Law Commission on drug laws

February 12th, 2010 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

must have a very sore kneecap after what was an un-necessary kneejerk rejection of pretty much everything in the ’s review of drug laws.

“There’s not a single, solitary chance that as long as I’m the Minister of Justice we’ll be relaxing drug laws in New Zealand.

Though he was “interested” in submissions on regulations limiting the supply of new – including party pills – he had “no intention of changing the current rules”.

“I’m happy to hear what the submissions have to say but I have advised the Law Commission that I have other things on my work agenda.”

I’m surprised and somewhat disappointed by such a response – especially that Simon is generally seen as one of the more liberal and considered Ministers.

I’ll turn to the detail of the options put out by the Law Commission, but note at this point that to categorise them all as “liberalization” is in fact incorrect. The Police Association President Greg O’Connor was quite supportive on radio of many of the ideas, as was the which aims to minimise harm from drugs.

Personally I’m far from convinced our current laws are working for low level drugs like cannabis. I’m hardline and back the Govt’s initiatives when it comes to drugs like P and Heroin, but am very open to the argument that instant offence fines from Police would be better than dragging people through court for minor possession offences.

I’m one of the few people of my age that has never even tried illegal drugs, so my advocacy of a different approach is not motivated by self-interest. Cannabis could be legal and sold at New World with coupon discounts, and I still wouldn’t smoke it. But at least 46% of New Zealanders have used cannabis and I’m not sure we want to drag two million New Zealanders through court if they were all busted.

Some of the options put forward by the Law Commission are:

  • Move from a three tier system (Class A, B and C) to a two tier classification system, to more clearly distinguish between the very harmful and less harmful drugs.
  • Rather than have arguments over whether drugs were for purpose of use or supply, have two different possession offences with a higher maximum penalty for the higher quantity offence.
  • A formal cautioning scheme, with up to three cautions for personal use offences, with requirements to undertake an intervention session and counselling
  • Option of infringement notices requiring a fine and/or attend a drug education session for less serious drugs
  • Prohibit any new psychoactive substance from being manufactured, produced or imported without prior approval

Now some of the options the Law Commission put up are not things I would support. I’l plead guilty to not being too worried about the Bill of Rights implications that someone found with 10 kgs of Heroin has to prove it was for personal use, reversing the normal onus of proof.

But there are some options there well worth considering. The Police already use their discretion a lot for minor drug offences. I’d rather there was a formal statutory framework around use of cautions. I also like the idea of infringement notices rather than criminal sanctions for first or second time offenders, and greater use of referrals to drug counselling sessions.

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147 Responses to “Law Commission on drug laws”

  1. Manolo (14,047 comments) says:

    A very unfortunate comment from Fig Jam Power.
    Why did he rush to open his mouth? The word incompetence comes to mind.

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  2. garethw (205 comments) says:

    “Simon is generally seen as one of the more liberal and considered Ministers.”
    Yikes, that doesn’t say much for the other Ministers then…

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  3. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    “especially that Simon is generally seen as one of the more liberal and considered Ministers.”

    Are you serious DPF? Honestly serious? If yes, and you may be right, then I am VERY concerned for NZ at present. Section 9A of the Sentencing Act, changes to the Parole Act, asking MoJ to look into knife possession laws – these are massive cases of window dressing. He must be one of the most anti-intellectual, populist Justice Ministers we’ve had in a long time. Heaven help us…

    And his comment about not changing drug laws in relation to party pills is plain stupid. While I know he doesn’t read anything, you’d at least expect his officials to brief him properly. The Commission has floated the idea of GREATER, ie tighter regulation of party pills. Why would he be against that?! Idiotic.

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  4. big bruv (14,146 comments) says:

    ““There’s not a single, solitary chance that as long as I’m the Minister of Justice we’ll be relaxing drug laws in New Zealand.”

    Well said Simon Power!, if you relax the laws around “soft drugs” more people will use them and more people will get hooked.

    The next cry from these drug fucked parasites will be to fund their rehabilitation, well I am not ready or happy to pay for a junkie or pot head to go into rehab time after time when they are the idiots who decided to take drugs in the first place.

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  5. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Good to hear you’re still a liberal in the old-fashioned sense, DPF. I’m constantly amazed by what a politically unpopular opinion it is, considering how widespread it seems to be in the population.

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  6. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Heh, ironic. Now you bring out the knee jerk calls. Simon Power has been jerking his knee in response to every initiative or public outcry that comes his way. Dogs, legal aid, provocation. When you agreed it was strong leadership and now it is knee jerk.

    As it happens I agree with you on this point. As per usual he has gone for a populist line ahead of common sense. The Misuse of Drugs Act is hopelessly outdated and is one thing that is actually in need of reform (although frankly I am just about out of energy for law changes).

    I would have thought some of the suggestions would have made sense for cannabis but Power just jumped up and down about P. In fact, some of the changes reflect the informal status quo regarding cannabis possession for personal use – police are not interested in people having the odd toke unless they are taking the piss. At circa $150 plus court costs for personal use first offence I would suggest judges are not particularly interested either.

    Still, another good soundbite to the Minister of Justice by Populism.

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  7. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Yeah BigBruv
    You can get the sickness benefit for being addicted to illegal drugs, making the state complicit in your actions.
    Now that is a court case I’d love to see the head of Winz up on aiding and abetting charges.

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  8. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Interestingly I have a similar feeling towards BZP. I tried it when it was legal, and didn’t much like it. But that didn’t mean I thought other people having it should become a criminal act.

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  9. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    DPF – you say you are hardline and back the government on Heroin, yet for all intents and purposes heroin is legal in NZ in the form of Methadone.

    The government should have NO role in telling anyone what they can and cannot consume, providing people cause no harm to others – that should be our drug policy.

    There is by far, much much more harm as a result of prohibition and law enforcement of drug policy, than from many of the drugs themselves (I’d even argue that our P problem is a direct result of prohibition).

    “The Iron Law of Prohibition is a term coined by Richard Cowan which states that “the more intense the law enforcement, the more potent the prohibited substance becomes.” This is based on the premise that when drugs or alcohol are prohibited, they will be produced only in black markets in their most concentrated and powerful forms. If all alcohol beverages are prohibited, a bootlegger will be more profitable if he smuggles highly distilled liquors than if he smuggles the same volume of small beer. In addition, the black-market goods are more likely to be adulterated with unknown or dangerous substances. The government cannot regulate and inspect the production process, and harmed consumers have no recourse in law.”

    I’d like to see a rational approach to drugs, where all drugs are ranked on the basis of actual harm (not including the artificial harms caused by enforcement of laws). You’d see anything safer than alcahol legal and regulated, and those with drug problems treated as a health issue, rather than a law and order problem.

    There is absolutely no way that a drug user, whose crime is only against their own body – should be locked up in prison with those who have committed crimes against others.

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  10. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    A stupid response from Power.

    Pot should be decriminalised. That would remove most of the negative aspects of it which are associated with it’s illegality, the crime around it’s relative scarcity value.
    Normally the worst thing the average pot smoker will do to you is eat all your chocolate biscuits.
    Putting pot smokers through the court system is a ludicrous waste of scarce resources, police time and our money. I would far rather see it all spent on decimating the P industry.
    I don’t use pot and I don’t deny there are problems associated with it, but when I look at the damage done by our number one legal drug, alcohol, I find it pathetic to see the outraged moral minority on the soapbox telling us how it is the slippery slope to hell and damnation. Have a look in any A and E in the country on a Friday or Saturday night and tell me that alcohol isn’t a hugely bigger problem. If you find a pot head in there it will be because he is in a sugar induced coma from eating too many mars bars.

