Abe Grey promoting Cannabis in Mt Albert

The Cannabis Party (previously known as the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party) has announced that Abe Gray will contest the My Albert by-election.

I think this is a smart move. This is a good opportunity to push Jacinda Ardern and Julie Anne Genter and the Labour and Green parties on how serious they are about supporting cannabis law reform, or at least whether they would support and enable a referendum to let the people decide.

The Cannabis Party launches Mt Albert by-election campaign with Radio Hauraki personality Abe Gray announced as the party’s candidate

The Cannabis Party is entering the race for the Mt Albert by-election after radio personality Abe Gray threw his hat in the ring.

Gray is a well known radio DJ with a weekly slot on Radio Hauraki’s popular breakfast show, hosted by Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells.

Gray is leading the charge for a binding referendum on cannabis laws in New Zealand,  which was vocally promoted by the late Helen Kelly.

He worked closely with Helen Kelly to draft the specific legislation required to create the binding referendum, prior to her death. However, no MPs in Parliament have adopted the legislation.

Gray questions whether the Greens and Labour are serious about cannabis law reform, given they turned their back on Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation.

The by-election gives Gray the opportunity to keep questioning them through the by-election campaign, as I’m sure he will do.

“A binding referendum on the questions of medical and recreational cannabis is my top priority,” he said.

“It should be the democratic right of all New Zealanders to have their say on this important issue.”

Gray promised to submit Helen Kelly’s referendum legislation to the private member’s ballot on day-one if he is elected to Parliament.

Gray’s main opponent will be the media if they refuse to give him equal coverage (Ardern is already getting media favouritism).

If the media decides that cannabis has headline potential it could work in the Cannabis Party’s favour. Even if Ardern does cruise to victory as predicted the campaign is a good opportunity to highlight an issue that New Zealand politicians seem to be paying lip service to at best, while many other countries are seriously responding to social and health pressures on cannabis.

Gray is a good choice for the Cannabis Party, he has a lot of campaign and public activism experience.

45 Comments

  1. Jeeves

     /  February 2, 2017

    One of the most valid and important issues in NZ today.

    If my ultra conservative great auntie Mavis is free to enjoy a thimble of Port every Christmas day, then why can’t I have a toke?

    It should be legal, and I should be able to go to the shop and buy some for myself. Simple.

    It really disappoints me that Little (L) is against it.

    • Gezza

       /  February 2, 2017

      If it was I’d just be popping out to the back garden.

      • Jeeves

         /  February 2, 2017

        Fair enough- but I don’t want that much of it- I only want it every now and again…and I only want a single toke, like a single sip of cognac. But I can’t, because I’m a criminal.

        • Gezza

           /  February 2, 2017

          Fair enough. I wouldn’t want the grandkids getting at it until they’d left school.

    • PDB

       /  February 2, 2017

      “One of the most valid and important issues in NZ today”.

      No it isn’t.

      Even the Greens would rank poverty, equality blah blah blah well before it. Hell, even what Trump is having for breakfast would be in front on importance.

      • Gezza

         /  February 2, 2017

        “even what Trump is having for breakfast would be in front on importance.”

        Wrong ! 😡 If that were true Trumpy would be tweeting that daily. 🤗

        • PDB

           /  February 2, 2017

          EVERYTHING the Trump does is more important than anything else – just he can only tweet so much.

          • If “individual freedom and personal responsibility” is the most important issue of the era then cannabis and death-with-dignity are its highest symbolic expressions …

            Business, social welfare, international relations and all the rest will largely carry on as they are regardless of who’s in power …

    • This is NOT an important issue. An important issue is having a 100% literacy rate and getting universal dental health.

      If, it is proven that cannibinoids are indeed the cancer fighting, pain mitigating marvel touted – then let’s be having it. As far as leisure imbibers go, I know wasters who smoke beaucoup de hashish, and I see what it does to their short term memory, and, in the long term, it even affects people’s longer memories. It is indeed a marvellous experience enhancer, but then so is the top of a mountain, the seaside, a beautiful sunrise and a melting sunset.

      My take on cannibis is that it’s no magic bullet. It SHOULD form part of an holistic approach to certain disease management and I think we’re getting close to that.

