Marijuana Media: Happy 420 to everyone, except the Police and Lawmakers


Kia ora! We celebrate all things cannabis with a special 420 Day edition this week on Marijuana Media on 95bFM, broadcast from The Hemp Store with hosts Jonny and Corey from bFM Drive and Chris Fowlie from The Hempstore.


[Stream the pot-cast of this show on 95bFM]

The Hemp Store celebrates 420 Day with bFM live-to-air

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To mark the occasion, we broadcast Marijuana Media live from the medicating zone outside The Hemp Store (listen using the player above). You may have heard of it, but what is 420? It’s not highway patrol code or the number of ingredients in cannabis. It’s not a reference to Bob Dylan or Adolf Hitler’s birthday. The origins of 420 are actually pretty boring: just a time for a group of dudes at San Rafael High School in California in the 1970s for meeting up after sports practice.

The real significance is 420 became a code word synonymous with sparking up. And as cannabis re-entered the mainstream, 4:20pm and 420 Day on April 20 have become associated with civil disobedience and showing your support for compassionate cannabis law reform.

Ten years ago, I was in Denver for the birth of legalisation. Colorado had just gone legal, and 420 Day kicked off a huge week of celebrations including the first Cannabis Cup held legally on US soil. Jack Tame came over and interviewed me on the scene. Since then, Colorado has sparked a decade of cannabis law reform.

NZ is first on the dateline, so we’re kicking things off, then 20 past every hour we ‘pass to the left’ as the next time zone hits 4:20. In Vancouver, Canada, they are attempting a Guinness World Record with a 65 pound, 40 foot, monster (at 11:20am Friday NZT if you want to join along!).

Cannabis activists in Nimbin, NSW, will be celebrating the election to the NSW Upper House of Jeremy Buckingham, the Legalise Cannabis Party leader and former Greens MP, which was confirmed this week. Labour is one vote short of a majority and will be reliant on votes from the crossbench to pass legislation.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported this week NSW Premier Chris Minns passionately argued for the legalisation of cannabis while Labor was in opposition, telling a gathering of party members in favour of drug law reform it was “time for Labor to have a big debate that includes a commitment to legalising this drug”.

NZ’s ex-PM Helen Clark urges decriminalisation of all drugs, starting with cannabis

Helen Clark, who pushed hard for the Yes vote during the cannabis referendum and is also the current chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), said cannabis should be regulated similar to tobacco that’s actually more dangerous. Clark said the global prohibitionist approach towards drugs for more than 60 years – since the United Nations’ Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 – has led to HIV and hepatitis C infections among people who inject drugs and excessive incarcerations of people who use drugs.

“Human beings have been using substances for whatever reason they’ve used them for thousands of years. We’re not dealing with new issues here, but we’re dealing with totally inappropriate and wrong ways of tackling them.” (See – Vice: Helen Clark Wants NZ to Decriminalise Drugs)

‘Massive’ Otago drugs raid a predictable outcome of prohibition policies

Police displayed their lack of awareness of the consequences of their actions in breathless reports this week of a ‘significant’ bust (See – Stuff, RNZ, NZ Herald). The alleged drug syndicate in Central Otago is accused of producing commercial-scale amounts of cannabis in south Westland and bringing meth into Cromwell. The Armed Offenders Squad and drone operators from the Specialist Search Group added to hundreds of hours spent by officers from Christchurch, Dunedin and the West Coast.

Police said the large-scale production and sale of cannabis generates large income for organised criminals and enables those involved to accumulate significant wealth and assets. Detective Inspector Shona Low said gangs and organised crime groups would use the profits from cannabis sales to fund the purchase and sale of more harmful drugs.

Well, no shit – NORML has been predicting this for decades!

Medical cannabis industry delays affecting patients

The head of a major local cannabis clinic says patients are missing out on better care because of the poor performance of New Zealand’s medical cannabis sector.

CannaPlus chief executive Mitch Cuevas said they were limited in the formats of cannabis-based medicine they could offer, being either whole cannabis flower (which now makes up 70-80% of sales) and oil drops. No other formats have yet been approved. All the oils are coconut-based. Patients requiring topicals or suppositories, for example, would need to make their own.

Newsroom revealed around 25,000 patients have received prescriptions so far – out of an estimated 250,000 people using cannabis therapeutically.

