Now is not the time for cowardice on Cannabis reform – why decriminalisation isn’t enough



The tipping points towards cannabis reform are all occurring rapidly now. The Associate-Minister agrees, the Police agree – it’s like flat earth’s admitting the Sun is the centre of the Solar System but it’s not enough.

Decriminalisation is pointless if there isn’t a regulated market taking taxation and mitigating the impacts of that decriminalisation.  The only reason the Associate-Minister and the Police agree to decriminalisation is because places in America where cannabis is regulated are making a mockery of their previous claims that cannabis reform can’t work.

Now is not the time for cowardice on cannabis reform, decriminalisation is not the answer. Legalisation in a tightly regulated market that favours small to medium size local business over vast corporations which is taxed and strictly R20 is the solution.

If we are going to make a change, merely having Police turn a blind eye when they catch someone won’t go anywhere near far enough. The Police have admitted last year that they are racist towards Maori, if it’s just Police description, then it will end up being just as racist as it currently is.

Legalisation allows real restrictions on sales, allows medicinal cannabis, allows taxation and allows a local market to grow and create real economic growth while robbing organised crime of a source of income.

Decriminalisation is merely begrudging acknowledgement from those authorities in society who have benefited from prohibition that their immoral, racist and destructive war on drugs has been an utter failure.

Let’s be brave and seek an adult answer on cannabis reform rather than a child’s one still clinging to failed solutions.

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  1. Oh no, we can’t decriminalise drugs!! What would gangs do for an income! Thankfully, the Nats realise this and will do everything to protect this illegal industry.

    We can’t have sensible drug policies, eh?

    • Not forgetting the Alcohol companies that would be totally pissed at their sales plummeting. If a lot of people want to chill with a joint or 2 for the night. Rather than a few beers and what ever happens after the beers take over.

      • Why would alcohol mind? Nothing quite as relaxing as a Scotch and Bifta of an evening.
        Just remember smoke weed before your beer and you’re in the clear.
        Smoke weed after a beer and you’re on your ear. 😛

    • The gangs are private enterprise heroes (After all they give the police a job to do and prisons to fill-good for profit! ). State involvement is Socialism, the word that makes the Natsis sick to their brainwashed yankee guts. I see key is over in Washington yet again, did he enjoy is hawaiian break?

  2. When Colorado announced it was about to embark on this groundbreaking reform 2 years ago, I ended up in tears. never did I think we would see this debate in NZ in my life time.
    We have come a long long way over the 32 years since my cannabis arrest. 3 weeks lock up for a roach end they found in my car. Then the issues began. I had been serving in the Air Force. Life had been looking pretty rosy. So i served my 3 weeks then went back to base got charged again did another 6 weeks brig and got discharged at the completion of said sentence. Roach wasn’t mine it was my mates that I had dropped home earlier. Mate is now a retired Air Marshall. I am a tired cook. A bit of weed never hurt anyone huh? oh and Roach weighed half a point of a gram :-/ The cops were of the attitude seed or a pound you get the same.
    So if we can stop the social hobbling of the kin that was meted out on myself. I think we have made big steps on the way to full reform.

  3. Has anyone noticed that when there is a news story on TV One or Three about legalising marijuana (or something similar) they always have grotesque images of people smoking pot like last night when a guy puffed it out of his mouth and it went up his nose, or sucking on big dirty bongs. You never get images of people just sitting round puffing on a joint in a pleasant environment listening to good music for example, like you would a glass of wine.

    • They have to make it look as evil as they can. Because every other argument they have brought out against Cannabis has been shot down in flames…

  4. About bloody time to be brave! A herb that has been used by billions for millennia, and political pricks still say it needs research. Also for a concise description of how it became illegal in the US–I have a link which I will send to TDB.

  5. I totally agree. It’s absurd not to have a highly regulated, legalised & taxed cannabis market in New Zealand. Why leave an industry that is proven to create lots of high paying jobs and provide huge tax revenue (see Colorado) in the hands of organised crime and gangs.

    The kicker on this issue for me was hearing that there were once trials growing opium for medical opiates in Marlborough. NZ decided it didn’t want the business so it went to Tasmania instead, where it remains the bedrock of the Tasmanian economy. I hear Australia is now preparing to begin trials for growing medical cannabis. I hope NZ doesn’t miss out on another highly lucrative industry because of the timidity of the National government and Peter Dunne’s outsized ego.

    • Why leave an industry that is proven to create lots of high paying jobs and provide huge tax revenue (see Colorado) in the hands of organised crime and gangs?

      Why SIMONM? Because there’s allot of money to be made by the confiscation of profits and property using the Proceeds of Crime act, done by raiding, (the same word used to describe what the pirates and vikings did), though only because it’s done by the state is it not considered theft.

      Then of course there’s the prison-for-profit incentive, it’s fucking amazing how incarceration rates increase exponentially when privatization of prisons are introduced, America being a prime example, and now of course here.

  6. Decriminalisation would surely lead to de facto legalisation though? If no one is actively policing an activity, then market forces would surely rapidly prevail. e.g. If cannabis is decriminalised, what is there to stop someone selling/trading at a farmer’s market given that there is zero chance of prosecution? Shops would then soon follow, unless of course, “decriminalisation” doesn’t quite mean what I think it does???

    • the decriminalization models that I have seen have been abused and dismantled. SA and ACT are 2 examples.

  7. Careful.
    Full legalisation means another thing for massive corps to advertise at us. Personal use decrim, fine;
    McWeed, weed tours, a thousand types of pills, drinks, smokes, patches advertised directly at us like Coca Cola – no thanks.
    The way things are I don’t trust us to have sensible regulation around it, look at booze and pharma drugs.

  8. Bomber, this article doesn’t specify what you consider to be decriminalisation. You repeatedly say decriminalisation won’t work, but I’m not sure why.

    “If we are going to make a change, merely having Police turn a blind eye when they catch someone won’t go anywhere near far enough.”

    Is that what you think decriminalisation is? Because it’s not. That’s police discretion.

    You’ll have to do much better than this to convince me that decriminalisation is worse than legalisation.

    However, this version of legalisation is better than you last, which promoted gangs as growers:

    “Legalisation in a tightly regulated market that favours small to medium size local business over vast corporations which is taxed and strictly R20 is the solution.”

    If we’re handing weed over to capitalism then I’d change it to:

    “Legalisation in a tightly regulated market that ONLY ALLOWS small to medium size local business AND EXCLUDES vast corporations which is taxed and strictly R20 is the solution.”

    Still not into the rightwing libertarian argument though…

  9. A lot of police, corrections employees, lawyers, judges, and justice department employees will be made redundant with legalisation, also the gangs will have to find another source of income?

  10. INDUSTRIAL HEMP farms and hemp manufacturing plants all up and down both islands and then there will be tons of jobs ; an economy turned around and many great products to use here and to export. The far north – Kaitaia area needs this and it could turn their economy totally around and for the better. This govt. needs to invest in Industrial Hemp and stop with their toxic and horrendous pushing of fracking and deep sea oil drilling.

    ” Exploratory drilling is the most dangerous part of oil production ” – Greenpeace

    I am against taxation of a healing natural plant / herb. Legalize medicinal marijuana – yes but why should the govt. or the greedy make taxation money from the sale of a natural plant that is medicinal and the choice of many now who are getting off of prescription medications ?

    Many judges and poor quality cops need to be made redundant anyway.
    Doesn’t our entire legal system need to be revisited and reshaped to serve the people and not the greedy ; crooked attorneys/judges/cops and privatized prisons and the privatizing corporations ?

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