Brash calls for cannabis decriminalisation

September 25th, 2011 at 10:12 am by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

leader is calling for the decriminalisation of .

He says prohibition of the drug hasn’t worked, and policing it costs millions of tax payer dollars and clogs up the court system.

He’s told TVNZ’s Q&A programme there are other ways to restrict the use of marijuana.

“It’s estimated thousands of New Zealanders use cannabis on a fairly regular basis, 6,000 are prosecuted every year, a $100million of tax payers money is spent to police this law,” says My Brash.

I’m delighted to see ACT pushing socially liberal policies as well as economically liberal policies. And I agree with Don – I do think cannabis should be decriminalised, with the emphasis being to treat it as a health issue.

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155 Responses to “Brash calls for cannabis decriminalisation”

  1. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    ACT gets my party vote.

    This isn’t populism, as it is consistent with libertarian ideals. Populism is vote soliciting *in spite of* political ideals.

    Good on Don for having the balls to stand up to the conservatives.

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  2. Graeme Edgeler (3,280 comments) says:

    I think I recall John Boscawen favouring taxing tobacco out of existence.

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  3. decanker (222 comments) says:

    How does that work for social conservative John Banks? I’d be very surprised if most of his Remmers voters supported decriminalisation. I suppose it’d make it easier to supply their private school parties though, just don’t let the poor people get their hands on it.

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  4. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    , with the emphasis being to treat it as a health issue.

    Which seems to imply you think there is something unhealthy about cannabis.

    It is not addictive in the way alcohol, nicotine, meth, etc are addictive.

    It does not lead to random violince in the way alcohol, meth, etc do.

    It does not lead to early death in the way alcohol, nicotine, etc do.

    And it is also advantageous in the treatment of glaucoma, AIDS, cancer, etc.

    [DPF: Heavy use turns some people into morons. I've seen my share of them. So please don't pretend it is healthy]

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  5. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    I recall an ACT meeting many moons ago when Stephen Franks asked the question of those present (around 60) with regard to cannabis, who favoured decriminalisation: the status quo; or upping the war on it? The response was a fairly even three-way split. A lot of Brash followers won’t be happy with this and he knows it. Top marks from me. For having the courage of his convictions and talking sense.

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  6. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Lindsay

    Are you certain that he is “having the courage of his convictions and talking sense” or is the issue only being used for the publicity it will generate & doomed to be shelved after the election?

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  7. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Jack – “Which seems to imply you think there is something unhealthy about cannabis.”

    What!? Are you saying it is harmless?? Get real FFS.

    For the many who abuse it by smoking it regularly, there are proven psychotic disorders associated with it as well as your common or garden pulmonary and respiratory diseases.

    But by the same token, abusers are not necessarily criminals.

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  8. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Scott, by using the term “abuse” you are implying that there is certainly a healthy use of cannabis.

    Are the psychotic disorders triggered by cannabis, or are the psychotic attracted to cannabis?

    Smoking is not the sole delivery method. It can be eaten, cannabinoids can be isolated and provided in a pill or capsule. Also, those who Do smoke cannabis smoke far less as a rule that those addicted to nicotine.

    But by the same token, abusers are not necessarily criminals.

    But they are, as are all users of cannabis. That is the law. The point is that they should not be criminals, that drugs should be available and that those with an addiction problem should be seen as ill, not criminal. Just like alcoholics, excessive gamblers, etc.

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  9. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    nasska, I am “certain” of very little when it comes to politics. But on the face of it Brash made a factual statement and took a position about an issue most politicians run a mile from.

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  10. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    Very pleased that Brash is restarting the conversation on cannabis. It seems like most politicians over the last twenty years have put it in the too hard basket. My only problem with what he said is that decriminalisation still leaves too much power in the hands of the gangs, and the only way to get rid of all the problems of prohibition is to completely legalize sale and manufacture as well.

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  11. Longknives (4,686 comments) says:

    MyNameisJack- You appear to be implying that smoking Cannabis is good for you?? Strangely my friends who work in the Mental Health and Medical Professions state otherwise….but I guess potheads know more about the ‘sacred herb’ eh??

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  12. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Excellent call and about time, too!

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  13. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Jack – “by using the term “abuse” you are implying that there is certainly a healthy use of cannabis.”

