody’s HIGH..
    Rocky mountain HIGH.. Colorado !

    sounds like a place to visit ! 😀

    btw; John Denver wrote this decades before the law was changed 🙂

    Also Joe Walsh;
    “I spent the last year Rocky mountain way.. couldn’t get much HIGHER..’ LOL

    Reply
    • Bill

       /  18th March 2016

      I’m thinking about turning my house into a Cannabis friendly B&B for American tourists, my motto is, Bring your cash and bring your stash, you’re 100% safe.

      Reply
  7. Bill

     /  18th March 2016

    It’s about time the greens and Labour party grew some big (Green Balls) on this subject, the Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis) Amendment Bill put forward by the greens, was eleven long years ago and was poorly written, with polls showing 70%-97% support for Medical Cannabis, it can’t be that they feel it would be unpopular with voters. Parties that think that acting like National on this subject are seriously missing the point ,I for one want to see strong opposition parties, not ones that believe the road forward is just more of what the Key Government has laid down for us all.

    Reply

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