Marijuana Media: Praised delay to driver drug testing, Referendum would pass if held now, and Efeso ‘Nope’ Collins to run for The Greens


Kia ora! Driver drug testing delay praised by experts, One News listens to the show, reforms in the USA, Noper runs for The Greens – all this plus hemp smoothies on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, with your hosts Jonny from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore.


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Experts praise delay to driver drug-testing

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As predicted last week on the show, random testing of the saliva of Kiwi drivers will not be going ahead. As predicted by NORML and others, there is simply no device that can do what is needed and detect impairment.

Now, I’m not saying that One News listens to Marijuana Media and took the lead from our report, but ONE NEWS OBVIOUSLY LISTENS TO MARIJUANA MEDIA.

Because shortly after we discussed this on the show last Thursday afternoon, One News put the question to Associate Transport Minister Kiri Allen that evening, who confirmed our prediction that the new regime would not be going ahead (Roadside drug testing postponed because saliva kits ‘don’t exist’).

In subsequent reporting One News said the move was praised by drug safety experts, who appreciate that the Government is taking time to revisit the policy to align with the accuracy standards they hoped for.

“The best thing to do now is for New Zealand to become a world leader in this space,” said Sarah Helm of the NZ Drug Foundation. “If New Zealand were to develop an impairment test that was suitable at a roadside, say on an app or something, it would be world-leading. It would also have really useful purposes in places like workplaces, where they are calling for better science.”

This is not in any way advocating driving while impaired. But any enforcement must be accurate, objective and fair. We are often told a statistic that around 100 people are killed each year on NZ roads where the driver is found with drugs in their system, which we are also told makes it as big a problem as alcohol.

But this comes from ESR which counts any trace of illicit drugs but only counts alcohol if it is over the legal drink driving limit. Cannabis metabolites are stored in the body and can stick around long after any impairing effect has worn off, so detecting it does not mean the driver was impaired.

Oral swab devices used in Australia are inaccurate 20 per cent of the time. That means 1 in 5 innocent drivers are wrongly called impaired, while 1 in 5 impaired drivers go undetected.

NORML has for many years criticised current approaches to measuring impairment and called for a technology-based solutions using apps such as DRUIDin our submissions on road safety. NORML has also developed Principles for the Responsible Use of Cannabis which includes no driving while impaired.

Interestingly, the delay comes as a new analysis finds cannabis legalisation is associated with a decrease in alcohol-related fatalities involving pedestrians. Authors suggested that these results may be due to consumers substituting cannabis for alcohol. “Specifically, the induced decline in alcohol related fatalities following liberalization is large enough to more than compensate for any additional fatalities due to marijuana consumption.”

High praises for New York’s cannabis legalisation model; ‘different outcome’ if referendum held now

New Zealand’s cannabis referendum in 2020 narrowly failed, but the NZ Drug Foundation says it would pass now, and has cited New York’s social equity model as an example for us to follow.

Cannabis is now legal in New York, and the first licences for stores have been given to people most impacted by the former War on Drugs. While our law prohibits those with convictions from becoming a licence holder, New York has done the opposite. It is righting the wrongs from a drug war that wreaked havoc across struggling black communities – especially in New York. Now, 40 percent of the tax from licensed stores to be reinvested into communities those harsh laws targeted.

This week Newshub asked NZ Drug Foundation’s Sarah Helm if New York’s model could provide a template for NZ to do something similar. Helm said there are “certainly some elements from New York’s model that I would think is pretty on the money in terms of international best practice”.

The Drug Foundation also believes times have already changed – and the referendum would pass if it were held now. “A number of those people who voted no would have voted yes for decriminalisation and some of those people who voted no now regret it. So I think we would have a different outcome,” Helm said. [watch video]

UPDATE: a new nationwide poll released Friday found shows majority want cannabis laws relaxed

Oklahoma does not become the 22nd US state to make cannabis legal

Oklahoma has embraced medicinal cannabis with around 400 dispensaries in Oklahoma City alone, but voters this week rejected a citizens’ initiated measure (State Question 820) that would have legalised the adult-use marijuana market, allowed home growing, expunged records, and raised over US$100 million in new tax revenue per year. It’s thought that “Tokelahoma” is so swamped with both legal and illegal cannabis that voters had simply drawn a line on more expansion. The ballot lost 38.3% to 61.7%, although Oklahoma City was evenly split at 50:50. Backers said “this is not the end of the effort to end prohibition in the state of Oklahoma. This is halftime.”