    Yes, with the qualification that it be used in moderation (maybe twice a week) and I recommend the THC be administered in spray or pill form, despite the joys of a good toke.

    Having *abused* myself with it as a younger man, I am also well aware of it’s dangers, as well as it’s effectiveness as an analgesic.

    If you are pro legalization or decriminalization, I suggest you don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth.

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  14. iMP (2,349 comments) says:

    The real social impact is marijuana use on growing teenage brains. bab bad bad. Why would we go there?

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  15. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > I think I recall John Boscawen favouring taxing tobacco out of existence.

    Prsumably ACT would want high taxes imposed on marijuana.

    > Heavy use turns some people into morons.

    You’re pre-supposing they weren’t morons before they became users. :)

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  16. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    > The real social impact is marijuana use on growing teenage brains. bab bad bad. Why would we go there?

    Well, we wouldn’t. Like tobacco and alcohol, there’d be an age restriction. Of course it’s fair to say that teens can and do already have access to the drug.

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  17. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Nothing related to drugs is a simple solution.

    It is not addictive

    How much is it related to work apathy and benefit addiction?

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  18. pdm (842 comments) says:

    Under no circumstances should Cannabis be decriminalised.

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  19. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Gueez wept … He’s really lost it to think that going after the ‘dope’ vote will somehow enhance ACT. The Greens have got the druggies vote sewn up so just why he thinks that prostituting our kids future is kinda smart beats me.

    John Banks will be shitting bricks.

    Let me be a little more specific. Show me a Class A drug user who did not start out with the odd ‘joint’ or two and I’ll show you a liar.

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  20. Griff (7,233 comments) says:

    There is no consensuses in the scientific community as to cannabis use is the cause of the mental problems, whether the mental problems encourage cannabis use, or whether both the cannabis use and the mental problems are the effects of some other cause.

    Due to the non regulation of this market it is easier for young people to get marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol prohibition actually increases the risk to young people

    . Primary psychoactive effects include a state of relaxation, and to a lesser degree, euphoria from its main psychoactive compound, tetrahydrocannabinol.
    Secondary psychoactive effects, such as a facility for philosophical thinking; introspection and metacognition have been reported
    Scott right up Your alley!

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  21. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    @Ross
    “Of course it’s fair to say that teens can and do already have access to the drug.”
    True.
    But would legalising it cause an increase in the use of it?
    It is also fair to say that it being illegal acts as a deterrent for prospective users.

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  22. Spoon (104 comments) says:

    Misread that as I was scrolling down as “Brash calls for Cannabalism Decriminalisation”. Thought it was an interesting policy…

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  23. George Patton (352 comments) says:

    Some people here don’t seem to understand what decriminalization means.

    Under the ACT policy, marijuana would still be illegal to grow or use.

    It would NOT be taxed, because taxing means it would be legal.

    What they are saying, is that those who would be caught with a small amount for personal use would presumably be fined, or warned, and have the drug confiscated by police for destruction. They may also be relaxing rules around marijuana use for medical purposes, like in California where there are co-operatives who share their marijuana through a medically endorsed co-operative.

    Presumably those who grow or deal in drugs would receive the full force of the law.

    I get the impression that ACT are trying to say that a 16 year old who gets a criminal record from possessing a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption would suffer more from lost job opportunities etc, than smoking the offending item.

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  24. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    John Banks will be shitting bricks.

    Banksie should go back to Labour lite, where he belongs.

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  25. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    pdm – “Under no circumstances should Cannabis be decriminalised.”

    Why?

    George Patton

    It is a step in the right direction, but he has a conservative faction to appease as well. See pdm’s post.

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  26. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    A vast amount of scientific research has shown that heavy marijuana use negatively affects smokers’ learning abilities and social skills, causing problems in their daily lives and compounding their existing problems.
    The National Institute on Drug Abuse has surveyed and compiled 11 scientific research studies that have demonstrated that heavy marijuana use, defined as smoking marijuana 27 days in the past 30 days, has a significant impact on users’ ability to learn, remember what they learned and function in society.

