Cross party crapping on cannabis bill

Despite a Curia poll that showed 78% support for medical use of cannabis not to be a criminal offence (and just 17% opposed), it looks like there may be a less than 50% vote in parliament tomorrow on the Swarbrick medical cannabis bill.

If the bill fails to pass it will be very poor representation by MPs in their first test of conscience this term.

All the Green MPs are said to be voting for the bill – good for them.

Very disappointingly Bill English says that National will bloc vote despite it being a conscience vote, giving reportedly just three MPs an exemption to vote for the bill. This is a very poor start to the political year for English and National.

RNZ: Most National MPs to vote against Green’s cannabis bill

“We’ve never treated drug issues in the National caucus as a conscience issue, but we are flexible in the sense that if people have a strong view in this, related to issues of chronic pain, then they have the freedom to vote for it if they wish,” National leader Bill English said.

The National Party will back the government legislation this afternoon.

National health spokesperson Jonathan Coleman said Labour has missed an opportunity to hit the right balance on medicinal cannabis.

And National are crapping on an opportunity to hit the right balance by bloc voting against one bill.

Ardern and Minister of Health David Clark have said they would support the bill at first vote, some compensation for putting up their own pathetic bill.

But some Labour MPs may vote against it.

Labour MP Peeni Henare is concerned about how far that bill goes, and has met with his fellow Māori MPs to discuss the issue.

“I’ve seen [cannabis] ravage small communities, families, households across the country …and of course those ones are Māori.

“I’ve seen [it] destroy families, destroy people. And that’s enough concern for me, let alone any research that suggests it’s a gateway drug to anything bigger or heavier,” he said.

Henare is on the wrong planet here. He’s talking about almost entirely different issues to the use of medical cannabis. This apparent level of ignorance is alarming.

NZ First MPs can vote as they please but it is being reported that most or all will vote against the bill. If that happens, again very disappointing. I hope Grey Power, who support the bill, give them all a bollocking overnight.

Winston Peters has said he will oppose the bill.

1 news:  ‘It’s random, it’s haphazard, it’s free-for-all’ – Peters fiercely against Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill

“It goes far too far. There is no restriction at all, it’s random, it’s haphazard, it’s free-for-all now.”

That’s just ignorant nonsense. Any hope that Peters might rise to the responsibility of being deputy PM (and acting PM mid year when Ardern has her baby) has flown out the Window. He sounds like an ignorant, out of touch old twit. I hope voters remember and hammer for this.

I haven’t seen David Seymour’s view recently but he has previously been strongly in favour of cannabis law reform. However the vote is shaping up to be not close enough for his vote to make a difference.

From the Curia poll in support of making cannabis use for medical purpose legal:

  • National voters 78% (18% against)
  • Labour voters 78% (17% against)
  • NZ First 77% (23% against)
  • TOTAL 78% (17% against)

If over 50% of MPs vote against the preference of 4 out of 5 people it will be a travesty of democracy.

 

34 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  January 30, 2018

    If Chloe’s bill fails to pass, it just shows that Natl MPs specifically, are NOT listening to the people they claim to represent on this issue.
    English sounds like he’s been listening to the like of Family First ‘Its just a smokescreen for recreational use’ OR so they would have us believe (NOT) 😦

  2. robertguyton

     /  January 30, 2018

    Entirely with you on this one, Pete. English and co are a disgrace. Nailing their own coffin shut.

  3. Kitty Catkin

     /  January 30, 2018

    David Seymour is in favour of the the first part but iffy about the second, which would give doctors the responsibility of deciding who is ill enough to have it-he quotes a patched gang member standing over a rural GP.

    If people want it, I think that they ought to be prepared to pay for it themselves rather than asking everyone else to.

    • Patu

       /  January 30, 2018

      Now why would a patched gang member ‘ stand over’ a rural GP Kitty? I suspect he would be far more likely to just score an ounce off one of his mates, like he does currently.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 31, 2018

        Because he could grow his own, of course, and save the expense of the middleman, and do it legally.