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  11. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    “Simon is generally seen as one of the more liberal and considered Ministers.”

    I don’t believe you. I thought I was right wing, but Power’s penchant for iron-fisted state control of everything to do with the justice sector is heading towards totalitarianism. Or he is going leftwards to Stalinism. I suspect that very soon the only type of trial that will be available to defendants will be the show trial.

    “an un-necessary kneejerk rejection of pretty much everything”

    Which is par for the course for Power. Like name, like nature. And also typical, GPT points out, that he focusses on the most serious type of drug offence as being representative of the whole.

    Kaya, you are correct about the problems associated with alchohol, however I don’t agree with you on cannabis. A lot of the young men I have dealt with have been relatively heavy consumers of the drug and without exception it has blighted their lives, whether they are willing to admit it or not. For the most part, they become completely useless to everybody around them. Talk to the families of the cannabis users, as I have, and you get a very different story of harm, different to alcohol abuse but just as, if not a lot more, insidious.

    MikeE makes a good point re methadone. All I see it doing is prolonging the dependency of the user, leavin them far more open to relapse back into illegal drugs. I surprise myself, but I find myself disagreeing with GPT on the outcome and agreeing with Power- in fact, I would increase the penalties on the Class C offending!!

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  12. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    I’d rather my kids smoked pot than tobacco.

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  13. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    But, Greg, cannabis is worse for your child’s lungs than tobacco!

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  14. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    MikeE
    There is absolutely no way that a drug user, whose crime is only against their own body – should be locked up in prison with those who have committed crimes against others.

    Prison is for those who knowingly break the law no matter who they do it to.
    On one perspective you don’t just “do it” to your body you do it to all of society by breaking the law.
    hence punishment for law breakers.

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  15. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    @ FE Smith I doubt they’ll be smoking 20 a day. It’s a moot point as (so far) they are even more virulently anti-smoking then I am.

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  16. 3-coil (1,222 comments) says:

    Power seems to be a slow learner – “Simple Simon”?

    He appears to have forgotten the unnecessary grief he causes with his school-marmish dictates – who can forget his “where the US, UK and Australia goes, we go” brainfart of a few years back. He is becoming a liability for National.

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  17. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Talk to the families of the cannabis users, as I have, and you get a very different story of harm, different to alcohol abuse but just as, if not a lot more, insidious.

    Totally. I think addicts need help, and general public awareness of the *real* risks of cannabis is important. It’s much less likely to be some crazed flip out like it is with P. It’s more likely to be a life that slowly degenerates as usage increases. It’s because it is slow that it’s insidious. At least with a really harmful drug like P or alcohol, you very often get a big wakeup call, after some psychotic break, realizing that a world of hurt is only the other side of one session. With pot, it’s more like eating too much – you only get fat slowly, and each mouthful isn’t going to do you much harm.

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  18. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Simon Power’s stance against drugs is one of the few things that National have done that I actually agree with. And I’m not alone – you should have heard talkback yesterday afternoon and evening. Most callers did not want a slap on the wrist for drug use – that would mean that the state is saying drug use is ok and therefore drug use would go up. The country already has enough addicts without it being made any easier.

    Add me to your age group, DPF. I’ve never taken any sort of illegal drug, either. I didn’t even drink until I was in my mid-twenties. I think people who take mind altering substances are idiots.

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  19. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    “And I’m not alone – you should have heard talkback yesterday afternoon and evening.” – now there’s an informed part of the populace we should listen to.

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  20. Alan Wilkinson (1,887 comments) says:

    Power is an arrogant fool. This is the first Law Commission report in living memory that I agree with.

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  21. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    LOL, Not1tocommentoften!!!

    They’re just as “informed” as blog commenters.

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  22. Repton (769 comments) says:

    I haven’t read the report, but from coverage I thought there was something about medical use of cannabis. What if it were available on a doctor’s prescription? If old people with terminal cancer are getting a little high to help numb the pain, is that bad?

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  23. Repton (769 comments) says:

    @FESmith:

    I don’t believe you. I thought I was right wing, but Power’s penchant for iron-fisted state control of everything to do with the justice sector is heading towards totalitarianism.

    Right-wing doesn’t have to imply authoritarianism. You can be left-wing and authoritarian (e.g. Mao), or right-wing and liberal (e.g. libertarians — although I can’t think of any real-world political leaders who would fit this description).

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  24. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “I think people who take mind altering substances are idiots.”

    And I think people who vote Green are idiots. It doesn’t mean they should go to jail.

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  25. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    What if it were available on a doctor’s prescription? If old people with terminal cancer are getting a little high to help numb the pain, is that bad?

    Yes Repton – because apparently these old people will quickly fall down a steep slope and be sucking on glass pipes a week later…

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  26. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    Compulsory drug testing for all beneficiaries. No benefit if you’re using drugs, including cannabis. Solve two problems in one go. If you want to use semi-legal drugs in NZ then get a job and pay for them yourself.

    Don’t mention it John, it’s no problem at all. In fact it’s easy to be bold. You should try it.

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  27. sbk (313 comments) says:

    “There is absolutely no way that a drug user, whose crime is only against their own body – should be locked up in prison with those who have committed crimes against others.”..MikeE ,more often than not those that have little regard for their bodies have little regard for any”body”…but if the legalisation of pot means more resources are directed at fighting P then i am all for it.

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  28. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    MikeE,

    Have you ever visited an acute psychiatric ward?

    I had a friend in one last year, and would you believe half the people in there are there because they’ve had their minds destroyed by drugs? Permanently.

    Drugs are dangerous, that is why their use should be very, very, very strongly discouraged. And if that means jail for the idiots that continue to think that taking drugs is ok, then so be it.

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  29. kowtow (8,757 comments) says:

    Simon Power is not stupid. He has an electorate to keep happy and quite right too,why would he want to appear to apease dope heads who probably couldn’t be bothered to vote any way.

    If you “need”so called medicinal marijuana, try this , extract the active compound ,put it in a pill and get a prescription.I bet the dope heads would love that……not.

    Legalise dope ,no way, vast hordes of our young people are demotivated enough as it is (dope smoking?)without making the situation any worse.

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  30. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    FE Smith – I understand your point re the people you deal with and excessive use, but the same can be said of excessive use of anything on the planet, everything in moderation. Many people become useless because of their excesses.
    The majority of pot smokers are like the majority of drinkers, they do it moderately and it doesn’t prevent them functioning “normally”.
    As for being insidious – a fair comment but with alcohol we have a multi million dollar marketing machine to push it along and tell us how wonderful and socially acceptable it is. Hypocrisy at it’s best.

    I believe that alcohol is by far the worse drug and the more insidious because of it’s perceived acceptance through it’s legality. Pot should be treated the same, if users abuse it then treat and educate them.

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  31. NOt1tocommentoften (433 comments) says:

    Simon Power is not stupid. He has an electorate to keep happy and quite right too,why would he want to appear to apease dope heads who probably couldn’t be bothered to vote any way.

    But even those on dope could probably see how dumb his comments yesterday were Kowtow. Probably had a good long giggle over it too, and a big piece of cake to celebrate the stupidity…

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  32. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,070 comments) says:

    If you “need”so called medicinal marijuana, try this , extract the active compound ,put it in a pill and get a prescription.I bet the dope heads would love that……not.

    That IS actually what they do, only it’s dispensed in a vaporiser instead of a pill.

    I believe that alcohol is by far the worse drug

    The alco-pops are the most amazing example of the hypocrisy. If someone rocked up today and said they want to sell a dangerous, addictive drug that they’ve combined with sugar and marketed to children and young teenagers at a really low price they’d get crucified – but that’s exactly what the breweries do with alco-pops.