    Effects of Heavy Marijuana Use

    According to these researchers, heavy marijuana use can:
    •Can contribute to depression, anxiety and personality disorders.
    •Compromises the ability to learn and remember information, making it more likely to fall behind the norm on developing intellectual, job and social skills.
    •Affecst the user’s ability to remember and learn for days or even weeks after abstinence from smoking.
    Effects on Students
    Daily marijuana use has been shown to:
    •Cause users to get lower grades and become less likely to graduate, compared to students who do not smoke.
    •Significantly impairs skills related to attention, memory and learning even after not smoking for 24 hours.
    •Causes problems in sustaining and shifting attention.
    •Affects the ability to register, organize and use information, even compared to occasional users of marijuana.
    •Impairs users’ ability to recall words from a list even a week after quitting marijuana use.
    Effects on Work Performance
    These are some of the findings from research of heavy marijuana users in the workplace:
    •Workers who smoke marijuana are more likely to experience increased absences, tardiness, accidents, workers’ compensation claims, and job turnover.
    •Workers who test positive for marijuana use have 55 percent more industrial accidents, 85 percent more injuries and a 75-percent increase in absenteeism compared to non-smokers.
    •Heavy marijuana abusers self-report that their use of the drug had negative effects on their cognitive abilities, career status, social life, and physical and mental health.
    •According to the NIDA, the conclusion that can be drawn from this scientific research is: someone who smokes marijuana every day may be functioning at a reduced intellectual level all of the time, even during periods of brief abstinence.
    •The good news for heavy marijuana users is the same research shows that cognitive abilities begin to return after four weeks, even after long-term daily use of the drug.

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  27. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Ross Miller

    …”Show me a Class A drug user who did not start out with the odd ‘joint’ or two and I’ll show you a liar.”….

    The corollary of this statement has to be that few people who drink a flagon of sweet sherry a day didn’t start out with a couple of beers.

    In any case I suspect that Don’s epiphany will have more to do with free publicity than libertarian values. You probably have little to be concerned about but it is giving me great enjoyment imagining that shining example of Wankin Man explaining ACT’s new policies to the good folks of Remuera.

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  28. Inventory2 (10,262 comments) says:

    Can you imagine it; Phillip Ure votes Act!

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  29. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Can you imagine it; Phillip Ure votes Act!

    Very perceptive, indeed. Supreme example of the law of unintended consequences.

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  30. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Other Andy

    To show that you have an open mind on the subject of recreational drugs & are not merely decrying use of marijuana could you post a similar list of the effects of alcohol on the body & brain of the user?

    Then the followers of this thread would be able to weigh up the pros & cons & make their own decisions.

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  31. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    I knew Don was desperate but this is just sad. A party with no policy comes out with this shit to try and garner some publicity.What are his other ways? FFS

    Why would you waste a vote on this silly old prick?

    And to the totally gormless he is saying decriminalize not legalize, major difference

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  32. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Manolo … pretty harsh considering John Banks is ACT’s only lifeline to the future. I repeat again what I have said previously. National needs ACT in the same way as Labour needs the Greens; Winston First and the Mana Party. But this announcement will not, I suspect, grow the ACT vote. It may instead have the effect of shedding some of their more conservative (small ‘c’) vote.

    Rates right up there on the scale of dumb.

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  33. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    @nasska

    “Other Andy
    To show that you have an open mind on the subject of recreational drugs & are not merely decrying use of marijuana could you post a similar list of the effects of alcohol on the body & brain of the user?”

    1. I posted this because this post is about cannabis, not about alcohol.
    2. I posted this because reading the comments in the General Comments and here, some still suggest there is nothing wrong with using cannabis. Everybody knows the harmfull affects of drinking alcohol on a regular basis (I hope).
    2. The effects of alcohol on the body & brain of the user are probably more long term and therefor worse. Saying that, I am concerned with the use of cannabis by students in New Zealand schools. How many students have learning difficulties in New Zealand schools because of alcohol, compared to cannabis?

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  34. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Re cannabis v alcohol use by young people, especially students – is alcohol more likely to be more of a weekend binge problem compared to cannabis affecting more during the week? Alcohol is more of a party drug, cannabis is used more casually.

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  35. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Other_Andy

    Fair comments. My rationale is that the second marijuana usage comes up for discussion debate gets shut down or drowned out by those who will not consider that alcohol can be a greater evil.

    The effects of both on school age children are bad, very bad.

