Marijuana Media: Neither Chris will decriminalise cannabis (unless we force them to)


Who out of Hipkins or Luxon makes the biggest Chris dingus? Both said no to decriminalisation – but this week’s Marijuana Media show has two other Chris’ for cannabis: Fowlie from NORML discussing Coker from the Cannabis Party (pictured), with Jonny and Corey from 95bFM Drive – thanks to The Hempstore!


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Both Chris’ say they won’t decriminalise cannabis

On the TVNZ leaders debate this week, in a battle of the bland the two Chris’ who lead Labour and National both said they would not decriminalise cannabis in response to “quick fire” questions by host Jessica Mutch-Mackay.

Stuff ranked it Number One in a list of “A few surprising things from the first leaders debate”.

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  1. Neither Chris thinks weed should be decriminalised

Both Hipkins and Luxon gave a quick “no” when asked if cannabis should be decriminalised.

Politically, it’s somewhat surprising that both major parties have come to a consensus on an issue which the country is pretty much 50/50 on.

At the 2020 election, 48.4% of people voted in support of legalising cannabis. The referendum failed, with a very slim majority of 50.7% opposing the suggestion.

Decriminalisation is generally seen as a step below legalisation. Legalised cannabis would allow its sale and commercialisation, whereas decriminalisation would just remove the ability for police to charge someone with possession of cannabis.

After the debate, Hipkins told reporters he voted in favour of legalisation in 2020.

Newsroom’s political editor Jo Moir also listed it first among their litany of same as the other guy responses (“First leaders’ debate light on new insights”).

Their acquiescence to the status quo was also noted by Newshub (“Where Hipkins, Luxon stand on popular issues”) and the NZ Herald (“Who won the TVNZ leaders’ debate as Chris Hipkins, Christopher Luxon clash”).

After the debate, Hipkins pointed out he voted Yes in the referendum. Unlike Adern and the Nats, he actually encouraged people to vote Yes. So that makes Hipkins the lesser of the Chris Dinguses.

But WTF was Hipkins doing, making up a “do nothing” policy? It means more gangs intimidating towns like Coromandel last weekend. It means more prohibition violence, discriminatory enforcement and lagging embarrassingly behind other countries.

In Thursday’s Herald, Hipkins said prisons weren’t for people with a drug use offense – yet figures for 2022 showed 182 people were imprisoned for cannabis possession as their highest charge, which was down from 302 in 2019, and two people were imprisoned where it was their only charge.

The only way to fix this is to decriminalise (at the least).

The Auckland Central debate held at Whammy Bar had most candidates backing law reform. Simon Wilson covered it in the Herald (“The Whammy debate for Auckland Central”), noting the resplendent cannabis-leaf suit of Legalise Cannabis Party candidate Chris Coker.

Question of the night was: “Is Chris Coker high right now?” This gets them all talking about drug reform – even conservative Ted Johnston says he would decriminalise minor use of marijuana. All except National candidate Muralidhar. “Can we move on?” he asks. “These are not the big issues.”

Fortunately, potential coalition partners Greens, Te Pati Maori and even ACT have better policies and could force their partner to do it (see NORML’s Toke The Vote Guide)

So – show your support at our next Cannabis Rally! Gather at Western Park on Ponsonby Road in Auckland Central to wave signs for cannabis law reform. It’s easy and fun!

Photos: Graham Hooper

Half the country voted Yes but law reform won’t just be handed to us on a plate without having to work for it. High noon, Saturday 23rd September.

Drug testing company warning about medicinal cannabis

For-profit testing company NZ Drug Detection Agency has issued a warning to business that they are seeing increased detection rates of cannabis in workplace drug screenings due to the “proliferation of medicinal cannabis and easier access to the substance”.

According to a report on Newsroom (“Workplace drug testing quagmire deepens”) DDA’s chief technical officer Rod Dale told a seminar this week that unlike some other impairing prescription drugs, THC can show up in a patient’s system for weeks after use.

Their tests couldn’t pinpoint when the products had been used and even if an employee had a prescription, the test would, for health and safety purposes, be considered a fail.

What this really shows is urine testing is not fit for the purpose of detecting impairment. The No.1 reason for medicinal cannabis prescriptions is not daytime use but to get a better night’s sleep – so people can go to work the next day and be good taxpayers.

Employers may want to consider if they are meeting their legal obligations for both safety and privacy by demanding to test their employee’s bodily fluids for inactive drug metabolites that do not indicate current use or impairment.

Northland stray dogs retrained as drug-sniffers

The NZ Herald reported this week that Northland’s unwanted dogs could become “drug sniffing superstars”.