      • Speaking on behalf of MCANZ, we are nowhere near it being included for managing certain disease. less than 50 people are currently accessing it legally, and the Faculty of Pain medicine doesnt even support the use of Sativex off label for pain, and one Anaesthetist dodged the issue citing medicinal alcohol……………

        At the moment the Medical profession in NZ is a bigger impediment to safe access for patients than the politicians…

  2. good onya Abe !

    ..keep it on the agenda, in run up to G-E 23/9

  3. The question about cannabis, that should be asked (IMHO).. “Do you support continuation of the status quo (Prohibition/Zero-tolerance) on all uses of cannabis in Aotearoa/NZ ?”
    If “NO !” then stand up & be counted (if you think its important enough)

    many recent NZ polls have confirmed that about two-thirds of respondents support some level of reform in NZ

    On the issue of Med-use (similar to to Canada, 28 USA states, EU etc. reforms) specifically.. over 80% reportedly support this. BUT Dunne & Co. only allow ‘BIG-pharma’ products.. if you tick ALL the boxes, dot the Is, cross the Ts & then jump through ALL the other hoops required.

    Its a disgrace that patients with a terminal illness are still having to fight ‘tooth & nail’ to get access to this pain relief alternative; because of the hysteria, still being pushed about evil ‘marijuana’ & all the B-S that goes with it, as excuses to maintain the current situation.

    Lets at least, be honest & open.. Cannabis does NOT cause: Mass Insanity (reefer madness) NOR is it a ‘Gateway’ that leads ALL users to progress to Heroin/’HARD DRUGS’ (as is still often claimed) & It does (by many accounts) have Genuine Medicinal/therapeutic value, in its raw form or as an extract (BUT not Synthetic) ! :/

    • Kevin

       /  February 2, 2017

      Most people are temperate drug users, and that includes hard drugs. Even heroin, one of the most addictive recreational drugs in the world, has something like a 20% addiction rate which means that 80% of people who use it don’t become addicts.

      All this stuff about “one hit and you’re an addict” is BS. And guess what? It was originally “one sip and you’re an alcoholic” and applied (obviously) to alcoholic by the prohibitionists.

      There are two ways of limiting drug abuse. There’s prohibition where the drug is outright made illegal. And then there’s the temperance approach where the drug is regulated and social structures evolve to limit abuse – e.g. alcohol. For example with marijuana once it’s made legal you can expect social structures such as marijuana cafes to evolve where users can smoke socially.

      Anyway this is the pattern: A new recreational drug hits the market. Actually it could be an old drug that no one noticed before. For whatever reason it gets popular and eventually a few idiots end up abusing it and end up killing themselves. These idiots get the attention of the media and the government and next minute the drug is made illegal (the prohibitionist approach). Although in the case of marijuana “reefer madness” was just pure BS but you get my point. If a temperance approach was used the drug would remain legal but would be regulated and abuse would be punished either through the law or socially or both – for example in Belgium where drugs have been decriminalised but junkies are frowned upon.

      • Anonymous Coward

         /  February 2, 2017

        “social structures such as marijuana cafes to evolve where users can smoke socially.”

        I would imagine that the Smoke Free laws would be applied to Marijuana concurrent with it’s decriminalisation.

        • Its possible that they could use ‘smokefree by 2025’ to put further blocks on potential cannabis reforms.
          btw; I spent a few days in Amsterdam, they dont allow ‘anything goes’ there, they have strict rules on: age (R18), quantity purchased in coffeeshops (5grams), location for use (not in many public places) etc.

          IF NZ were to consider ‘legal regulation’, then obviously we want a suitable model, with similar controls. Under the current regime, dealers will see to anyone with cash. Does anybody really believe it is working (to actually STOP Cannabis use in Aotearoa) ?

          ‘scuse me, while I light my.. spliff 😀

        • Kevin

           /  February 2, 2017

          Pretty much although obviously they’d be regulations. If you were running a cafe that sold marijuana they’d be rules like no alcohol, product to be used on premises, no more than x number of joints per customer etc. And of course you would have to be apply for a license etc.

