Can NZ ever have an adult discussion on drugs?



The science is pretty clear…

Medical marijuana doesn’t encourage teens to smoke pot – study
Medical marijuana laws don’t trigger an increase in teen pot smoking, a new study concludes.

Some opponents of medical marijuana have said that legalising the medicinal use of marijuana could send a message to young people that smoking pot is no big deal, ultimately encouraging them to experiment with marijuana and harder drugs.

Pot smoking by teens has been increasing, and earlier research has shown that fewer of them see marijuana as risky. But the new study suggests that medical marijuana laws are not the reason.

The research showed no significant increase in 21 states with medical marijuana laws.


Wellington emergency doctor calls for pure ecstasy to be made legal
The purest form of ecstasy is safer than alcohol and should be legalised, Wellington Hospital’s emergency department head says.

Emergency medical specialist and clinical toxicologist Paul Quigley said there was mounting evidence that MDMA, the unadulterated base for ecstasy, was one of the safest recreational drugs, especially when compared with alcohol, which made up about two-thirds of late-night and weekend admissions at the hospital’s accident and emergency department.

His controversial call has been backed by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said that, although the idea was a “longshot”, he would discuss its merits with Quigley.

…we are an alcoholic culture drowning in booze with all the negative social impacts that brings, but when it comes to cannabis and MDMA we will arrest, put in prison and spend hundreds of millions to repress those drugs which are far less damaging to our health than tobacco and booze.

I think NZ is simply too immature a society to be able to handle an actual adult discussion on decriminalising cannabis or MDMA because it would quickly get over run by moralists and political dog whistling. This suggest we will inevitably continue with the same pointless, ineffective and counter productive legal regimes that only exacerbate harm rather than minimising it.

Moralistic superstition has replaced science on the issue of drugs.



  1. It was never science based, it was always about morals and money.

    The hemp industry was a threat to cotton and oil.

    Some people like to get high, the moral crusaders don’t want us to. Or at least, they let us get drunk only. Ugh.

    I find people to be on the whole pretty scientifically illiterate. And lacking in logical thinking processes. Prone to sound byte ideas and shallow thinking.

    If we wanted an evidence based approach we’d make all drugs legal and treat addiction as a medical problem not a criminal one. It’s been done before, we can see exactly how it turns out, and the results are much better than the making drugs illegal approach. But facts get in the way of peoples emotions.

  2. Martyn, I don’t take any drugs, not even simple cannabis.

    You will see now why not, as my brain has been damaged by daily chemicals already right under the noses of our health agencies who were asleep at the time.

    But when I was chemically poisoned on the Job overseas in the 1990’s I suffered toxicity that would have killed me hadn’t it been for the 13th Doctor I sought the truth from after those 12 said nothing wrong here, “It was all in your head”

    This brave heart from Poland laid his reputation on the line and said I have suffered a workplace chemical injury and serious health disablement from the exposures I suffered in an unventilated workplace for six months while spraying toxic paints and glues everywhere.

    he sent my blood to a very advanced laboratory for chemical poisoning and the Laboratory director a very highly qualified scientific specialist confirmed I was now full of the worst case of chemical poisoning he had seen to date, and identified the chemicals and traced them to my workplace.

    I later had a tissue biopsy to double confirm this all was correct.

    In this country neither of these tests are carried out, that is why in the New Plymouth Dow Chemical case all the residents today don’t know what caused their health to fail but Dow Chemical and government wanted it that way right?

    So why didn’t most doctors seem to worry about yours truly becoming totally disabled by toxic Volatile Organic Chemicals in an unventilated area for six months?

    This was worse than smoking weed right?

    Doctors were never trained at med school about chemical toxicity so are unaware like I was when working nearby chemical dangers that are around us every day in our plastic carpeting where three hundred toxic chemicals are present after production and treatment, and in perfumes, colognes, fragrances, cleaners food and thousands of others that are killing us or causing asthma, cancer, strokes early death immune dysfunction and many other things we don’t yet have.

    Doctors who know all this and don’t speak out about this are Like the book “Dirty Doctors” so we need to be aware ourselves of all dangers out there.

    How am I still alive 22 years later?

    I avoid chemicals now like the plague,

    Memorial to Jack Benney Chemical researcher 35yrs Tampa FL USA.

    “If it don’t smell like home baked bread or roses, don’t smell it as it’s goanna be a killer to ya”

    I have good doctors and you need to ask your Doctor; “Do you know anything about the chemicals that are around us every day and what should I don to stay healthy?”

    If you don’t get an answer change to a doctor that can answer the question properly with help.

    I are not to worried about others using Cannabis for medical or recreation as long as I don’t get exposed to the smell as I am super Chemically sensitised now (MCS) due to my poisoning and “activated immune system”.


    Cyntha Wilson of CIIN Montana, another chemical researcher wrote this book for US EPA is also a good reference of 314 chemicals to stay away from and inform your Doctor as HE/SHE needs help here.

    I hope this grown up discussion helps someone.

