It’s Day 2 of the International Cannabis Policy Symposium, today there is a selection of cheesecake and baked fruit tart with cake in the dessert island triple layered trays. The roast beef gravy has a rich consistency. Stuff.co.nz run a ridiculous scare mongering bullshit dripping article claiming some mathematical impurities as hysterical headline fodder. The facts are (as I pointed out yesterday) that Cannabis IS NOT a major risk factor for psychosis. How on earth the clown from Stuff.co.nz can hear the experts and dream up hysteria as a headline is testament as to why Journalists have the social standing of used car salesmen and drug dealing pimps.
Professor Steve Allsop is giving a depressing run down of the role of diversion.
He explains that coercion is not treatment and that health problems, relationship problems and employment problems produce better results than legal coercion. His point is that when teenagers have problems coming from their cannabis use, then they fix the problems. If teenagers are being forced into these schemes, they don’t work.
He adds that these treatment programs can create a Net widening – treatment alternatives just forcing more people into a system that may have left them alone. He says that poorly resourced treatment services provide terrible results.
Effectively it’s a bloody shambles. Later the afternoon session fires up when it’s pointed out that the illegality of cannabis is creating and causing far more social carnage than cannabis actually creates. The Green Elephant in the room is that it is prohibition that is the problem, not the actual drug itself.
It’s great that we are finally getting to that point on Day 2. When Just Speak are pointing out how racist these laws are, one would have hoped that could have been the starting point for the debate rather than all the moralistic flagellation of Day 1.
The best discussion occurs off site later at night hosted by NORML with a group talking about how to politically push the issues of prohibition in the next election. My thoughts are that with the rise of the Conservative Party, any attempt to make cannabis reform a political issue will be seized upon by Colin and the Jesus Freaks as Sodom and Gomorrah gaining construction permits. If Labour, Greens & MANA form the next Government, are they really willing to spend the little political capital they have on Cannabis reform?
My guess is they will not.
What I do think as a compromise position however, is that a new Government of Labour, the Greens & MANA could very much look at the legalizing of a medicinal cannabis industry similar to the US model. While that won’t impress the purists of the Cannabis activist community, I think medicinal cannabis is the only new front in a debate that has become bogged down in the trench warfare of uncompromising decriminalization positions.
Day 3 finally gets to the issue we’ve all been waiting for – a debate about Cannabis prohibition. It’s taken 3 days to get there, but an argument may actually occur at this symposium.