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  33. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    I had a friend in one last year, and would you believe half the people in there are there because they’ve had their minds destroyed by drugs? Permanently.

    Ever rocked up to an A&E ward on the weekend, half the people in there are as a result of alcohol. Alcohol causes the greatest social harm on our society. But the reason we allow it is because the majority of people use it responsibly, some get addicted and wreck there lives, some get in to fights or violently assualt or murder people, some drink and drive, but the majority do not.

    Same with drugs, except less so.

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  34. Captain Neurotic (203 comments) says:

    Whilst I am a white conservative coporate male who does not use drugs, we should legalise it!

    Taxation:

    Use the tax gathered to fund the public health system to pay for the illnesses related to cannbis (PH system is already paying for this without funding). The tax can also be used to establish clinics and education campaigns to prevent use.

    Regulation:

    Cannabis can be manufactured without gang influence. This means there won’t be any pesticides of cannabis laced with ‘P’ on the street. Take away the revenue from gangs and prevent good people who want to commit a victimless (this can vary) crime in their own house without having to associate with criminals. Also we can try and enforce an age restriction, label packaging to let users know what it is and the strength.

    Education:

    Instead of hiding the issue away be open and explain to people, like the smoking ads, exactly what the affects and damages are.

    Remember:

    Small crimes like simple possession clogs the judiciary and has potential harm on a person’s career.

    Cannabis is rated 20 on scale of harmful drugs. Alcohol is 8, tobacco is 12 – yet they are legal (there are political and cultural reasons though).

    hey are unintended conseuquences by the social stigma on users, kids think that cannabis is in the same league as herion/cocaine – and can be used as a gateway drug.

    There is my rant, prohibition does not work – bring the issue into the light and control the issue then.

    Disclaimer: I am well aware of the health issues with cannabis and I realise that no solution will ever work 100%, but the status quo is failing.

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  35. Captain Neurotic (203 comments) says:

    Jeff83 (476) Says:

    In order of overall harm, the 20 drugs were given the following ranking (the most harmful, heroin at number 1 scored nearly 3, while the least harmful khat at number 20 scored less than 1):

    Just realised that you have the proper scale of harm – mine is wrong and was a bad guess from previous research!

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  36. Alan Wilkinson (1,887 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria, does it ever occur to you that the occupancy of that psychiatric ward is evidence that prosecuting drug users has failed? How many more years of failure do you need?

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  37. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    @Lucia Maria

    “Drugs are dangerous, that is why their use should be very, very, very strongly discouraged. And if that means jail for the idiots that continue to think that taking drugs is ok, then so be it.”

    Are you sure you don’t belong in said ward?

    Suggesting not just jail for users – but anyone who thinks taking drugs is ok?

    And while I have never been to any nutters wards, I do have a relative on a methodone programe, and know people who have had problems with meth, and also know plenty of people who recreationally use/used all manner of substances with no negative effects.

    The point is as with our legal drug alcahol, that all substances affect different people differently, and there is nothing ethical or moral about locking people up for doing someone that one does not like. Hell, I’m no fan of religion, its killed far more people thank drugs ever have – yet you don’t see me calling for NZConservative writers to be locked up for their own good now do you?

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  38. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    “I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who supported the legalisation of P / Heroin / Cocaine in NZ. ”

    You’re in luck, you found one. Making it illegal doesn’t stop people using drugs, it just makes them into criminals.

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  39. Lucia Maria (2,609 comments) says:

    Jeff,

    Ever rocked up to an A&E ward on the weekend, half the people in there are as a result of alcohol.

    Obviously, we should raise the drinking age as well.

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  40. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    MikeE – “you don’t see me calling for NZConservative writers to be locked up for their own good now do you?”

    That might be more productive.

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  41. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria – why don’t we have a law that bans everything that alters people physically or mentally and jail everyone that breaks the law? Oh that’s right, we would have to put a fence round NZ and call it a penal colony.

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  42. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Obviously, we should raise the drinking age as well.

    So we should ignore the majority of alcohol violence is committed in house, generally by partners against each other and no not only in South Auckland.

    Alcohol is not only abused by the youth.

    And again penalising the majority for the actions of the minority. I would have sympathy for your arguments if it was consistent with other sectors of life, i.e. removing junk food in schools, but no there it is “personal choice”. Pretty sure obesity is more of an issue in NZ than drug abuse.

    Further you choose to just ignore the facts I have provided and the research. Noone is saying taking drugs is good for you, but taking many of them is no worse for you than drinking, and many are actually better.

    Why because you do not agree with them do you get to choose what others do?

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  43. KiwiGreg (3,259 comments) says:

    Here’s another step on the path of “banning shit I dont like”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/middle-east/3320284/Valentines-police-see-red

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  44. Yvette (2,845 comments) says:

    Why not grow marijuana in large glasshouses in the McKenzie Basin – the Government revenue could replace what will be lost when smoking tobacco is banned.

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  45. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    But, Greg, cannabis is worse for your child’s lungs than tobacco!

    Children shouldn’t be smoking anything, and adults shouldn’t be prevented from smoking what they choose to.

    But, F E Smith, plenty of smokers will go through a pack of smokes in an evening. Not many pot smokers would go through more than three or four joints. Combine that with the physically addictive properties of nictotine and the lack thereof in cannabis and you’ve got cigarettes being far more damaging to lungs than weed is.

    Apologies if you were being sarcastic :)

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  46. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    Maybe banning valentines is a bit harsh but similar to tobacco all advertising should be banned and anything related to it should carry statutory relationship warnings.

    “Why didn’t you get me anything for valentines?”
    “Because I don’t believe in bowing to commercial guilting, and besides we are already in a relationship”.
    “Don’t you love me enough?”

    This conversation could go on for another half hour but I’ll truncate it there.

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  47. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    NZ is so far behind the times, we even lag behind the former Soviet states. Since Jan 1 this year, the Czech Republic had decriminalised personal possession of all drugs, and here we are still locking throwing them all into crowded gang training institutions called prisons.

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  48. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    Will – we are still scared that the mexicans are going to steal our women under the influence of “loco weed” it seems.

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  49. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    I am an adult. No person or group of people has any right to tell me how to act, as long as my actions do not directly harm others or their property and do not restrict that same right for others.

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  50. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..I think people who take mind altering substances are idiots..”

    lucia maria..do you not use/drink alcohol..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  51. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “as long as my actions do not directly harm others”

    So indirect harm is ok then?
    This is the problem with this country, it’s every man for em self.

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  52. big bruv (14,146 comments) says:

    Phool

    Bad luck old chap, it seems that the Simon Power is just not going to swallow that bullshit about medical dope.

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  53. RRM (10,011 comments) says:

    +1 vote for what DPF said.

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  54. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “Why because you do not agree with them do you get to choose what others do?”

    You don’t necessarily, but a healthy society shows contempt for the individuals harmful to said society.
    People that engage in substance abuse deserve contempt and ridicule.

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  55. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    very civilised attitudes from you..dpf..

    and..really..?..nothing..?..ever..?

    does/did your anxiety overwhelm your curiousity..?

    my prescription for ‘life’..is..

    ..go vegan..take up yoga..use pot as your relaxant..(a bit of dark/vegan chocolate dosen’t hurt..either..)

    and..whatever you do..stay well clear of those poisons .. animal fats .. and alcohol..

    which..funnily enough..are your soporifics of choice..

    ..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  56. RRM (10,011 comments) says:

    Phil – DPF’s history of what Shunter would call “contemptible substance abuse” is already online:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2010/02/2010_cork_count.html#comments

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  57. Angus (536 comments) says:

    The idea that opiate and stimulant drug liberalization is a panacea to a plethora of societal ills is another example of typical, quixotic libertine horseshit.

