Cannabis law reform is still an election issue – this week on Marijuana Media with Chris Fowlie from NORML, and Jonny and Corey from bFM Drive – thanks to The Hempstore!
During the Newshub leader’s debate, Labour leader Chris Hipkins said he was open to a drug law review, but Luxon labelled teens who take drugs ‘criminals’.
The debate, hosted by Paddy Gower, was the best debate so far – and Hipkins easily won it. And like every election since 1996, cannabis was again an issue.
The first ‘Quick Fire’ question from Paddy was “Which is more harmful, alcohol or cannabis?” Both said alcohol – no doubt.
Gower then reminded Hipkins he had voted Yes but since then had “done nothing” for decriminalisation, and people were still being locked up.
Hipkins replied that he recognised the decision of the New Zealand public, who were given that choice and did not vote for it.
But Gower pointed out that was legalisation, not decriminalisation.
Hipkins then said he wouldn’t rule out further changes in the future (after saying “no” at the 1News debate) but said he would like issues of drugs and decriminalisation to be approached on a “bipartisan basis”.
Luxon rejected a bipartisan approach to decriminalisation, saying he was “happy with the current settings”. At least than means, if we can believe it, the Nats won’t go backwards.
Can we believe it? Luxon seemed confused what the current settings actually are. Earlier on the Newshub debate, Gower had posed the scenario of teens caught with ecstasy at a festival – are they criminals?
Luxon says the current settings are right. Gower again asks are they criminals? Luxon says no but won’t commit to changing crimes act. Gower asks why if they’re not criminals? Luxon backtracks and says yes actually they are criminals. There are boos from the crowd at that.
Hipkins says they are technically criminals under the law and he’s always opening to reviewing the laws. Says it needs to be treated like a health issue.
Gower asks whether either have done MDMA. Both Luxon and Hipkins says no.
Yet Luxon wanted to give Hipkins a hug. Hipkins pointed out National opposed pill testing legislation and now talking boot camps and tough on crime.
Watch the full debate on Youtube, with drugs at 0:15, 1:16 and 1:29
The race for Auckland Central: Parliament’s face of cannabis law reform, Chlӧe Swarbrick, is fighting to retain the seat. A Taxpayer’s Union poll released at their candidate’s debate held at Roxy on Tuesday found the Green Party incumbent on 26% support, with National’s Mahesh Muralidhar on 24%, and Labour’s Oscar Sims on 12%.
However, 29% were still undecided in the poll of 500 voters (See: NZ Herald: head to head in Auckland Central debate)
Moderated by the hosts of The Working Group podcast, Martyn Bradbury and Damien Grant, the debate was told the poll found Auckland Central’s most pressing issue is the old “law and order”. As a central city store owner, I’d agree.
National’s Muralidhar has dropped by our store on K Road three times to ask about our concerns (vs. no visits from Chlӧe). But we told the National candidate it’s been nice having cops not focussed on busting canna-consumers.
We could free up another 100 officers if we decriminalised cannabis – and according to BERL, cannabis legalisation would generate $1 billion in tax revenue and 3000 legit jobs.
TOP’s new drugs policy is to “Legalise, regulate and tax the sale and supply of cannabis, by incorporating it into the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012, and remove cannabis from the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.”
Elegant in it’s simplicity, this would make cannabis subject to all the same provisions as alcohol, such as licensed producers and providers, and home growing treated like home brewing.
Abe Grey, TOP candidate for North Shore, told me they would also adopt the recommendations of the Law Commission’s inquiry into liquor laws. That included measures to curb access and basically do the stuff Chloe Swarbrick was attempting with her private member’s bill (and more).
TOP also supports “further research into psychoactive drugs and mental health treatment.”
ACT’s drug policy is seemingly to support the domestic meth industry by legalising pseudoephedrine so that local cooks can once again compete with transnational smugglers (See: BREAKING BAD ACT wants domestic meth production to soar – their most controversial policy to date!). ACT also has a new welfare policy which takes a harder line on beneficiaries with addiction issues.