        • Patu

           /  January 31, 2018

          Well he can currently grow his own too, no middleman required. Trust me Kitty, gang members have scant regard for the law. The only difference legalising pot will make to them, is reduce their income.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 1, 2018

            Well, yes, I do know that-but it would be nice for them if they could do it openly and flourish a doctor’s letter. No need to hide the plants in the bush. No need to hang Christmas tree balls on the plants to make them look like tomato plants if anyone flew over and looked down (the people who did this got away with it until the boys in blue realised that there were no yellow or green tomatoes on these plants)

            • Patu

               /  February 1, 2018

              Legal or not Kitty, one can never grow it openly, due to the high risk of ones’ crop being taxed. I suppose if it was legal, one could actually lay a complaint of theft, but given how slow the police are to investigate burglaries, I somehow doubt that the theft of a few pot plants will be a high priority for them. And rather than hanging coloured balls on ones plants, why not just rent a property on the flight approach path to a busy airport? 😉

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 1, 2018

              Patu, a comment you made above reminds me of an issue that is generally not included in discussion about decriminalising or legalising marijuana. Huge amounts of money would disappear from the economies of many provincial towns as the formerly illegal cultivation industry collapsed. Who knows how many businesses would suddenly become non-viable in places such as Kaitaia without all the “drug money”?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 1, 2018

              The ‘tomato’ plants were seized. Had the growers put yellow and green ‘tomatoes’ on them-I would probably not have thought of this, either-they would probably have got away with it. They were seen by whoever flies over to look for these things, and did get away with it-for a while.

            • PartisanZ

               /  February 1, 2018

              phantom snowflake … those ‘illegal’ businesses could easily be replaced by legal grow and process businesses if the industry was regulated …?

              Indeed, with a bit of amnesty, foresight and intrepid community-building the illegal businesses could become legal ones …?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 1, 2018

              One lives in hope, as our dope is, I believe, very good quality because of the climate here. The GST alone would make NZ the Monaco of the Pacific.

              Where does the dope in places like Colorado come from ? Are there plantations there ? I hadn’t thought about this before. They’d need to have great security-another nice little earner.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  February 1, 2018

              @PZ: Yes, to some extent legal industry could replace illegal, the necessary skills certainly exist. But in the short to medium term there would be a lot less income generated, and the economic shock could cause significant harm.

              @Kitty: It’s not the climate, but rather decades of amateur genetic engineering by (ahem) enthusiasts.

            • robertguyton

               /  February 1, 2018

              We aspire to be the “Monaco of the Pacific”, Kitty?
              God help us.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 1, 2018

              I meant from the $$$ point of view. 😀

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 1, 2018

              It was the first rich country that came into my head, that’s all.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  January 30, 2018

    @Pete – “If over 50% of MPs vote against the preference of 4 out of 5 people it will be a travesty of democracy” and we will discover, yet again, what a travesty this thing we loosely call ‘democracy’ actually is …. This so-called ‘democracy’ …

    A “nay” vote should be followed by massive and prolonged protests in the streets …

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 1, 2018

      I doubt if many people will feel that strongly, to be honest.

  5. artcroft

     /  January 30, 2018

    I don’t think Henare is wrong here. This is the first step to complete legalisation. I don’t disagree with legalisation. I think its worth doing, but I’m not so naive that I can’t see what the end game is. I can also appreciate the arguments of those who see the harm dak does, and it is harmful, and want to see it remain illegal.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 30, 2018

      @Pete – “Henare is on the wrong planet here. He’s talking about almost entirely different issues to the use of medical cannabis. This apparent level of ignorance is alarming.”

      Couldn’t have said it better Pete. Oh yes, them alarm bells are ringin’!!!

      I’d just add that the ‘ravages’ Henare talks about are almost entirely about Maori [and non-Maori] “small communities, families and households” engaging in the illegal growing and supply of cannabis because our current unjust law makes it a crime and creates a black market. The problem is the criminalization, not the substance.

      Mostly, though perhaps not entirely, the law does the ravaging, forcing people to engage in high stakes, high money, highly territorial and highly clandestine activity … with associated paranoia, violence and anti-authority behaviour …

      Tragic to realize that people who benefit from the current situation and/or want it to remain the same out of ignorance are willing to literally impose a psychic scourge on their fellow humans … They inflict a ‘legal contagion’ upon the very communities, families and households they claim to be protecting.

      • Kevin

         /  January 31, 2018

        I don’t believe it’s ignorance. Prohibitionists don’t care about harm reduction and they definitely don’t care the prohibition does nothing to reduce problematic use (in fact it greatly increases the harm caused by problematic use). They don’t like the thought of ordinary people like you and me using.