  3. Rather it funding our political gangs and country than our criminal gangs…. even though the criminal gangs are more organised. Make for less victimless crime, and may even stimulate the economy, well more so than parliament’s new BMW fleet

  4. Morals are okay since they are the basis for ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. These can and should be debated. Superstition is baseless speculation. Disregard superstition. If we talk about debilitating drugs then Big Alcohol is clearly the rather Large Elephant in the room. NZ is mature enough to debate what is good for you and what is not. Let fully informed debate go on – and let us decide democratically what we need to best live our lives. This should be sooner rather than later.

  5. Yep, you nailed it Martyn. NZ is a society that is “too immature” to have a rational discussion on an issue of this type, so we stagger on in our typical dysfunctional manner, screaming platitudes and repeating old cliches from the Cold War era. For example, our NZ police are stuck in the Dark Ages regading the so-called “War on Drugs”, and also the govt.

    Dunne’s “performance” regarding synthetic cannabis products hardly inspires confidence, it was only the efforts of John Campbell that eventually got that synthetic junk banned, while the REAL THING, which is much much safer and is also a very valuable medicinal herb, remains banned, and our alcohol laws are a sick joke. We really are a “baby culture”.

  6. Reminds me of two people I know whose children (teens) ended up with serious drug problems (hospitalised etc). Both are rabidly anti-drugs of any kind (except alcohol of course). They believe that if the drugs hadn’t been around their kids would have been safe. What they will not consider at all is any possibility that some other issue may be a factor in their children’s drug taking. I want to avoid using the word ‘blame’ because I don’t think this helps in understanding addiction, but examining the complex nature of addiction is more helpful than just focusing on banning everything so that your child never faces temptation.

    I remember heroin being on offer at parties when I was a teen. I decided not to accept the offer. I’m not saying I’m perfect, just that having heroin around didn’t make me a junkie.

  7. I am so sick of hearing how stupid New Zealanders are on these pages. This article ( and some of the comments) is one of the worst examples – peaking with Alfonso’s contribution which I thought must have been satire when I first read it.

    Of all people, Daily Blog scribes and readers should be aware of the huge amount of propaganda out there and of the considerable efforts made to shape peoples’ opinions. To stay constantly upset with the victim’s of that propaganda shows a distinct lack of maturity on our part. I think it also shows that we also have a tendency to succumb to our own emotions – especially the one that needs to believe that we’re more intelligent and smarter than the “plebs” out there.

    Offending the very people we’re trying to present these arguments too is a sure-fire method of undermining our cause. It doesn’t make logical sense to do it so there must be emotional reasons for this continued behaviour.

    • We are a young country. We worship authority, don’t critically challenge issues and are so laid back we are horizontal. We are a juvenile culture, and pointing that out as to why we can’t advance progress isn’t an emotional response to anything.

      • Our country may be young on the world stage. But we are informed enough to make good decisions. We just choose not too. We choose to shut up and roll over.

        I am for legal weed. Much better for you than synthetics…

        As for how mature this country is, a large percentage of this population are aging. Old people don’t want radical change for fear of their safety. The world has changed but so many people can’t change with it.

        JKNATS (silent K) don’t want to lose their voter majority.

      • So are you telling me that slagging off the very people who’s political views you want to change is a conscious plan?

        • I’m not a politician Aaron, I’m not trying to change anyone’s point of view – I’m calling it the way I see it and the way I see it is that wilful ignorance and blind pride is a larger determinant within the NZ electorate and coaxing those voters to do the right thing isn’t part of my job description, criticising them for their choices is.

        • I am not trying to force people to change their views. I am not saying at all that forcing peoples views is right. This government can make rules and decide secret treaties with their majority. What I am saying, is that people who have a set way of mind, cannot understand a different point of view. Even though the facts are there, they will blindly ignore it.

          Propaganda works like this.

    • In the USA, 60% of people believe in a creation.
      I stand by my claim that most people are morons, but I am sorry you find it offensive, and have had a negative emotionally reaction to it.

      Though please forgive me levity, I am ADHD/ASD so am ultra logical by birth.
      Being a nerdy smarty pants has caused me untold bullying…. a crisis of ego…. so I suppose I’m just dishing it back, because no one in authority I sought help from, would ever validate my position or negative experiences with neurotypicals, or “normals”.
      But yeah maybe you have something…. and I should go easy on drongo’s.

    • In the USA, 60% of people believe in a creation.
      I stand by my claim that most people are morons, but I am sorry you find it offensive, and have had a negative emotionally reaction to it.
      Though please forgive me levity, I am ADHD/ASD so am ultra logical by birth.
      Being a nerdy smarty pants has caused me untold bullying…. a crisis of ego…. so I suppose I’m just dishing it back, because no one in authority I sought help from, would ever validate my position or negative experiences with neurotypicals, or “normals”.
      But yeah maybe you have something…. and I should go easy on drongo’s.

  8. One could argue prohibition of mind-altering substances is incompatible with the history of the development of human society. There’s archaeological evidence that with various civilisations various grain crops were first cultivated for the production of alcohol before use as a stable food. Hunter gatherer life on bountiful land isn’t as trying as commonly suspected, civilisation possibly arose as a result of the enticement of alcohol for various rites or enjoyment. Even chimpanzees have been observed in their natural habitat specifically making an effort to drink fermented palm sap suggesting their fondness of alcohol.