    Alcohol consumption for example, has been customary in society for centuries, practiced by the bulk of the adult population, (which is why prohibition failed) and is responsible or a raft of anti-social behaviors and monetary costs to taxpayers. The real question here is will liberalization of other substances ever result in drugs other than alcohol becoming customary, and at what cost to civil society? That’s the keynote question I’d like to have proven before any steps towards legalization is made – and not just airy fairy anecdotal bullshit either. Otherwise it’s not worth taking the risk.

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  58. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    So indirect harm is ok then?
    This is the problem with this country, it’s every man for em self.

    By direct harm I mean immediate and obvious quantifiable harm.

    If someone tries to argue that my choice to read and recommend the Bible could result in them killing themselves to get to heaven, that is not a good enough reason for them to interfere with my liberty.

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  59. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..“I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who supported the legalisation of P / Heroin / Cocaine in NZ. ”

    then..of course..you could look at the example of portugal..

    some ten years ago they had major problems with a crime wave from people stealing to feed addictions/the blackmarket..

    ..the portugese govt got bold..

    they announced that in a five year trial..that posession of all drugs would be legal..

    (that’s all drugs..including heroin/cocaine..etc..etc..)

    ..and that medical help would be offered to addicts seeking to cease and desist..

    .(but they wd still hunt the major traffickers of narcotics..)

    the results of this..?

    ..the crime wave ended..

    ..the blackmarket price dropped…

    ..and..

    (making a nonsense of those who would predict streets full of addicts brandishing syringes should the laws be changed/reformed/made ‘sensible’…)

    ..the numbers of addicts in portugese society has stayed roughly the same as since ‘the bad old days’..

    ..the five year experiment has been so successful..they rolled it over..

    ..and recently..

    ..just rolled it over again..

    why are these telling reform-examples not even aired/addressed in this law commission report..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  60. RRM (10,011 comments) says:

    We seem to have no objections as a society with taking a libertarian approach to booze. You can buy it, you can drink it, and you are responsible for your own (mis)behaviour under its influence.

    Sounds like a right-wing/conservative/libertarian utopia when you put it like that, doesn’t it?

    But rather than apply a consistent approach to other drugs, instead we just wave the socialist THOU SHALT NOT banstick. I can’t quite figure out why…

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  61. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    the socialist THOU SHALT NOT

    Socialist? That sounds like it comes from a different playbook. One that at times tried to even ban playing in bed, not to be enjoyed, for procreation only! And would alcohol have already been banned if they had had blackcurrant juice at the last supper? We are told our laws and morals are all based on that.

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  62. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    “You don’t necessarily, but a healthy society shows contempt for the individuals harmful to said society.
    People that engage in substance abuse deserve contempt and ridicule.”

    Just like those that abuse alcohol deserve contempt and ridicule, but what of those that do not abuse but marely occasionaly use. Why make it illegal for the majority. Why is one ok but not the other when science does not back up your reasoning.

    By your reasoning you would of supported banning anything distracting whilst driving (i.e. not just mobile phones, but eating drinking etc). However you didnt as it was an intrusion. And here is the crunx the negative result of one being distracted whilst driving is often borne by an innocent member of the public, where as consuming something which effects ones health in a negative way generally does not.

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  63. RRM (10,011 comments) says:

    ^^^Poor choice of words on my part. I meant NANNY STATE KNOWS BEST AND YOU SHOULD NOT USE THOSE THINGS…

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  64. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “If someone tries to argue that my choice to read and recommend the Bible could result in them killing themselves to get to heaven, that is not a good enough reason for them to interfere with my liberty.”

    Actually Ryan that would serve a useful purpose in removing idiots from society, dead idiots don’t tend to cause too many problems.
    But hey, I’m being argumentative.
    At the end of the day Ryan, I just think substance abuse is a sad pathetic result of a wealthy prosperous society that has lost its way.
    Half the bloody population is on drugs, anti depressants etc as well as illegal.
    What the hell is so bad about life in our little slice of paradise that we have to medicate ourselves to endure it?

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  65. Pete George (23,683 comments) says:

    People have started to say this: YOU SHOULD NOT USE THOSE THONGS

    Except maybe Power should try flip flop “clarifying his preferences”.

    Half the bloody population is on drugs, anti depressants etc as well as illegal.
    What the hell is so bad about life in our little slice of paradise that we have to medicate ourselves to endure it?

    Ah yes, our pop-a-pill pandemic.

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  66. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “Just like those that abuse alcohol deserve contempt and ridicule, but what of those that do not abuse but marely occasionaly use. Why make it illegal for the majority. Why is one ok but not the other when science does not back up your reasoning.”

    Ever spent any time in northern California? relaxed dope laws have certainly caused some problems there.

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  67. annie (539 comments) says:

    I’m with Simon Power. Cannabis has an extraordinarily demotivating effect on regular users, which alcohol doesn’t. Want more losers ensconced on benefits? Support cannabis law reform.

    I do however, think it should be available for very restricted medical use, in cases of terminal illness with pain. It can be a significant analgesic for some people, in my experience.

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  68. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Actually Ryan that would serve a useful purpose in removing idiots from society, dead idiots don’t tend to cause too many problems.
    But hey, I’m being argumentative.
    At the end of the day Ryan, I just think substance abuse is a sad pathetic result of a wealthy prosperous society that has lost its way.
    Half the bloody population is on drugs, anti depressants etc as well as illegal.
    What the hell is so bad about life in our little slice of paradise that we have to medicate ourselves to endure it?

    I don’t know. But it’s their choice what to do with their lives.

    I would prefer people didn’t do all kinds of things with themselves that they do. But I’m not their nanny, and I don’t want the state being a nanny on my behalf.

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  69. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Given the statistics which say a relatively large proportion of the population have already tried marijuana, it suggests that its use is relatively socially acceptable already. Furthermore, given this large proportion, there is also the suggestion that prohibition has failed.

    With regard to those who have been extrapolating from the individual to the mass, this is poor logic. Just because one or even a small group of people have suffered adverse effects from marijuana use does not mean that the majority will. However, more importantly, for these people who have suffered/are suffering the adverse effects of marijuana, what is paying for their treatment? Tax dollars, mostly, right? Given that the prohibition of the drug appears to have failed, that society on the whole already does not look particularly harshly on users of the drug, that these people are already users, surely it would be the action of a responsible government to legalise and tax the drug in order to recoup some of the costs of its use. Similar arguments can be made for MDMA and possibly BZP (re: social acceptability and use). Possibly even LSD, although it is nowhere near as socially acceptable, it is hypothetically not that hard to acquire.

    There is also an element of moral hypocrisy amongst the powers that be here (a pun!), given that research has shown that the other major legal drugs are more dangerous than the three drugs mentioned above. However, I suppose this comes with political pragmatism, as the majority of society would be greatly offended if the already legal drugs were banned, and are not particularly worried about rational drug policy provided they aren’t caught under current drug policy.

    With regard to harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine, I do believe these should remain illegal, as these drugs are not readily available in this country (extremely hard to bring into NZ and the climate is not paticularly good for the component ingredients, as far as I can recall Dave Gittings saying), and there has been no suggestion that they have become societally acceptable. Given the damage these drugs can cause, far more than marijuana, it is logical that they remain greatly restricted in order to ensure that use does not occur.

    I’ll note here that I don’t use illegal drugs, do not stand to profit if they were legalised, hate tobacco and occasionally imbibe alcohol, although very rarely too much as even towards the end of my student days, I was pretty much over the whole get utterly wasted thing.

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  70. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    annie said: Cannabis has an extraordinarily demotivating effect on regular users, which alcohol doesn’t.