    • Griff

       /  January 30, 2018

      I could understand if we did not already have legal alcohol
      I have lost at least 3 friends to piss
      Not a single one to cannabis
      Death is as harmful as it gets.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 1, 2018

        A stoned driver is as dangerous as a drunk one, and that cannot be denied.

        Most people who drink alcohol, thank goodness, don’t drink themselves to death.I don’t know any who have-but I have known some alcoholics. I knew one who could well have died prematurely because of it, but he didn’t drink so much in one go that he died of alcohol poisoning. What was tragic was that people ‘enabled’ him to drink by covering for him (taking his lectures, marking his students’ essays and so on) and going to get him…this was done with the best will in the world, but…

        One never knows what WOULD have happened, of course.

        • Griff

           /  February 1, 2018

          It is best to actually know what you are talking about.
          Many study’s find that a stoned driver is safer than a drunk one.
          Some have even found that a stoned driver is safer than someone sober.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 1, 2018

            Wouldn’t that depend on how stoned they were ? It’s not what I’ve heard. I’d rather not be in a car with either a drunk or stoned driver.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 1, 2018

            It seems that you are right about the studies-but nowhere does it suggest that stoned is safer than sober. I would have thought that it was better not to drive either drunk or stoned.

            I had always heard that drunk & stoned were about the same for being dangerous-received wisdom and all that, But I would still prefer to be with a sober driver.

            • Griff

               /  February 1, 2018

              8. Marijuana smokers are thought to be more sober drivers. Traffic information from 13 states where medical marijuana is legal showed that these drivers were actually safer and more careful than many other drivers on the road.

              These studies were confirmed by the University of Colorado and the Montana State University when they compared a relationship between legal marijuana use and deaths in traffic accidents in those states. The studies done by a group called the Truth About Cars showed that traffic deaths fell nine percent in states with legal use of medical marijuana.

              (To view our study on Drunk Driving vs. Alcohol-Related Traffic Deaths, click here.)

              9. Multiple studies showed that marijuana smokers were less likely to be risk takers than those that use alcohol. The studies showed that the marijuana calmed them down and made them actually pay more attention to their abilities.All of these tests and research studies showed that while some people think that marijuana is a major cause of traffic problems, in reality it may make the users even safer when they get behind the wheel!

              10. Marijuana smoking drivers were shown to drive at prescribed following distances, which made them less likely to cause or have crashes.

              Every test seemed to come up with these same results in all of the countries they were done in. Even so, insurance companies will still penalize any driver in an accident that has been shown to have been smoking pot, so this doesn’t give drivers free reign to smoke pot and drive.

              So, the bottom line is that while alcohol has been shown in every single incident to have major problems and to have caused countless traffic crashes and fatalities, pot smoking overall has had none of these issues and in fact may make drivers pay more attention, drive slower and straighter and perhaps even stay home so they can’t be in an accident at all!
              http://www.4autoinsurancequote.com/uncategorized/reasons-why-marijuana-users-are-safe-drivers/

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 2, 2018

              I said that I accepted that stoned was safer than drunk, but would not want stoned drivers to have free rein (not reign) either.

  6. it needs 10 National MPs, been a mentally exhausting week of lobbying, tune in tomorrow

  7. Kevin

     /  January 31, 2018

    “Labour MP Peeni Henare is concerned about how far that bill goes, and has met with his fellow Māori MPs to discuss the issue.

    “I’ve seen [cannabis] ravage small communities, families, households across the country …and of course those ones are Māori.

    “I’ve seen [it] destroy families, destroy people. And that’s enough concern for me, let alone any research that suggests it’s a gateway drug to anything bigger or heavier,” he said.”

    I feel like banging my head against a wall whenever I hear someone say something like “my daughter started smoking cannabis when she was 13 and now she’s a heroin addict.”

    Cannabis. Is. Already. Illegal. FFS. What do you want the government to do? Make cannabis illegal illegal?

    Having cannabis illegal does nothing to reduce the number of problematic users. Same for any recreational drug.

    • PartisanZ

       /  January 31, 2018

      This really is “bang your head against a wall” material Kevin …

      Why? Because we Kiwis have lost the political will and courage to fight for our human rights (and I include myself in that) … Protest being the natural outlet for ‘head-banging’ energy …

      There are still countries in the world where enough sense of community remains that people get out and protest …

  8. Kevin

     /  January 31, 2018

    To be fair on Bill English he did make his position very clear during the election debates.