Cannabis Party asks nicely: The Herald has run an advertorial prepared with the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (See: Quest to make cannabis lawful goes on), quoting party co-leaders Michael Appleby and Maki Herbert.
The Cannabis Party is also running the politest of all the political ads, simply asking “Please give your party vote to ALCP”.
This week’s updated #TokeTheVote cannabis-based voting guide: Hipkins’ latest captain’s call has Labour blooming to 3.5 leaves; Te Pati Māori tipping 4.5 and TOP shoots to 5-leaves (alongside the Greens and the Legalise Cannabis Party). National, Act and NZ First all on 1 – with boos from the audience.
In the Rotorua Daily Post the local police commander, Inspector Herby Ngawhika, said his staff told him meth “is easier to get than green” (See P easier to get than cannabis in Rotorua, says police commander).
Following a recent series of busts of large cannabis farms with Vietnamese “crop sitters”, the Herald this week had an interview with an “insider who has been involved in an investigation into illegal cannabis cultivation”.
They said New Zealand’s Accredited Employer Work Visa (AEWV) scheme made this country an attractive target for drug syndicates (See: Lack of checks and soft laws makes NZ an attractive base for Viet drug syndicates, insider says).
We also punish growers by “just seven years’ jail”, but in Vietnam “they face death”. The migrants are duped into large debts on the promise of good jobs here but are then forced to become crop sitters or mules taking the cannabis offshore.
This week Stuff promoted the services of a new clinic which has opened in Richmond, Nelson. (See: Medicinal cannabis clinic sees increasing demand for pain and stress issues). The Cannabis Clinic lead doctor William Parkyn told Stuff they have been fully booked so far and there is a waitlist to see one of the three doctors on site. Parkyn said that in the year he had been with the company there had been an increase in patients from 20,000 to 30,000.
The Waikato Herald reported a South Waikato medicinal cannabis company reached another “high point”. Cannasouth, which recently merged with Tauranga-based Equalis, has become the first to export a cannabis Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient to Australia, three and a half years after our scheme took effect (See South Waikato’s Cannasouth exports first shipment of cannabis API to Australia).
However, RNZ reports that Rua Biosciences in Tairāwhiti has pivoted from supplying NZ patients to exporting their strains for offshore cultivation, due to what lead cultivator Porou Tawhiwhirangi said was “illogical legislation” (See: East Coast medicinal cannabis company exports strains around the world).
Changes coming to the medical cannabis scheme should (hopefully) help level the playing field (See: Changes will shake up New Zealand’s medicinal cannabis sector).
The Guardian reports the UK’s official drugs advisors recommended decriminalising possession back in 2016, but this was not only ignored by the Home Office, but it also then fought a three-year battle to keep the advice secret.
The report by the former chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs to the then home secretary is the only ACMD report not to have been published (See: UK drug advisers recommended decriminalising possession in 2016, leak reveals).
It said there was “little consistent international evidence that the criminalisation for possession of drugs for personal use is effective in reducing drug use”, that the UK was not required to criminalise drug use under its treaty obligations, and that criminalisation harmed people’s educational and employment prospects.
The Guardian quoted Helen Clark, the former prime minister of New Zealand and chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, saying: “It would be commendable if the UK government were now to accept and act on this advice.”
Earlier this year the Scottish government wanted to legalise drugs, but this was denied by London and instead the UK government is criminalising laughing gas with a punishment of up to two years imprisonment for illicit use.
- Cannabis Roadside Rallyin Auckland: High Noon Sat 7 October at Grey Lynn shops. See facebook or norml.
- Substance Testing at The Hempstore First Thursday of every month thanks to the NZ Drug Foundation, with the next 3-7pm on Thurs 5 October, or find a clinic here.
- CannaPosium7-8 October at the Surrey Hotel, Grey Lynn, Auckland. Tickets here.
- Auckland J DaySaturday 2nd December in Albert Park (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 95bFM.com (or via iTunes / RSS feed). Thanks to The Hemp Store!