    What evidence do you have for that annie? I once had an employee who hardly ever turned up at work on Mondays because she was too hung over from the weekend, and have worked with several other pissheads who were frequent absentees for the same reason. Can’t say I’ve noticed that with stoners.

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  71. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    annie – your personal opinion based on nothing substantive or logical. Your logic works in reverse. Try this statement:

    “Alcohol has an extraordinary ability to make normally rational people become violent which cannabis doesn’t. Want more violent thugs taking up police time and people in A&E with broken heads and bodies costing the country hundreds of millions? Support the abolition of alcohol or at the very least, both drugs to be treated the same.
    “I do however, think it (alcohol) should be available for very restricted medical use, in cases of terminal illness with pain. It can be a significant analgesic for some people, in my experience.”

    Get real.

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  72. bjchip (67 comments) says:

    Actually Phil, the law commission report DOES discuss the success of the Portugese and other non-punitive approaches.

    The real problem here is that Power is on the most potent drug of all… Power.

    The fastest way around the UN treaties is the medical exceptions.

    …Or we could just tell the blue-nosed sticky-beaks to take a hike… I see no advantage whatever in maintaining our problems as a result of a failed prohibitive-punishment-based approach to individual choices that BEGAN in a non-evidence-based brain malfunction almost a hundred years ago.

    “Cannabis has an extraordinarily demotivating effect on regular users” – which surely explains the regular users I went to school with who graduated cumme laude and went on to become MD’s … except that one of them went to law school instead.

    Tell me another. If you give someone who is already a “no-hoper” drugs then they’ll amplify the no-hope effect but most normal folks don’t have that problem. They’ll also probably want to stay on the drugs.

    “For so long as I am Justice Minster there is not a single, solitary chance that this government will…”

    Well the answer is clearly that he shouldn’t remain Justice Minister.

    “I had a friend in one last year, and would you believe half the people in there are there because they’ve had their minds destroyed by drugs? Permanently.”

    Hmmm…. since I have been there myself I have to wonder where you are getting your information. Did you ask the inmates? It is quite certain that they didn’t wind up there because of Cannabis. You’ve been buying into some serious scare stories… but those people who wind up in the wards because of drug use were using P, or aerosols, not cannabis.

    “But, Greg, cannabis is worse for your child’s lungs than tobacco!”

    Yeah… but it isn’t physically addictive… psychological dependency is possible, but that’s not a patch on the physical demand. Hell, my Brother who was hammered by both nicotine and heroin said that the nicotine was a more difficult habit to break.

    All in all, Power is juiced up on Power and needs to be disconnected from it.

    BJ

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  73. Shunda barunda (2,985 comments) says:

    “With regard to those who have been extrapolating from the individual to the mass, this is poor logic. Just because one or even a small group of people have suffered adverse effects from marijuana use does not mean that the majority will. ”

    Well Jivekitty, there is much greater evidence that marijuana is more harmful to society than parents lightly smacking their kids, so I guess your logic is poor?

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  74. Lutzie (56 comments) says:

    I thought the National Party was all about personal responsibility and freedom (provided you don’t harm others of course). I’ve read my John Stuart Mill.

    Ministers in this government seem very keen to leap in wherever they think there’s a vote or some populist PR spin in it.
    We expect better.

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  75. menace (402 comments) says:

    Lucia Maria, wakey wakey, the grog is a mind altering substance an d whats more its its one of the drugs that does the most damage to other people,.

    In fact i would be sure that alcohole does more damage to other people besides its user than any other drug or actually even all the ilegal drug combined, just in monetary costs it cost this country 4.5 billion in negative costs per year! 2 percent GPD for you money freeks.

    Pot should be just totally legal, or like alcohole is now. I know so many people that smoke the shit every day and hold down jobs support there families etc.

    Long live the ultimate freedom fighters, THE GROWERS.

    P.S. pot can make you lazy, i smoked so much when i was yunger that eventually i couldnt be fucked smoking it any more.

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  76. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Wow, Shunda barunda, that was a big and (apparently) illogical leap. This is a discussion on the effects of drug policy and you bring up parents smacking their children. Where did you get that from? I don’t believe I’ve given my opinion of parents smacking their children on these boards, so I guess your logic is poor?

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  77. Captain Neurotic (203 comments) says:

    Lutzie – J. S. Mills was a classical libertarian, ACT is the closest party to this ideology (sometimes). Nats are just conservatives who try to apply free market doctrine (but fail).

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  78. menace (402 comments) says:

    Captain Neurotic, i don’t think they fail

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  79. Nigel Kearney (1,048 comments) says:

    Of course Power was in a no-win situation. If he said nothing, you’d be tuning in at 6pm to Duncan Garner earnestly telling us that Simon Power today refused to rule out liberalization of marijuana.

    The problem is that many people actually believe marijuana is much worse than alcohol. I don’t really know exactly why people believe that but it doesn’t matter because it’s not worth the effort and risk for any government to try and convince them otherwise. Here is a synopsis of an actual conversation I had with a teacher.

    Me: We should legalize marijuana
    Teacher: No we shouldn’t because it harms people’s brains
    Me: How do you know?
    Teacher: I’ve seen the effect on kids in my class.
    Me: How do you know which kids are using it?
    Teacher: Oh I can tell.
    Me: How?
    Teacher: It’s the ones who don’t pay attention and make no effort to do the work.

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  80. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    i stand corrected..

    and ask why we/society/politicians..are not examining/discussing these options that ‘work’..?

    there are so many threads to this..

    there is the proven help/relief cannabis can give to people in the terminal stages of various dideases..

    (just one example..in the final stages of diabetes..sufferers get very painful pina and needles in their hands/feet..

    ..even strong opiates will not relieve this pain..but cannabis will provide relief..

    but because of people like power..nz’ers suffering..now/today..are denied that relif by power/illogical-prohibition..)

    then there are the unexplainable health benefits from pot..

    did you know that researchers into alzheimers disease..are puzzled by what they call ‘the hippie syndrome’..

    (namely:..they are finding that those who consumed large amounts of cannabis during the sixties/seventies..

    ..are now..at the ages of onset..not coming down with alzheimers..(go figure..!..eh..?..)

    and just a couple of weeks ago i linked to/reported on research from britain..which also has researchers/cure-searchers puzzled..

    ..that those who have smoked cannabis heavily..(their emphasis..) for at least ten years..

    ..have ..(once again their words)..’a dramatic reduction in the chances of getting head/throat cancers..(once again..go figure..!..eh..?)

    but..none of this matters..

    cos’ the lunatica are in control..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  81. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @Nigel Kearney 2:56 pm

    Must be one of the 30% (actually, it’s 10%) of teachers Tolley keeps rambling on about.

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  82. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “What the hell is so bad about life in our little slice of paradise that we have to medicate ourselves to endure it?”

    What about “enjoying it more”?

    “With regard to harder drugs such as heroin and cocaine, I do believe these should remain illegal, as these drugs are not readily available in this country”

    Anyone who thinks either of these are hard to acquire in NZ is clearly dreaming.

    Where there is demand… there will be a market

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  83. peteremcc (344 comments) says:

    Time for Power to resign, so that someone who will listen to evidence can take over:

    http://www.actoncampus.org.nz/blog/ministers-drug-revelation-leads-to-call-for-resignation

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  84. Alan Wilkinson (1,887 comments) says:

    menace (February 12th, 2010 at 2:36 pm), I don’t think they try.

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  85. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    “Anyone who thinks either of these are hard to acquire in NZ is clearly dreaming.

