GUEST BLOG: Jeanette Saxby – To the Editor of Stuff


Bob McCroskie is right about one thing regarding cannabis, Most New Zealanders do not want to see “Big Cannabis” and a commercial industry like the scourge the liquor industry is for New Zealand. The rest of his muddled article insults the intelligence of the average cannabis user in this country. If statistics are to be believed that’s about 400,000 Adults in New Zealand who have used or are currently using cannabis. His claim that cannabis is addictive and the goal of the industry is to get you addicted is nonsense. Big Cannabis want to grow cannabis here and export to other countries. I am not in favour of New Zealand being the producer of any product for an overseas market as we have seen the harm caused by fishing out our fish stocks and dairy farming trashing our land and war ways.

The costing of the big start-up Companies are completely out of touch with the falling prices of cannabis globally, plus as cheap as cannabis is to grow, the cost of shipping couldn’t be more expensive. I doubt the “BIG GUYS” will get off the ground until they price for a more realistic model.

Bob, has visited Colorado once he states, well, I have been visiting Colorado since the 1980s and can state that the sky did not fall in. A short history lesson,  Mason Tvert successfully campaigned in Colorado for cannabis legalisation because it is less harm to public health than alcohol and won .

To use the word dope suggests Bob hasn’t really understood what cannabis is and how it is used. Yes, there are some very strong strains of cannabis available but that is like a comparison between beer, wine and spirits. Yes, some cannabis products are very strong, but their purpose is for medical use and to use a tiny amount. RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) or FECO is full extract Cannabis oil, and it is a product used as a concentrate to treat cancer. Bob omits the fact that cannabis has been used as a medicine for 4,000 years and is mentioned in Greek texts, Indian and Chinese medicine without a single death.

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Some of the big fat lies Bob Tells are the uptake in youth, In fact where cannabis is legal in US states youth use is low.  In the Netherlands where cannabis use has been de facto legal, since the 1970s, youth use is half or less than it is here in New Zealand. The largest group pf people using cannabis are people Bobs’ age and older. People who have spent a life using other pain medication are flocking to their dispensaries and doctors to obtain cannabis pain relief. It works and unlike Opiate use, doesn’t cause constipation, and is not addictive. There is a drug crisis in America and it is doctor prescribed opioid epidemic.

I also challenge Bob about his false ideas about cannabis and suicide. I think the fear of the law, court process and prosecution contribute more to our suicide toll than use of cannabis. I have had years of experience working with youth and know that the establishment of our Youth Courts and Drug Courts are making a big difference to these offenders.

Bob is not a counsellor or even a mental health professional.  He cherry picks statistics to suit himself but is clearly ignorant of seeing a clear picture. It is refreshing to see that the only opposition to Cannabis legalisation is a sad old man who is dishonest and deluded.  


Jeanette  Saxby

Cannabis Clinician

Dip T, B.Ed, Drug and alcohol Counselling, Post Grad D Heal Sci.



  1. Bob McCoskrie also referred to the Christchurch ‘Health and Development’ Study (CHDS) that supposedly showed an ‘association’ between cannabis use and ‘adolescent psychosis’. Of course it is THC as the psychoactive agent that bothers them most. NZ officials in MOH and the DHBs all rely on this study to argue for strong regulation to avoid ‘harm’.

    But the CHDS study could only find a weak correlation (not being able to effectively control for all other causes) at the time and has been criticised for failing to show any ‘causal link’ between cannabis use and psychosis. Its biggest problem was that it could not exclude prohibition as the real cause of the harm it conveniently blamed on cannabis.

    When ‘controls’ began to appear (with legalisation in other countries) David Fergusson, the leader of the study, was quoted in an article to ‘balance’ what is mainly an interview with Jeanette, stating that legalisation in Colorado “shows that as you would expect, legalising cannabis use increases use and consequently increases harm.”
    (Sunday Star Times, 31/1/18 ‘The Cannabis Question’)

    Yet Colorado shows no overall increased harm. Early results show no significant change or less harm is the trend under medical cannabis and after full legalisation. Increased use (no significant change for youth) was associated with no increase in work or road accidents, more jobs, especially for blacks, less consumption of alcohol, and no increase in youth health or educational problems. All of this suggests that cannabis use was not the cause of ‘harm’ but rather other existing social conditions compounded by prohibition (racism, arrests, unemployment etc) that were either reduced or at least got no worse with legalisation.

    Fergusson also claimed that cannabis had only ‘modest benefits’. This is a nonsense since how can ‘benefits’ be measured under conditions of prohibition when research funding is lacking. Now that the data is beginning to come in from legalisation elsewhere, Cannabis is being rediscovered as an ancient herb with many benefits and no ‘harms’ that cannot be managed with legalisation. Benefits against seizures and pain (now legal in NZ) while the evidence is growing for cancer and many other diseases. The irony is that THC has been found to be the most active agent against cancer.

    High time for the minority using faulty science to slow down the momentum for cannabis reform to be pushed out of the way by a overwhelming majority vote for legalisation in the upcoming referendum.

  2. Bob and people of his ilk are generally the older white male who have no real understanding of the deeper issues but they believe that they are right and that people must accept what they say….or else!!!

    To repeat what Jeanette said (sorry Jeanette), Bob insults us all with his claim that cannabis is addictive and that the aim of the industry is to get us all addicted.

    Bob, you need to get down off your imaginary horse and instead of preaching absolute nonsense, which by the way none of us accept, provide a basis for your argument

  3. unfortunately we see this type of reaction all the time, repeating the propaganda of Prohibition as fact.
    Fortuitously there is a load of factual information available now to fight this blatant attempt bye big farma to buy just a bit more time to profit from our misery.
    Basically its now time to vote for the truth and against the lies, my concern is that this weak and easily manipulated government will cave to the demands of the few to profit over the many.
    Where we go one we go all

  4. “I think the fear of the law, court process and prosecution contribute more to our suicide toll than use of cannabis”
    – bang on! I’m not an expert of course but have long considered much of the paranoia and anguish associated with pot to be related to the pressure of the law and/or societal judgement. Also the related crime statistics.

  5. Bob from a charity about to lose charitable status because he isn’t doing anything charitable, all he is is a christian lobby group spouting misinformation, hope the Appeals Court tell him to bugger off too.
    The information he quotes from Colorado comes from a bunch of govt departments like the DEA who have vested interests in keeping cannabis illegal, I read somewhere that the statistics being collected aren’t using the same approach meaning the statistics aren’t accurate, and likely skewed to suit agendas.
    Had to laugh out loud when he says cannabis products are reaching 90% THC levels, in my lifetime as a cannabis activist have I seen anything actually approach 30%.

  6. Refreshing analyses from Dave & Jeanette. Why do we think the politicians prefer to remain ignorant? when it’s more than an argument, so many of us need cannabis for our health. Our government is not going to be praised for handing cannabis production & sale over to big business to make $$

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