    Then in recent decades the widespread connotations of “drugs” with “evil”. Zoroastrianism regarded the consumption of haoma (soma) as necessary to be good. Many pre-Columbian Central and South American cultures revolved around rites involving alcohol and various drugs, archaeological evidence suggesting an absence of warfare, and instead peaceful and egalitarian societies.

    In recent decades the irrational reaction to drugs along with the advent of this modern social/economic/political order is similar to the Roman Republic’s suppression of the Bacchanalia; revelry free of social hierarchy and prevailing sensibilities viewed by the powerful as a threat to the prevailing order. Considering how Bacchus/Dionysus is associated with the foreign, unknown, the care free, and subversion of the restraints imposed by the powerful, would have been evoked in the counter-culture of the 60’s/70’s.

    By rendering a drug illegal just establishes prejudices around it and anyone associated as something unsavoury, one would think by legalising such substances they would be regarded as more respectable.

    I won’t speak foul of alcohol, the peculiar dysfunctional behaviour observed by those under the influence here says more of the culture of this country’s populace then the substance itself. I observed in Europe how people (particularly the older generations) can drink without mass disorder but wholesome enjoyment. It appears here many only express their problems with the Dutch courage of booze, and then do so in a destructive manner. Just as cases of those who take drugs and are involved in harmful actions point to an issue with an individual rather than unfairly associated with the mere consumption of a substance.

    Interesting how today creativity is often discussed as important; innovation, economic growth, jobs, etc. Drugs can certainly assist to that end. If civilisation was founded with the enticement of drugs, it appears over recent decades with the rise of inequality, loss of liberties, and economic uncertainty. People must find contentment in hopelessness, hardship and deprivation and the associated drugs for treating mental illness distributed by corporations. Even though the presently illicit variety would rather be preferred and quite possibly more progressive.

    • Andy K, I agree with most of what you say here, and refer readers of TDB to the book “Food of the Gods’, by anthropologist and ethnobotanist Terence McKenna’s, for a fascinating history of human drug use that covers most of the points Andy raises here, and many more besides (check out the chapter on the way sugar changed European society).

      One thing I would challenge though, is Andy’s contention that alcohol is only dangerous in NZ because of the way kiwis use it. Certainly it’s possible to abuse any drug (imagine drinking 50 shots of espresso in a day!), and someone who could restrain themselves to shooting up heroin only once a year would probably come to less harm than someone who chain-smokes cannabis joints 24/7. But there are objective differences between the potential harms and common results of using different drugs. For example, cannabis can’t kill you. It just can’t. Alcohol can, and in relatively small quantities if it is pure enough.

      I remember a friend who was eventually banned from drinking around us, and encouraged to smoke pot instead. When he drank even small amounts, he became boorish, clumsy, and argumentative, but when he smoked, even a lot, he was relaxed, balanced, and friendly. Same person, different drug, very different outcome (yes I know, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, but…)

  9. Cannabis has been my crutch due to years of bullying caused by neurological difference, or disorder if you like.
    I have brought the worst out in many people, through no fault of my own, much like being black or gay.

    From Sandskrit, the word ‘ganga’ means: stress leaving the body.

    Many stoners are self medicating, binge drinkers, repressed ethic peoples, those with diverse sexual orientation, and many junkies too.

    Sorry about my dyslexia if grammar is poor

  10. Perhaps being a young immature society NZ should look to overseas cases of success and failures to be guided by?

    We in NZ during the 1960’s was called the “fortunate” country by lagging 20yrs behind international trends so were able to study where international social & environmental experiments have failed and choose to follow the trends that proved overseas to be successful and leave the failed social/environmental trends out of our society.

    Today we have lost this advantage and need as many bloggers here say correctly that we need to firstly be a nation that can operate from a base of “Informed Consent”.

    This is meaning as I pointed out earlier in my blog “to learn about chemical’s first and not be unaware like I was when working nearby chemical dangers that are around us every day” or face the consequences.

    Review the book and learn firstly;

    True Natural weed is less toxic to the brain than synthetic for sure so don’t go near it.

  11. As a libertarian I believe all drugs should be decriminalised and that it’s hypocritical to say pot should be illegal and alcohol legal. Either you keep pot illegal and make alcohol illegal too or you decriminalize pot.

    The good news is that decriminalization is happening – slowly – and in the only nation where it can start to really happen – the United States.

  12. What about the doctor saying (pure) ecstasy is less damaging that alcohol. May he just have a point? The lesser of 2 evils perhaps.

  13. Alcohol makes so much money for this government. Perhaps adding the use of e would be damaging to the profit line for their mates haha…

  14. Doctors no nothing about toxicology (toxicity of chemicals) so they should not pass judgement on ecstasy to a patient!

    I learned painfully that Doctors are not trained in toxicology in my earlier life when poisoned by chemicals remember?

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