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  36. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    iMP – “The real social impact is marijuana use on growing teenage brains. bab bad bad. Why would we go there?”

    We’re already there. Do you think it is easier to convince a teen to moderate or abstain from cannabis use, if you alienate him by making him a criminal as well?

    Prohibition generates an adversarial culture of “us verses them” which cultivates anti-government and an anti-social attitudes, as well as endowing pot with rebel mystique.

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  37. plebe (271 comments) says:

    Brash,a ancient stoner :o)

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  38. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Scott Chris

    Usual load of wank, …look if you want to smoke dope, fill ya boots, personally I couldn’t care less, but any thought of decriminalizing sends a signal to the wet brains out there that its OK to be twisted all day and do less than they do now.

    If you havn’t figured out that sitting on your arse all day and not contributing to society is in fact anti socail, I feel for you.

    And I know by even buying into your clap trap the thread will now be filled with such insightful comments along the lines of “rebel mystique” but FFS, get out more.

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  39. Griff (7,233 comments) says:

    Other_Andy
    http://www.fan.org.nz/
    Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is recognised as the leading preventable cause of mental retardation in the developed world

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  40. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    The major concern of legalizing/decriminalization is that people who were previously not prepared to try the drug because of its legal status will try it and then become addicted. However, those sort of people are unlikely to become addicted precisely because the sort of people who actually pay attention to what the law says are usually people with a fair bit of self control. The possibility of ensnaring people with the legal status of the drug would be small, and in fact offset by the renewed ability to treat existing addicts without fear of arrest or criminal sanction.

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  41. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    if you want to smoke dope, fill ya boots, personally I couldn’t care less, but any thought of decriminalizing sends a signal to the wet brains out there that its OK to be twisted all day and do less than they do now.

    Why do you have a problem with idleness? The real problem is that the government pays people to be idle. If they stopped doing that, dope smoking idleness would harm no-one but the fools who engaged in it.

    The “sends a signal” argument is nonsense. There is no law against adultery, but nobody argues that the government is “sending a signal” that it’s okay to cheat on your wife! The government has no place determining or legislating morality – that’s up to individuals, families, churches, and their ability to exercise free speech.

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  42. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    BlairM

    And more wank, actually you have taken it to another level Blair. Read your comment , you are usually a lot sharper

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  43. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    I thought Don Brash and the ACT policies were to help National steer away from the more radical elements.. Instead with this policy Don and ACT are helping the more radical elements and the Greens be more mainstream.

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  44. Shunda barunda (2,977 comments) says:

    Don Brash is dazed and confused.

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  45. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    BlairM
    ….The major concern of legalizing/decriminalization is that people who were previously not prepared to try the drug

    You are just about right there, its not about the addiction, its that they don’t have the guts to do it now because its illegal, speedings illegal, lots do it, if you get caught , tough luck, same with dope, fill ya boots, just don’t whinge to me if you loose your job when you fail a piss test.

    I get the impression here that lots want it decriminalised so they can smoke without any risk of a negative consequence, like loosing access right to the US and loosing jobs by bad tests.

    Smacks of total selfeishness my theroy

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  46. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    @Griff (832)

    “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is recognised as the leading preventable cause of mental retardation in the developed world”

    Tell me something I don’t know.
    Quite a few years ago while traveling up North I stayed at the pub in Whangaroa. It was Saturday night and the pub was filled with locals. Half of them were smoking cannabis (outside) and it was almost possible to get a high just by standing near the open window. We were standing inside next to a heavily pregnant intoxicated woman who was smoking and thought it was hilarious she was able to balance a bottle of Lion Red on her belly.
    No need to say that when the pub closed all the locals, heavily under the influence of cannabis and alcohol, hopped in their cars and drove home.

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  47. decanker (222 comments) says:

    Stephen Joyce is running this ACT/National campaign for sole National governance very shrewdly I have to say. How much was Brash paid to be the fall guy? He certainly has the unmerciful, say-what-he’s-paid-to, value-set.

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  48. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay – “Usual load of wank”

    You have been on the frontline, so you know all about the ‘us and them’ mentality. I put it to you that you are still suffering the same delusion that pot smokers are scum because of the way they reacted to you as a cop. Thing is, they think you’re scum too.

    Your solution is to draw a line and label anyone who crosses it to be the enemy.