      • Another attempt to paint drug taking as socially acceptable. You need to talk to Police, Medical Doctors and Specialist Drug Rehabilitation people about the problem caused by the addiction community. It has even got Black Power concerned about what id happening with the P Ice Crystal Meth scene and the effects on Maori youth, in particular. Use drugs for sound medical reasons under medical supervision and never for recreational purposes. Get your highs from physical fitness instead.

        • PDB

           /  February 2, 2017

          Unfortunately most people get their ‘highs’ from over-eating………

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  February 2, 2017

          The discussion is about Marijuana. Which is not addictive,and hasn’t got black power concerned. The drug you’ve mentioned is a highly addictive and destructive scourge on society, marijuana is not.

          • AC, I concede that the question was about marijuana, that has the same addictive problems as nicotine has demonstrated. However my position is that there should NEVER be any concession to the concept of drugs being used for medical purposes only (all types) and NEVER for recreational purposes. My position is based on firsthand knowledge and experience about misuse of drugs in a large number of different countries.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 2, 2017

              I smoke both and I can categorically say that Marijuana and Nicotine do not have the ‘same addictive problems’. Nicotine is highly addictive, and very hard to break free from. Marijuana has a ‘i’ll just have some more’ thing when you’ve got it, but when you don’t you don’t miss it at all. and it definitely doesn’t make your whole body ache and spasm and sweat, and focus all your mind onto the drug you don’t have like nicotine withdrawal does.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 2, 2017

              That is BS BJ, pot is NOT addictive, just psychologically habit forming for some. Like AC, I smoke both, but neither habitually any more. Giving up smoking pot daily was really easy, I just stopped, without consequences. Tobacco, however, required some serious ‘self hypnosis’, which took several weeks.

            • Patu… I am happy you personally are able to deal with it. I am not preaching a moral point of view, merely speaking from my heart about the real damage I have seen from misuse of drugs. I have written some years ago of my visits to drug detox centres in Borneo, Singapore and Bien Hao, Vietnam, where I saw the wastage of life from the effects of the drugs. That has shaped my views on recreational drugs, recreate now, and pay for your pleasure later. In the end it is your choice, but please do not become a burden on taxpayers when things go wrong.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 2, 2017

              You’re playing a game of false equivalency BJ.
              I’m almost certain that what you saw in Borneo, Singapore and Bien Hao, Vietnam were people in the clutches of heroin addiction. Heroin is certainly highly addictive, and very nasty to withdraw from.
              But thinking you know all drugs because you’ve had first hand exposure to one is a logical fallacy.

              And before you say it, those guys were almost certainly smoking weed too, but it wasn’t the weed that was making them shit and sweat I can assure you.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 2, 2017

              @ BJ
              I don’t mean to disrespect your opinion, or your experience Colonel. I suspect that what you witnessed in those places was due to Opiates, not pot. In my misspent youth, I associated with a few people who were ‘on the junk’, but never fell into that trap, as they all seemed to be doing it to feel normal. I was offered ‘a taste’, on more occasions than I care to remember, but always said “Yeah, nah”, before that was even a saying. That is why I stopped smoking pot every day, because it was becoming normal. I tried speed twice, and thought it was a waste of money, as I could drink twice as much as usual, & not feel even half cut.
              I take recreational drugs because I want to feel ‘different’. Which is why I really enjoy my monthly ‘session’, on the weed. IMHO, there is nothing better than sharing a spliff with a couple of good friends, then debating life, the universe, & everything…

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 2, 2017

              @ Patu Be very careful with your cigarette smoking, I quit a couple of years ago for 18 months, then started social smoking, I managed to keep that up for a year until a particularly social period led me totally back to full time smoking.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 2, 2017

              @AC
              I don’t need to be careful, I have broken the ‘habitual’ thing forever. If you want to know how, I might just tell you, if you ask nicely 🙂 . Not too long ago, I’d be ‘scratching around my ashtrays’ within half an hour of running out. Not now though….