The Northland SPCA has been targeted by NZ Detector Dogs, which trains dogs to sniff out drugs for police, Customs and the Department of Corrections among others, after their best previous detector dogs were found in the region.

When asked, they denied this was because Northland is known as the cannabis capital of the country – but they failed to provide any other plausible reason. Suspicious.

Mike Tyson opens cannabis shop in Amsterdam

1News reported last weekend the boxing legend met with fans (at $170 a pop) as he opened the doors to his Mike Tyson Coffee Shop 2.0 in the Dutch capital this week.

According to the report, his Tyson Holistic label earns an estimated $1m a month, but Tyson has admitted smoking up to $84,000 a month of his own supply.

Tyson added about how he believes cannabis oil products can help beat other addictions: “I’ve been fighting for over 20 years, and my body has a lot of wear and tear. I had two surgeries and I used marijuana to calm my nerves, and it would take the pain away… but before, they had me on those opiates, and those opiates had me all screwed up.”

Survey: athletes use cannabis products to promote exercise recovery

Tyson’s opening comes as new data published in the Journal of Cannabis Research found those who engage in regular exercise frequently report consuming cannabis products to assist in recovering from physical activity. NORML noted:

Another study published in the same journal earlier this year reported that the twice-daily use of topical CBD alleviates chronic pain in former elite-level (professional) athletes.

Several other studies have found that cannabis use is associated with increased exercise frequency, including among older adults. Yet another study, published in July, found that subjects reported “a more positive exercise experience” when they ran immediately after having used cannabis compared to when they did not.

Thailand’s new PM does not agree with recreational use of cannabis

Last year, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise cannabis. However Reuters reports Thailand’s new Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, who heads an 11-party coalition government, has said “Cannabis policy will be medical cannabis. On recreational use, I do not agree with that.”

According to the report, Thailand’s cannabis industry is projected to be worth up to $1.2 billion, with thousands of businesses springing up in tourist hot spots. They’ll likely rebrand as wellness retreats and carry on.

French Polynesia to legalise cannabis imports, then local growing

Ending on some good news, RNZ Pacific News reported this is part of a longer-term plan to develop local production, including the cultivation of hemp – joining Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Fiji and Hawaii as Pacific nations with legal/medical access.

The plan, to be implemented gradually, was announced by French Polynesia’s pro-independence President Moetai Brotherson in a speech marking the first 100 days of his government.

Brotherson said the first step in the coming weeks will be to legalise the import of cannabis and related substances, first for therapeutic purposes and later possibly for recreational use.

Coming up:

  • Cannabis Roadside Rallyin Auckland: High Noon Sat 23 September, Ponsonby Road at Western Park; and Sat 7 October at Grey Lynn shops. Details on facebook or norml.
  • Substance Testing at The Hempstore First Thursday of every month thanks to the NZ Drug Foundation. Our next hosted clinic is Thurs 5 October, or find one here.
  • CannaPosium7-8 October at the Surrey Hotel, Grey Lynn, Auckland. Tickets here.
  • Auckland J DaySaturday 2nd December in Albert Park (postponed from May – details 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). Thanks to The Hemp Store!



    • Cannabis is a medicinal herb similar to tea, peppermint and chamomile. Drugs are synthetic products made by big pharma, or in the case of prohibition, organized crime. In any event, both medicinal herbs and synthetic drugs are used by almost all humans in one form or another. Neither medicinal herbs nor synthetic drugs have any bearing on whether someone is a winner or loser. The medicinal herb cannabis is used by humans from all walks of life, from CEOs and celebrities to gang members and politicians.

  1. Catch the public’s interest. Make the message – When cannabis gets decriminalised, I’ll cut off my beard.

  2. At this point the point has been won long ago. It will be a silent fart in the night from either party, decriminalizing grass.

  3. Quite amusing, here in marijuana central, Gisborne, my dear 90 year-old, always jolly, cancer-condemned customer just broke his rib and mentioned they gave him codeine for pain relief. I thought that was A1. He corrected me, he wanted morphine or grass. Has to sleep upright.

    If a 90-year-old knows it , quite silly the major parties don’t. An indictment of their brittleness. Inherent wrong-headed conservatism.

  4. The foul Rightery in the comments section of TDB isn’t encouraging. Quite prepared to read Bowalley Rd comments all the way through. Here I just look out for the lateral high-floating reveries of Countryboy. Some good stuff amid the nitwits here. I have no regard for my linear abilities, the best of me comes from the back of my ‘heid’.

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