    I’m suggesting we build bridges, you suggest we build walls.

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  49. tvb (4,313 comments) says:

    It sure is a health issue. The mental health wards are full of people who abuse cannabis. While it is illegal it makes it hard to get for people who intend to respect the law. And that is most of us. No one in my social circle or family except for a couple of losers touch the stuff. Keep it illegal, keep policing it and one day we may be able to treat it using drugs and eliminate it from our lives. And that goes for other drugs and some progress is being made there. One day we will do this to alcohol.

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  50. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    There probably is an element of selfishness involved but that would hold true in many subjects. To me it is more a case of hypocrisy in that alcohol which causes a great deal of harm to many is state sanctioned whilst the weed is demonised. In most things you show balance but I think that your previous work experiences may have made you a little one eyed in this instance. The vast majority of people will take a toke on a joint being passed around a social gathering & be no more effected than dear old Aunt Doris who slams a sherry into her head every Christmas.

    My own interest is that I’m a dry alkie who would no more dare to sniff the cork of a wine bottle but a drag of joint can be pleasurable in a social context.

    Selfish…possibly but not exactly an action threatening the social structure of NZ.

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  51. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    @Griff

    And here are the effects on the unborn child when smoking cannabis.

    Exposure to a cannabis in the womb could cause children to experience learning difficulties and hyperactivity, researchers suggest.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/2871901.stm

    However, some websites suggest otherwise.

    However studies in populations that use cannabis socially (Costa Rica and Jamaica) have shown that there is no negative effect on the unborn child. The studies that do show a negative effect need to be checked to make sure that it is not some other factor such as poverty that causes the effect. Ellen Komp has spent a lot of time researching the subject and she has written this article for Holy Smoke magazine, which sums up the scientific knowledge.
    http://www.greencross.org.nz/greencross/?sub=labour_menstrual_problems

    Holy Smoke Magazine….

    I will leave it up to you to determine the validity of the source.

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  52. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Nasska……possibly but not exactly an action threatening the social structure of NZ….

    Absolutely true so why is the leader of a poltical party wasting time even talking about this shit. It sounds like Gordon Brown saying to the press that he rocked on to the Artic Monkeys on his Ipod when it was realized he was boring one dimensional Scots git who was bankrupting the Uk, just publicity gathering. he may have to.. . have the courage to change the things he can .. and not be distracted

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  53. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    To all of you who are railing against decriminalization of cannabis, but are in favour of economic libertarianism, how on earth do you reconcile a liberal philosophy which advocates the notion that a free market generates the best business environment, but on the other hand advocate the notion that the same formula will not work in a social environment.

    What you are effectively saying is that freedom of choice is good *and* freedom of choice is bad. It makes no sense.

    Please explain this logical anomaly.

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  54. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Pauleastbay

    …”so why is the leader of a poltical party wasting time even talking about this shit.”….

    Free publicity.

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  55. Chuck Bird (4,821 comments) says:

    The following is a quote from Don’s speech today.

    “Let me be absolutely clear: I’m not saying it’s now ACT policy to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. I’m simply saying it’s my personal view that we should give the idea serious consideration as there are some strong arguments in its favour – arguments supported by some seriously sober and responsible national and international leaders.”

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  56. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    Scott Chris
    “Please explain this logical anomaly.”

    I’ll give it a try.
    Open to discussion…..

    Freedom comes with responsibility and your freedom should not impact on the freedom of others.

    You have the freedom to drive around without a seat belt, but when you get injured don’t depend on others to pay the cost.
    You don’t have the freedom to drive drunk on a public road as you are infringing on the right of others to be able to drive a car in safety.
    Smoke as much cannabis as you like but:
    When pregnant you need to consider the unborn child.
    Don’t put the safety of others into jeopardy.
    When dismissed from your job because you are under the influence don’t claim a benefit.

    No logical anomaly.

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  57. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Scott Chris – trying to apply idealistic philosophies to all situations without making any exceptions often ends up making no sense.

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  58. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Other_Andy – “Freedom comes with responsibility and your freedom should not impact on the freedom of others.”

    But surely the free market mechanism, based on notions of Natural Law, works through a system of attrition and self correction *which is unregulated*

    Why reject regulation as meddlesome and counterproductive in one system, and on the other hand embrace regulation for another system which *runs according to the same rules*

    I propose that there is no difference between evolution of the market place and evolution of society in terms of the mechanism and dynamics of Natural Law.