Weed makes Portland the most hipster of US cities

The NZ Herald continues to make travel recommendations based on cannabis availability. This week they advised you’ll find yourself drawn to Portland, the most hipster of US cities, if you love “certain recreational herbs” (cannabis is legal in Oregon). We like this new focus of the Herald.

Efeso “Vote Nope” Collins to run for The Greens

The Greens have long been associated with backing cannabis legalisation. They made Labour hold the referendum in 2020, with Julie Anne Genter leading that effort. But Efeso Collins, who had battled Auckland University NORML when he chaired the Student’s Association in the mid-1990s and who then campaigned for Say Nope to Dope, is now The Greens’ candidate in Panmure-Ōtāhuhu.

But can Efeso Collins take out Jenny Salesa? Shaneel Lal points out in the NZ Herald the Labour incumbent holds a commanding lead with 22,818 votes last election compared to only 1366 for the previous Green candidate. Lal notes Collins may be less conservative when it comes to weed. Both opposed the legalisation of cannabis, but Salesa also voted against making medical cannabis legal, including for New Zealanders suffering from a terminal illness or any debilitating condition. Like, WTF? Following the cannabis referendum loss, Collins also said he would support decriminalisation to stop the imprisonment of young people. A bit late, but still. Here’s hoping his candidacy is confirmation Collins’ “journey” is complete to now fully supporting the Greens policy on drug law reform.

Heavenly Hemp smoothies

Finally, Stuff’s food section featured hemp smoothie recipes this week. Yum! Of course, you can add hemp seeds to pretty much any recipe to boost the nutritional benefits like higher protein, EFAs and Omega oils. A tablespoon is a good amount to add to any smoothie or meal. We gave away half a kilo of hemp seeds to a lucky listener – that’s lots of smoothies! Get yours here.

Marijuana Media airs every Thursday at 4:20pm on 95bFM, with your hosts bFM Drive’s Jonny and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore. Stream or download the pot-cast for this show here or hundreds of previous Marijuana Media shows at (or via iTunes / RSS feed).




  1. It crosses my mind that we have too many purists bringing in draconian laws in NZ and then making a fetish of keeping pure which results in such a lot of our law-breaking problems. Some leeway would reduce criminality straight away. Let people be a bit naughty but over a certain limit have to make reparation somehow, why not try it? Present laws concentrating on the minor, distract from major needs in the country to enable an honest, non-violent, working community with a positive attitude and a bit of happiness every day.

  2. ” There’s no such thing as dangerous drugs, just dangerous drug users.” Tom Waites.
    The neoliberal greed machine AKA the gubbimint and the side show freaks in opposition have literally zero care for our well being. Otherwise, they’d spend time healing health, fixing education, banning the banksters, housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, going up the billionaires and caring for at-risk kids and their parents. I mean, it’s really that simple isn’t it?
    So why does the gubbimint want new powers to stop and tinker with us, our breath, our spit and our blood? I think it’s a psychological mechanism to make sure that we know and fear the cops, ( OUR cops by the way, they’re not neoliberal’s cops ) and can, and will, chase you down and fuck you up. I bet you, the next thing will be they’ll be armed. Oh, wait. Stoned drivers are much less dangerous than stupid sober drivers and as far as I know there’re no laws against driving while stupid but God only knows, there should be.
    Here are useful things cops can police on the roads instead of Pot smokers. Tail gating. Blind-corner over takers, morons who build Tweedle Snakes out of other morons. ( The tweedle snake: A slow moving, tail gating snaking line of traffic behind a lead moron who’s too stupid or arrogant or terrified or a tourist or all of the above to pull over down a side road for a spliff and a cup of tea and let the automatons who have no idea what an accelerator is to slither off to their beige little homes to live their beige little compliant little lives. You know the ones? The tut-tutters, the fresh socks daily types, the compulsive table wipers, the fat cat polishers, the curtain twitchers, the compulsive letter box checkers, the haemorrhoid cream hoarders, the white bread sandwich sniffers, the glued to the TV-ites, the Sunday morning lawn mowers… I could go on. The cops should instead pull those fuckers over and if they’re not stoned they get a ticket to comply within a week of issue and if you can’t get Pot then proper *Ecstasy will suffice
    Imagine that? What a wonderful, safe, funny, joyous world it’d be to live in.
    * Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
    NB. I wonder what the car crash ratio to car owner population is in Postugal..? Compare that to Nu Zillind.
    Portugal stats
    Nu Zillind
    Ah Ha! So the multi billionaires who’re really the ones who call the shots here can see money wasted that’d be better banked into their accounts. It all makes sense now.
    “These car accidents cost the economy approximately $474 billion in 2020…”

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