2013 International Cannabis Policy Symposium: Day 2



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.

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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.


  1. I see nothing has changed. Thirty, nay forty years ago we all thought cannabis would be legal in our lifetimes, hahahahaha.
    I would take a pillow and catch some zzzz’s while not listening to all the non-smoking experts tell other non-inhaling experts the pros and cons of some dumb theory some university boffin dreamed up while sipping latte and nibbling chocolate torte.
    Talk is cheap; it rarely solves anything. I cannot believe it is 2013 and not only does no government want anything to do with this issue but, as you also point out, with a rise of the Conservative Party, nothing will be done. Except the building of more prisons…….

  2. The Greens have tried out half-pie cannabis bills; Nandor put forward an “instant fines” model, and Metiria a medical-only reform, both voted down on their first reading. Compromises like these satisfy nobody. Legalization activists see them for the cave-in they are, and for prohibitionists they’re as offensive as full legalization because anything short of public executions for selling bongs “sends the wrong message”.

    I can’t think of a bigger political own goal than kowtowing to the lunatic fringe who might vote Conservative by offering up another half-measure policy, and treating cannabis users as sacrificial lambs once again (not to mention responsible cannabis retailers like the Daktory, and growers who risk years is jail for growing a drug less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco). The Greens only just made it into parliament in 1999 mainly because they were attacked by Jenny Shipley for their policy of ending cannabis prohibition, and picked up most of the vote that had in 1996 had gone to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. Come on Bomber, let’s do what the evidence requires, as you explained so well in the your last post. Let’s knock the bastard off this time, and follow Washington and Colorado with a regulated market for adult cannabis users.

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