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  59. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    As usual , great posts Other Andy.
    Brash cuts a lonely figure. Last man standing apart from a few on here. Why would anyone promote something so detrimental to the health of the nation?

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  60. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    It would appear to be a fairly lukewarm call by Brash.

    In his speech this afternoon, he said the party’s policy on law and order was still a work in progress and he was only outlining ”the kind of thinking” that would shape it.

    ”I’m not saying it’s now ACT policy to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. I’m simply saying it’s my personal view that we should give the idea serious consideration as there are some strong arguments in its favour – arguments supported by some seriously sober and responsible national and international leaders,” he said.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5680593/Don-Brash-backs-marijuana-decriminalisation

    Maybe he’s basing his public ponderings on family reasons.

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  61. backster (2,139 comments) says:

    Chuck/George Patton……..On Q&A Don suggested that $100 million a year would be saved…..Sorry if it is treated as a Health issue there won’t be any saving just the opposite. $100 million a year isn’t being spent on users and people in possession, indeed in my time in the Police very little effort was directed at them.It was often used as a holding charge while evidence of more serious though often related matters was gathered. It is spent on locating the plantations in which the plants are illegally grown, there would need to be legal growers or else the gangs and the bros up North would still control the horticulture and sale.

    Legalisation would see the youth of the country show the industry and enterprise of the people of North Auckland, indeed nationwide youth unemployment and the percentage of people who admit to using the drug seem to approximate.

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  62. Other_Andy (2,562 comments) says:

    “But surely the free market mechanism, based on notions of Natural Law, works through a system of attrition and self correction *which is unregulated*
    Why reject regulation as meddlesome and counterproductive in one system, and on the other hand embrace regulation for another system which *runs according to the same rules*”

    I don’t reject regulation (See the examples in my previous post) in either the market place or in a social environment.
    It is the scope of a lot of the regulations I reject.

    A free market doesn’t mean you can do what you like and obtain money fraudulently.
    Even in a free market there is a need for taxes (National defence, police & Border control etc.) and regulations (Contract laws, laws against insider trading etc.) but it needs to be kept to a minimum.
    A free society doesn’t mean you can do what you like.
    Again, “Freedom comes with responsibility and your freedom should not impact on the freedom of others.”
    Liberals are not anarchists.

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  63. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Pete George – “trying to apply idealistic philosophies to all situations without making any exceptions often ends up making no sense”

    Pete, I use the most basic and fundamental tools of philosophy to pare an idea back to its bones:

    Logic and Natural Law, tempered with relative morality.

    I work under the assumption that government’s function is to resolve conflicts of interest in the best possible way.

    There is no clearer way of *objectively* looking at ideas that I know of.

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  64. DJP6-25 (1,353 comments) says:

    Legalize the lot, and forget about the ‘war on drugs’. Watch gang revenues plummet. Watch drug related crime plummet too.
    It’s good to see ACT coming up with a proper classical liberal policy.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  65. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    Other_Andy (424) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 11:37 am

    @Ross
    “Of course it’s fair to say that teens can and do already have access to the drug.”
    True.
    But would legalising it cause an increase in the use of it?

    It is also fair to say that it being illegal acts as a deterrent for prospective users.

    Nope it don’t.

    It attracks your’s and my tax money to prop up the Pauleastbays of this world with their hollier than thou attitudes towards control of others. It gives license to plods to abuse and impose their police state mentality upon otherwise harmless tax paying citizens going about their day to day lawful business. It is used to justify their pay packets.
    Its worse than their attitude to speed camera’s and we all know how we dislike them and the deceitful way in which they are used. Next only to tow truck operators and parking wardens. That’s about as low as the police can go.

    Their war against citizens has been going on now for what, say 40 years, and other than criminalize Kiwi’s and bolster the gang funds, hurt citizens completely unnecessarily, prop up police funds, increase the costs to NZ citizens can they or any of you point to anything that it has achieved.

    No and you never will be able too.

    The police in NZ (like other places0< in cahoots with politicians have moved from their true role as it should be to Govt. revenue collectors.

