Kia ora! A nationwide poll overwhelmingly backs legalisation, poo-sniffing scientists reveal the nation’s drug capitals (except weed), police confirm they won’t be testing your saliva, and it’s cannabis award season, this week on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, with your hosts Jonny from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore.
Nationwide poll shows majority want cannabis laws relaxed
The Northland Age reported a new poll showing a whopping 93.2 per cent of votes in favour of relaxing cannabis laws in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than 2000 people took part in the poll run by Far North cannabis startup Te Hiku Cannabis. Of those who wanted the law changed, 64.2 per cent voting for legalisation, 35.3 per cent for decriminalisation and the remaining 0.5 per cent said they were unsure.
Respondents were also asked if cannabis was made legal should convictions be wiped for minor cannabis offences. 89.9 per cent voted yes, with around 7 per cent voting no and the remaining ‘unsure’. This poll was self-selected and not weighted for demographics. It comes as the INCB, a UN body, says legalsing cannabis fails to address health risks. But they would say that. They also called for easier access to opioids and fentanyl, so go figure.
Poo-sniffing reveals NZ’s drug capitals – but can’t detect cannabis
The Northern Advocate covered the latest drug tests at NZ’s sewage plants, which showed large regional differences that may be due to socioeconomic factors – and are somewhat stereotypical.
The high-tech poo-sniffing confirmed Northland has surpassed Tairāwhiti as the area with the highest rate of using meth, at 909 milligrams per day per 1000 people, whereas in Queenstown MDMA makes up 71% of hard drugs detected, and Auckland is tops for cocaine.
The figures from ESR are for the 3rd quarter of last year. Their testing of wastewater picks up water soluble drugs, which are typically pissed out within a day or two of taking them. Wastewater testing does not pick up cannabis which is fat soluble, and stays in the body for days or weeks after ingestion. Which brings us to the next story.
Police confirm no accurate device exists for testing saliva of drivers
As we covered in the last two shows, random testing of the saliva of Kiwi drivers will not be going ahead. Police this week confirmed what we have said all along: there is no spit testing device that can accurately detect impairment.
The new Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Act specifies the Minister of Police must have regard to the accuracy of the device and may only approve a device that will “return a positive result only if the device detects the presence of a qualifying drug at a level that indicates recent use of a specified qualifying drug.
According to Assistant Commissioner Bruce O’Brien this week, police undertook a procurement process to identify a suitable Oral Fluid Testing device to carry out random roadside drug driving testing, but “After rigorous testing, it was found that there was no device available to meet the criteria and intent of the legislation.”
But on Newshub police warned the new law comes with tougher penalties. Drivers who fail the field impairment test will be required to give an evidential blood test. This is the same as it was. But now 25 drugs are listed with a lower “tolerance” threshold earning a fine, and potential criminal prosecution for testing above a “high-risk” level. For THC these have been set at 1ng and 3ng. As a comparison, Colorado uses 5ng.
Police are still trotting out the line there were 93 people killed in crashes in 2021 where a driver was found to have the presence of drugs – “nearly a third of all fatalities that year” – but this is counting any trace of drugs, not just drivers impaired by them. Traces of cannabis can linger for several weeks after last using it. Regular heavy users including medicinal patients can have elevated levels even when not consuming (although patients will have a defence if they used it in accordance with their doctor’s instructions). Police only count alcohol if drivers were above the drink-driving limit. Police should only be citing crashes caused by drivers who tested above the “high-risk” level, which would be somewhat equivalent to the drink-driving limit.
News roll up
Snoop Dogg concert reviewer says crowd smoked too much weed; but surely that’s the point? Snoop held the concert outdoors in West Auckland, after all!
Prince Harry says marijuana helped him cope with his mental trauma. Mental health is one of the top reasons for being prescribed cannabis in New Zealand. Any doctor can prescribe cannabis products, including flower, to any patient for any reason. The Hempstore has an online guide to accessing medicinal cannabis or we can answer your questions instore.
The Chemist Warehouse backs medicinal cannabis venture in Australia – which might be good news for patients there, but no word yet on any plans for NZ. The Herald’s Markets with Madison asked: Are cannabis companies cutting it? The few still operating here are suffering eye watering losses and experiencing long delays in achieving any revenue beyond hype in press releases. But there is hope. The medicinal cannabis regulations, the toughest in the world, will be amended this year. If we get the changes Medsafe has proposed, it will open viable paths for exporters, allow a much more diverse and affordable range of imported products, and local producers might be able to grow cannabis and provide it to people here. We live in hope!
Speaking of hope, trans-Tasman website Cannabiz has launched a new awards program for Australia-New Zealand medicinal cannabis industry. I’m sure there are many worth contenders. But perhaps patients and investors could give awards for Most Ridiculous Claims, Biggest Loss Made, or Worst Plants Grown? We live in hope.
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 95bFM.com (or via iTunes / RSS feed).