They also revealed NZX-listed CannaSouth is burning $600,000 per month (losses by Helius are thought to be even higher). CannaSouth shareholders this week approved a merger/buy out of BOP-based Equalis (See – Newsroom: Patients bear brunt of budding cannabis industry struggle).

New Therapeutics Bill may affect medicinal cannabis

The Herald’s Audrey Young covered the new Therapeutics Bill – what it does and why it matters – but may have given readers a bum steer on medicinal cannabis. Young said “The bill does not impact the current regulation of medicinal cannabis or drugs controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975”. But it could, indirectly, have major effects including:

1) Manufacture and supply of medicines including medicinal cannabis is regulated through licenses issued under the Medicines Act (and this new Bill),

2) Doctors ability to prescribe ‘unapproved products’ including medicinal cannabis products;

3) Doctor’s ability to import products for specified patients which are unavailable in NZ;

4) The effect on Rongoa Maori is unknown at this stage, but it seems likely it will be captured;

5) Vaporisers may become “medical devices”, restricting their availability.

The Bill is currently before the Health Select Committee, with an expected report date of June 14. Here’s hoping the promised updates to the Medicinal Cannabis regulations sort this out.


Cannabis grower faces deportation after failed appeal, reports NewstalkZB. The Vietnamese national and mother of two New Zealand-born children did not realise pleading guilty would mean she faced double jeopardy: doing the time and then punished again. Police said the potential crop value was between $21,000 and $69,000.

Also on NewstalkZB, US Basketball star Britney Griner is working on an autobiography covering her experience being detained in Russia on bullshit charges relating to medicinal cannabis vape cartridges prescribed in the US.

And just in, sad news with the passing of medical cannabis pioneer Dr Robert Melamede today.

Coming up: J Day

The 31st Annual celebration of cannabis culture and protest for law reform, J Day, is on Saturday 6 May in Albert Park, running from High Noon to 4:20. Come along and show your support, meet people and learn something new. It’s R18, and booze- and tobacco-free. Thanks to NORML and The Hemp Store. Spot you there!


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. Chris…keep up the great work, perhaps within 20 years (I hope less) NZ will legalise Cannabis for personal usey.

    • Some activists had been working on this for the prior 20 years.
      The initial voting in of Labour was our pinnacle moment to get redress but instead politicians handed the industry to corporations, over regulated it and allowed right wing religion to spread misinformation which ruined the referendum.
      There is little point in trying to get correction when the political sphere is full of corruption.
      And they call us criminals!

  2. The Therapeutics Bill is a very sneaky way to control and up the price of medicinal cannabis.
    It shows there must be some real zealot fervent anti weed politicians and health advisors operating in Govt.
    So corrupt.

    • @ Katy Pai
      While we endure neo-liberalism we can’t assume we have a gubbimint. Jonky’s ‘gubbimint’ changed laws to regard vegetable seeds as a ‘controlled substance’ remember. Furthermore, those same law changes meant humble farmers markets came under new and similar regulations and we all know what regulations do. They enable control.
      Pot isn’t about Pot. Pot, or rather the continuing absurd criminalisation of pot is about control and offers up a chance for those who are paid to control us to show they can at the behest of our masters.
      Here’s Russell Brands latest report on that subject. Seriously, is blood good.
      On YouTube and Rumble
      “As Jon Stewart presses Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Pentagon fraud, the real criminal is of course a 21-year-old for uncovering the government has been misrepresenting how the war in Ukraine is going. ”
      We Kiwis aren’t in the steerage and control of our Aotearoa/ New Zealand, that’s pretty fucking obvious. They, are. Big Foreign Money owns the very arses we sit on. Imagine if we sat around of an afternoon and suddenly came to realise that then acted accordingly?
      Now watch this also if you’re in a mind to.
      Mass Psychosis.
      Ironic, or what?

      • “Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

    • Funny eh, medical system is completely run down, nobody can get corrective surgery because of never ending waiting lists but there we have the pharma industry trying to create restrictions on medicines.
      It feels like they want these waiting lists so we are then forced to carry on taking their nasty pills.
      Lately I have been seeing never ending medical insurance ads on TV and it makes me wonder if this whole situation is being manufactured on purpose.

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