    Where there is demand… there will be a market”

    Mike, yeah, I should’ve said “much further use does not occur” in my statement. I did not mean it to look like I was claiming none does. However, access to heroin and cocaine, is by comparison to many other illegal drugs, quite restricted (cocaine slightly less so, going from my ex-flatmate) because it’s uneconomical to produce in the country and getting through border control is relatively difficult. This restricts supply and drives the price up. Given the ready availability of other reasonably substitutable illegal drugs for heroin and cocaine and the comparatively high price of heroin and cocaine (because of, amongst other things, the restricted supply), the market is not huge. I’m not saying you can’t get it, but it is comparatively difficult and pricey. If it was legalised, the market would probably increase in size significantly, and that would be my problem. The cost of legalisation here would likely outweigh the benefit.

    I do not believe users should face prison though, just the dealers and traffickers.

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  86. Yvette (2,845 comments) says:

    philu would seem to support medicinal cannabis –

    “..that those who have smoked cannabis heavily … for at least ten years … have … a dramatic reduction in the chances of getting head/throat cancers … (once again …go figure ..! ..eh ..?)”

    It doesn’t figure – not if cannabis is five times more carthogenic than tobacco, as some sources state.

    But more pertenant, ponder the number in New Zealand already on sickness benefits – could we handle the upsurge?

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  87. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    no yvette..

    “.. I have already reported on half of this story….(cannabis grows brain cells..15/10/05..)….how contrary to popular thought marijuana dosen’t kill brain cells….it grows them…

    and cannabis eases anxiety..(we all know that..eh..?..about the anxiety easing..?..)

    “..mmmmmmm!..anxiety easing..”

    and there is more good news for pot smokers…new findings show cannabis is far less carcinogenic than previously thought….

    (i wonder if there is any chance of a law change here reflecting these new realities..?…oh..that’s right..the aotearoa legalise cannabis party screwed up that option..eh..? )

    here is a quote for you….

    “..The pharmacological effects of tobacco and cannabis smoke differ in many ways, mainly because tobacco smoke contains nicotine while cannabis smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cancer-promoting effects of smoke are increased by nicotine, while they are reduced by THC…”

    http://whoar.co.nz/2005/reassuring-news-for-pot-smokers/

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  88. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    So if medicinal marijuana use is de-criminalised. Then will dope users have to pay a carbon tax for the destruction of the plant and the subsequent smoke?

    Also, will they be signing a waiver that they will waive their rights to treatment for any lung disease that may occur from them inhaling a carcinogenic substance into their lungs? (Thats the shit we shoulda done with ciggarette’s!)

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  89. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    “..The pharmacological effects of tobacco and cannabis smoke differ in many ways, mainly because tobacco smoke contains nicotine while cannabis smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The cancer-promoting effects of smoke are increased by nicotine, while they are reduced by THC…”

    Hey phil, just because you’ve made something up, doesnt mean it is true. Just think, how can an unfiltered joint be less harmful than a filtered cigarette?

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  90. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    um..bevan..the link provided will take you to the ‘evidence’..

    i have not made anything up..

    and as to your ‘how can..?’ question..?

    um..!..(would repetition help..?..)

    “..mainly because tobacco smoke contains nicotine while cannabis smoke contains tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

    The cancer-promoting effects of smoke are increased by nicotine, while they are reduced by THC…”

    mmm;kay..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  91. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Can anybody name a drug treatment centre?My screw mate at Pap said they could fill a 600 bed unit tomoro. Methadone anybody. Prisoners get all. Cell high they call it.

    The Law Commision is a vomit joke!

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  92. menace (402 comments) says:

    I weeds gave cancers like tobacos then stats would show a big trend of lung cancer from the 60s in america especially.

    But where is that argument in the disinformation campain against marijuana?

    Its not cause its not like tobaco intha t respect.

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  93. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    methadone is vile muck..

    it is more addictive/harder to kick..than the drug it purports to ‘cure’..

    cold turkey withdrawals from heroin feel like a living death..but do not kill you..

    cold turkey from a methadone habit..will kill you..

    as i said before..

    ‘the lunatics are in control’..

    eh..?

    hysterical/irrational prohibitionists..

    like simon power..

    ..and of course..like peter dunne..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  94. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Is Queen Mary hospital still open Simon? Hi Palmer got a brain yet? Oh that’s right the Maori’s want to sub divide it .
    Phool would have liked Queen Mary.

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  95. menace (402 comments) says:

    I am proud to live in a country where people enjoy drugs.

    And im in histerics thinking about the wankers that hate it

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  96. Yvette (2,845 comments) says:

    i have not made anything up..

    and as to your ‘how can..?’ question..?

    um..!..(would repetition help..?..)

    and cannabis eases anxiety..(we all know that..eh..?..about the anxiety easing..?..)

    “..mmmmmmm!..anxiety easing..”

    yes . . . say no more . . .

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  97. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    many of those currently addicted to the other vile mucks..the tranks etc peddled/pushed by doctors/the drug companies..

    ..could be well served by a combination of (non-addictive) st johns wort..(the highest prescribed trank by german doctors..)

    ..and (non-addictive) cannabis..

    ..but..as i said..

    ‘the lunatics are in control’..

    and don’t get me started on the evil practice of prescribing a low-grade speed..(ritalin)..to children..eh..?

    ..fucken insanity..!

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  98. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    It does not matter how carcinogenic or not cannabis is.

    It does not matter how anti-carcinogenic or not cannabis is.

    What matters is: you are not other adults’ nanny and the state should not be their nanny on your behalf.

    You are not the boss of other adults. If they want to smoke weed, you do not have the right to prevent them from doing so, either individually by force or via the state by force. You can tell them you don’t think they should, and they can tell you to fuck off, but you don’t have the right to force them to act how you want them to act.

    It’s very very very simple.

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  99. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    Given we already have legal carcinogenic substances, it is hypocritical to argue against cannabis on such a basis unless one also advocates criminalisation of the currently legal carcinogenic substances.

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  100. kowtow (8,757 comments) says:

    Pete George @103pm raised the Last Supper and seemed to have a poke at Christians,I’m not sure why,he was one of the first to post on ‘Separate Religious Debate Thread’ the other day and had alot to say there.

    Any way I think the guys a dick for bringing religion into this.

    For the record Jesus Christs’ first miracle was at the Wedding Feast of Cana.See John 2 ;1 to 11. He turned water into wine. From this passage we get the idea of serving the best stuff first and the crap last etc.

    So Christ is not the stiff that so many would make Him out to be . Lighten up and have a drink or two, enjoy your lives , there’s alot to enjoy , just don’t be an arsehole while you’re about it. Chin chin, bottoms up and good health.

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  101. RWood (18 comments) says:

    The drug laws are not working. I doubt if the braindead that dominate both Labour and National will ever move to change them. Well done, Simon Pitiful. Big Bruv – you are appropriately named.

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  102. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    fuck off..!..kowtow..!

    take yr childish god-bothering-thread hijack somewhere else..

    adults are talking…

    and if you like..the first ‘miracle’ was the wonder-herb/healing agent..cannabis..

    ponder that..oh delusional one..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  103. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    “.. I have already reported on half of this story….(cannabis grows brain cells..15/10/05..)….how contrary to popular thought marijuana dosen’t kill brain cells….it grows them…

    Then how come most cannabis users are thick as pig shit? (Or can’t put together a coherent sentance eh phil”……” whoar)Most of the people I went to school with who continued using well in adult life are no hopers working dead end jobs, most are too damn slow to have a conversation with, no ambition, no drive or desire. Shit phil, if you are the poster boy for de-criminalising marijuana, then you’ve got no hope in hell.

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  104. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..Think I’d rather take up smoking again……”

    yeah..your ‘choice’..eh..?

    that’s all pot-users are asking for..

    and you are correct..cannabis does not make dumb people smart..