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 2, 2017

              You’re bloody well Vaping aren’t you?
              Also, yes please, I’d be keen to know.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 2, 2017

              Vaping? I don’t think so! I still smoke real cigarettes, but now enjoy them a lot more. Seeing as how you asked so nicely, I’ll tell you over on OF, seeing as how this sub-thread is getting a bit long.

            • Gezza

               /  February 2, 2017

              Bj, Patu & AC are absolutely right in their remarks about the physical addictiveness of nicotine/tobacco, and physical non-addictiveness of cannabis. I also have used both on a regular basis. Going without dope was as easy as pie as I was never addicted, nor was anybody I know who regularly used it. None of them went on to anything more destructive. Going without nicotine was a nightmare as I was, & probably always will be, physically addicted.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  February 2, 2017

              Going without nicotine was a nightmare as I was, & probably always will be, physically addicted.

              You aren’t addicted to nicotine G, you just think you are. Read my post on OF.

            • Gezza

               /  February 2, 2017

              @ patu. Yes I am. You read mine. For whatever reason, & probably good fortune, it sounds like you’re not addicted to nicotine. What determines whether you are is when you can’t just stop taking it with no ill effects or withdrawal symptoms.

            • Cannabis is addictive, buty the dependance is far more pyschological than physical, and at a much lower rate than other drugs, its withdrawals are incredibly mild though, nothing like what chronic pain patients go through tapering off methadone etc

            • Fine Shane. Is that a medical or lay opinion?

        • Kevin

           /  February 2, 2017

          Drug taking is already socially acceptable – eg. caffeine, alcohol, tobacco. Then there’s less socially acceptable drugs but becoming more socially acceptable like marijuana. And then there’s drugs that will never be socially acceptable such as meth and heroin.

          Yes, addiction is a concern but as I’ve said most people are temperate drug users. What the law does is punish the majority for the sins of the minority. Should we ban all guns because a some idiots kill or maim themselves or others with firearms?

          • Ask a Doctor, Kevin, about caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and the relationship to cancer and recreational use of “soft” drugs and the risks Then ask about hard drug misuse. The consequence of both, I leave to the experts, like the British Medical Council. You make your own mind.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  February 2, 2017

              Might need to see your proof that Caffeine and Alcohol are cancerous, there’s been a lot of research that coffee and red wine (in moderation) are beneficial

            • I am not a Doctor that is why I suggest you seek a Doctor’s advice. I know what my Doctor has said.

            • Kevin

               /  February 2, 2017

              I don’t see your point. No one is arguing that misuse of drugs, even soft drugs like caffeine, isn’t harmful.

            • Kevin, then what is your point? They are harmful, so don’t use them or support their use, eh?

            • Kevin

               /  February 2, 2017

              Because the harm caused by prohibition is greater.

  4. Kevin

     /  February 2, 2017

    Personally I think the Cannabis Party have been worse than useless. Instead of framing cannabis law reform as a justice issue they’ve framed it as a “I want to smoke a joint” issue. Also in all the years they’ve been around what have they’ve managed to achieve? They couldn’t even get on-the-spot fines implemented FFS. And so far they’ve never managed to get a supportive expert on the EACD.

    Absolutely useless.

    • The ALCP have an real uphill battle, to get traction:

      1) 40 years of misinfo. to debunk
      2) MPs, Journos & some public.. still spreading total B-S, even though the majority of kiwis know the truth about CANNABIS
      3) APATHY tends to be the biggest battle.. in the Drug WAR

      then there are some in society who support the status quo; police, customs, corrections, BIG-alcohol/tobacco/pharm etc. who rely on it for their job security. They will continue to push the misinfo. for this exact reason, regardless of the harm the Prohibition LAW is creating to society

      btw; B-S is still B-S.. even if some do spread it thick, deep & wide

      Go Abe & ALCP on 25/2 & 23/9

      • Kevin

         /  February 2, 2017

        The EACD (Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs) is stacked with prohibitionists. Get a sympathetic voice on the committee and that would be a good start.

        It is absolutely draconian and unjust that someone can have their body, their car, and their property searched just because they’re stupid enough to tell a cop they smoked a joint the week previous.

      • Kevin

         /  February 2, 2017

        And it’s not a war on drugs. It’s a war between prohibitionists and those that advocate temperance.