    ..and neither does it make smart people dumb…

    it is just ‘pot’..eh..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  105. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @Bevan: “Then how come most cannabis users are thick as pig shit? (Or can’t put together a coherent sentance eh phil”……” whoar)Most of the people I went to school with who continued using well in adult life are no hopers working dead end jobs, most are too damn slow to have a conversation with, no ambition, no drive or desire.”

    Correlation does not mean causation. An alternative but equally viable view would be that no-hopers are attracted to cannabis. You are also extrapolating from the personal to make conclusions about the mass. For example, somebody else could know many pot users who are intelligent and successful and use it to wind down from their good jobs. Would it then be correct to extrapolate that most cannabis users are likely to be intelligent, successful and have good jobs?

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  106. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    Of course the drug laws aren’t working and Simon Power with his strong catholic background is certainly the wrong person to make a decision about changing drug laws!

    People like Big Bruv and Simon fail to take any account of human behaviour. Sure, the worst drugs probably should be illegal but stuff like Ectasy that is relatively harmless should just be regulated. Let people experiment with relatively safe regulated drugs and take much of the power and revenue away from the criminals and gangs.

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  107. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Stop making the discussion about how harmful or not harmful substances are.

    You do not need to go further than recognising that you are not another adult’s nanny and the state should not be another adult’s nanny on your behalf.

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  108. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Lots of murders in the nanny state Ryan. This country has huge problems.

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  109. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    ryan..after decades of misinformation/lies/propaganda..

    every thread has to be argued..

    otherwise morons just parrot the idiocies..

    that then stand..unchallenged..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)..

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  110. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Phool addressing the drug issue with you is like talking to swamp hen on acid.

    Half the local prison population are high tonight.

    Simons say no P. What piffle.

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  111. Anthony (798 comments) says:

    The trouble with the full libertarian view is that fails to acknowledge that society as whole is better off with some controls on its members. But of course the human condition has to be recognised and the fact that controls can be counterproductive. It is a difficult balance but the current state of affairs with cheap, freely available alcohol and virtually everything else criminalised is just stupid!

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  112. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Simon Flower – It is hard to rehab prisoners in the sex offenders unit at camp rolly high on P!!@!!

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  113. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: In your view, taxation of the drugs (assuming you think they should be taxed) should cover indirect harm to society and should not be used to cover direct harm to the individual?

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  114. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    have you often ‘talked with swamp hens’..while on acid..have you..d4j..?

    did they have any (carlos castaneda-style) revelations for you..?

    those swamp-hens..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  115. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Ryan, I wasn’t being sarcastic at all! I haven’t got the data to hand, but I understand the harm to your lungs from cannabis is quite significantly more than cigarettes. I am not sure if 3 or 4 joints a day would match 20 cigarettes, but many people don’t smoke 20 cigarettes a day, while some of my clients admit to many more than 3 or 4 joints a day.

    Toad, I get to see the stoners being late all of the time. Costs the justice system a lot of money, plus a lot of annoyance for their defence lawyer.

    Repton, I know, that is why I put in the Stalinism bit.

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  116. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    With due respect Mr Smith how many criminal defence lawyers do you know with a raving P habit?

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  117. peggysue (4 comments) says:

    If anyone would like a 4 page pdf of a fairly recent definitive US study by Tashkin, of approx 2500 people that was random case-controlled etc – gold standard research – in terms of cancer and cannabis, you can email paula@norml.org.nz and she will send it to you.

    If she gets no replies, I will post that fact, and then we will know most of you claiming cannabis is dangerous in terms of cancer are full of crap.

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  118. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Dad, a client of mine once admitted to me that he sold some to a prominent criminal lawyer, but I have no way of knowing it to be true. Personally, I don’t know any who have a raving, or even a raging, P habit.

    Do you?

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  119. dad4justice (8,309 comments) says:

    Yes I do and so does many who work at Christchurch Courthouse. It’s the in house sick joke but I am not telling how widespread the problem is within the justice system.

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  120. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    @Ryan Sproull: In your view, taxation of the drugs (assuming you think they should be taxed) should cover indirect harm to society and should not be used to cover direct harm to the individual?

    In my view…

    If medicine is socialised, drugs should be taxed proportionally to the societal costs.
    If medicine is privatised, drugs should not be taxed any differently to any other good.

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  121. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    One problem with socialised medicine combined with the predominant attitude towards property is that it opens the door for every taxpayer to have a legitimate say in how you treat yourself.

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  122. kiki (425 comments) says:

    Sir Arthur “Douglas” Myers, KNZM, CBE[1] (born 1939) is a New Zealand businessman and one of the country’s richest men (#35 on the Forbes New Zealand and Australian Rich list, 2006, with net worth estimated at $350 million).

    He was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and the community in the New Year Honours announced on 31 December 2009

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Myers_(New_Zealand_businessman)

    and then this

    Ahe sentencing of convicted Picton drug dealer Gary Walter Tittleton was today adjourned to a later date, leaving unanswered the question of whether his home will be confiscated by the Crown.

    Tittleton, 63, described as a sickness beneficiary, was to have appeared in Blenheim District Court after earlier admitting charges of possession of nearly two-and-a-half kilograms of cannabis.

    The estimated street value was between $32,000 and $41,000.

    Albert Rhodes, a drug dealer with a long list of convictions in New Zealand, and who owes the Australian Government $20 million in a pecuniary penalty order, created legal history this month.

    http://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/6788990/drug-dealers-sentencing-adjourned/

    This is called HYPOCRISY a word our politicians hate so much they ban it’s use

    Drug are drugs, treat them equally and the people who deal with them. I would like to see Doug jailed and his ill-gotten gains confiscated.

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  123. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    frogblog is reporting a (remarkable?) consensus across the left/right of blogworld..

    ..in support of some logic/rationality around our drug laws..

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2010/02/12/an-extraordinary-blogroll-consensus-for-drug-law-reform/

    and even the herald is weighing in with an editorial chastising power for his prohibitionist premature ejaculation..

    will key/power ‘listen’..?

    and realise the prohibitionists are actually now an historical oddity..?

    (anyone up for a group breath-hold..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  124. big bruv (14,146 comments) says:

    Phool

    If anybody is a poster boy for the dangers of long term drug abuse it is you, as with so many of the causes you champion you actually do more damage than good.

    The law is not going to change, there is no government stupid enough to legalise drugs as they know it is a guaranteed vote loser.

    From a personal point of view, I enjoy the fact that this pisses you off.

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  125. James (1,338 comments) says:

    Prohibitionists are child killers……they effectively say to drug dealers “Come and get them!”

    What you put in your body is your business….no one elses.That the state makes it your business via taxation to pay for healthcare is a reason to end that system….not ban drugs.

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  126. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..The law is not going to change, there is no government stupid enough to legalise drugs as they know it is a guaranteed vote loser..”

    full legalisation/taxation is on the californian ballot at the end of the year..(and expected to pass..)..

    .and many other american states are planning similar moves..

    (the drip-drip is about to become a wave of/for change…)

    soon..we will have some of the most reactionary drug laws in the world..(way to go..!..eh..?..

    really..big bruv..it is only reactionary old farts like you..and the ‘drug-industry’/gangs..

    ..and the other silly old farts who inhabit talkback..and young farts like power…

    ..who still favor the madness of full prohibition..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  127. big bruv (14,146 comments) says:

    “Prohibitionists are child killers……they effectively say to drug dealers “Come and get them!”

    What a lot of emotional rubbish.

    Those who want to legalise drugs are the ones who have an eye on our kids, they are the ones who want to normalise drug taking.

    I love the libertarian bullshit line about ‘what you put in your body”, those who are its strongest supporters would soon go bleating to the government for tax payer hand outs when they want to attend rehab clinics.

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  128. malcolm (1,952 comments) says:

    If medicine is privatised, drugs should not be taxed any differently to any other good.

    Except health cost are but one of the societal costs of drugs. We also have P users running amok – robbing people’s houses, attacking with swords, taking hostages in shops etc. The justice system is a very course sieve for this behaviour and in any event it only punishes and incarcerates the offender. It in no way ameliorates the suffering and damage to everyone else.

    So, I would amend your statement as follows:

    If medicine is privatised, if any drug-facilitated crime gets the death penalty and if no welfare whatsoever is paid to drug users, then drugs should not be taxed any differently to any other good.

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  129. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    big bruv…how many times do you have to be told/shown that the countries with the most liberal laws..ie..netherlands..

    ..have the lowest drug use by their young people..

    ..before you ‘get it’..?

    ..and stop just parroting the same lies/misinformation that have fed the prohibitionist-industry..forever..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  130. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @Big Bruv: Certain drug taking is already normalised regardless of whether the law states it is legal or illegal. And there’s the crux of the matter, the laws are out of step with the times and do not succeed in their purpose. I for one don’t support failed policies.

    With regard to the “libertarians” you mention, if they went and bleated to the government for taxpayer handouts they would not be libertarians either in thought or in action. As for the suggestion that the strongest libertarian supporters will need to attend rehab clinics, well, I doubt you have any idea as to their drug habits, so your conclusion appears relatively specious. (I apologise in advance if you do have factual data on libertarian supporters drug habits showing that the strongest supporters will be likely to require rehab at some stage, and as such are making your conclusion based on evidence.)

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  131. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Has anyone said anything promoting legalising drugs for minors?

    It’s not about normalising drug taking. It’s about normalising adults making their own decisions without the state trying to be their mum.

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  132. big bruv (14,146 comments) says:

    “With regard to the “libertarians” you mention, if they went and bleated to the government for taxpayer handouts they would not be libertarians either in thought or in action.”

    Oh, so once they were hooked on these drugs that they are “free to put into their body” and decide that they want to come off (having lost everything they own feeding their drug habit) they would still remain ‘staunch’ to their libertarian values and die in the streets would they?

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  133. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Except health cost are but one of the societal costs of drugs. We also have P users running amok – robbing people’s houses, attacking with swords, taking hostages in shops etc. The justice system is a very course sieve for this behaviour and in any event it only punishes and incarcerates the offender. It in no way ameliorates the suffering and damage to everyone else.

    So, I would amend your statement as follows:

    If medicine is privatised, if any drug-facilitated crime gets the death penalty and if no welfare whatsoever is paid to drug users, then drugs should not be taxed any differently to any other good.

    I was thinking specifically of cannabis, which doesn’t have those problems.

    Crystal meth does seem to be to be a different question.

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  134. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Oh, so once they were hooked on these drugs that they are “free to put into their body” and decide that they want to come off (having lost everything they own feeding their drug habit) they would still remain ’staunch’ to their libertarian values and die in the streets would they?

    I expect most libertarians imagine that addiction is something that happens to other people.

    But then, the state isn’t the only agency possible of providing assistance to those in need.

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  135. JiveKitty (778 comments) says:

    @Big Bruv: You create a situation here to suit your purposes. They would not necessarily lose everything they own. Regardless, they wouldn’t be libertarians if they went cap in hand to the government.

    However, if following libertarian dictates (given that libertarians don’t just want drug reform in a vacuum of other political changes), the Government would also not be able to provide such a service, right? So in a libertarian system there wouldn’t be that recourse. So maybe fewer people would allow themselves to get into situations where they’re hooked on drugs (over time), as to do so would be a far riskier proposition. Nonetheless, this all buys into your unsubstantiated proposition that the strongest libertarian supporters will be needing to attend rehab clinics, so it’s a moot point really, as we’re considering an irrelevant hypothetical situation which you are framing to suit your purposes.

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  136. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “The trouble with the full libertarian view is that fails to acknowledge that society as whole is better off with some controls on its members.”

    The controls are already there in the form of individual rights.In a Libertarian society the State exists souly to protect these rights.Remember that “Society” doesn’t exist….its a non existent abstraction compiled by the actual living individuals who compose it.Whats good for the individual is by default good for society…..but it is not true in reverse as “societys” good can be warped into whatever form politicians etc may try to enact and tryanny follows.

    Ryan: “One problem with socialised medicine combined with the predominant attitude towards property is that it opens the door for every taxpayer to have a legitimate say in how you treat yourself.”

    Exactly.If people were no forced to pay for others they would be far less inclined to stick their noses into other peoples lives.I personally don’t care what consenting adults put in their bodies….but I resent having to pay for the consequences.

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  137. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    “..but I resent having to pay for the consequences..”

    gee james..!..

    better hope you never get ‘sick’-er..

    eh..?

    prefer to just step over widows and orphans in gutters..do you..?..

    the milk of human kindness pours from you in a torrent..?

    dogs ‘like’ you..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  138. Ryan Sproull (7,279 comments) says:

    Exactly.If people were no forced to pay for others they would be far less inclined to stick their noses into other peoples lives.I personally don’t care what consenting adults put in their bodies….but I resent having to pay for the consequences.

    It could be argued that you’re paying far more tax now to maintain this ridiculous ban on cannabis than you would have to pay for any health-related consequences – and that’s before even considering the tax revenue from the newly taxed cannabis industry.

    I prefer not to argue that point, because it’s a clear question of principle – it’s no one else’s business if an adult chooses to take drugs or not. Quibbling over the negligible difference in tax cost is of vastly less importance to me than individual liberty.

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  139. kiki (425 comments) says:

    6000 dead Mexicans a year for Americas war on drugs

    How moral is you war on drugs?

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  140. drgonzo (2 comments) says:

    currently costs us $50k/year to keep a drug dealer in prison, not to mention cost of police/courts/legal aid etc, and the demand remains the same, and there’s no gst or income tax paid on drug dealer’s income (much of which ends up in the clutches of organised crime).

    legalise and tax the less harmful drugs – cannabis, ecstasy, lsd (all of which are much safer than alcohol or tobacco). save vast amounts on legal costs, and gain a new stream of tax revenue. spend the savings/profits on rehab, anti-drug advertising campaigns and policing of serious/violent crime.

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  141. James (1,338 comments) says:

    “.but I resent having to pay for the consequences..”

    gee james..!..

    better hope you never get ’sick’-er..”

    I will lower myself to respond to this fuckwit bludger just once…

    I make the effort to pay for private health cover….alongside whats stolen to support self inflicted scumbags like you Phil…and I do that from a wage below the average.Even if I do get sick that still puts no obligation on anyone else to pay for my healthcare….I don’t do slavery….unlike some.

    The fact is no one would miss out on needed care if we simply allowed people to retain and spend their own money on their own health care…which is the practicle and the MORAL thing to do.As to helping those less fortunate theers a thing called charity Phil…something Kiwis are pretty good at but are finding harder to engage in as your bloated State keeps robbing them of the descretionary income that they could give to help and instead spends it on a one size fits no-one die while you wait system.

    You socialists claim healthcare is a right Phil…..did you know not one socialized healthcare system anywhere has ever delivered on this right?

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  142. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    um..!..off-topic there..james..but those countries deemed ‘the happiest in the world’..do..eh..?

    one thing they all have in common..is ‘socialised healthcare’..as you call it..

    tho’..i am not sure wtf that has to do with the cannabis prohibition laws..

    ..eh..?

    ..what ‘health consequences’….?

    ..from cannabis..?

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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