    Think of the revenue to be obtained and saved if the dope was decriminalized.

    40 years and nothing achieved or changed.
    5 or 6 years of workplace testing and changes are happening.
    Private Enterprise works again.
    Laws Fail

    Who is surprised?

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  66. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Other_Andy – “A free market doesn’t mean you can do what you like and obtain money fraudulently”

    In a purely free market, *anything goes*

    This is called Anarchy. Any regulation interferes with Natural Law.

    Most of inter-party sniping revolves around arguments for the most effective system of intervention.

    Fact is, we’re all interventionists (apart from pure anarchists), its just a question of to what degree, and by which mechanism.

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  67. Courage Wolf (559 comments) says:

    Shunda barunda (1,941) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Don Brash is dazed and confused.

    True to fundamentalist Christian fashion, you come into a thread surrounding an issue the mainstream Church has irrational views against, take a cheap shot without offering any sort of discussion to back up your point and make it a personal attack on to the person advocating it.

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  68. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    I wasn’t going to comment on this, as my views are well known on this and I would just be debating the same thing with the same people. But I do want to point out to Scott Chris re your 1.23pm comment to Pauleastbay, that I work on the opposite side to Paul but I also agree with him on the topic.

    Also, responding to this comment

    dope smoking idleness would harm no-one but the fools who engaged in it.

    by BlairM at 12.59pm,  can I just point out that this concept of drug use being having no effects outside of the user is just rubbish.  It does have a detrimental effect on other people (which takes it out of the libertarian positives, doesn’t it?), in that it effects the children, the parents, the partners and the friends of the users.  The regular users that I have represented have almost all had kids, and usually had them young, and are happy to indulge in both tobacco and cannabis in the children’s presence.  As an interesting aside, almost all of the people that criminal lawyers see are tobacco users.  I don’t know why that is.

    If you say this should be dealt with by the health system then you are deluded.  Cannabis users are one group of person who don’t want help.  They never do.  Unlike the so-called ‘hard’ drug users they don’t suffer noticeable physical effects from the drug, and the psychological effects are such that they don’t really notice the psychological effects, or, if they do, they don’t care about them.

    But why stop at cannabis?  If you are going to be consistent as a libertarian, surely all drugs of any sort should be legal?  Including P, or is that just too much?

    Oh, and MNIJ, I usually ignore your comments, but you really take the cake with your earliest one here.  You engage in the usual misleading use of language.  Cannabis may not be phsycially addictive, but it does lead to psychological dependance, which is more or less the same thing.  And it does lead to an early death like tobacco does, as one joint is far higher in toxic chemicals than one cigarette.  Or even several cigarettes, if I remember correctly.  Seeing as I have known users who have admitted smoking 7 to 10 joints a day, that means a lot of toxic chemicals. Which they consume on top of their tobacco addiction!  And, no, cannabis does not lead to violence, it generally leads to apathy and uselessness, and to dependence upon society for money through the benefit.  Which they will get because it will be treated by the health system and therefore regular/heavy users who become useless (as they all do) will be eligible for the sickness benefit. 

    I must say that I am disappointed in Dr Brash with this one.  If the Act board adopts this as policy then I may have to vote United Future (as there is no way National will be getting my vote).

    EDIT: David Prosser, drug related crime won’t plummet, because people who are regular users almost always end up unable to work, so have to resort to an easier, if more risky, method of revenue gathering. But, tell me this, would you legalise P?

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  69. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    One more thing: some here say to legalise and tax cannabis. But if you are to tax it, don’t you need to then make it illegal to grow it privately, like they do with tobacco? If you do that, then don’t you run in to real problems in a country where cannabis growing is so easy?

    Or do you criminalise growing it for private use, but not police that particular law, thus setting yourself up for huge tax evasion?

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  70. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    V2

    Christ, here has been no “war against drugs” in New Zealand, you’ve had the Police and Customs enforcing statutes passed by the Parliament of New Zealand.

    There is no money to be saved by decriminalization you silly old bugger, legalization would enable enforcing of taxation etc but not decriminalization.

    Answer this V2 and others , why did a liberal state like California, re-criminalize cannabis after a period of de-criminalization?.
    Why are the Dutch looking at tightening up their ‘coffee shops’?. Actually read up on the anomalies concerning the coffee shops getting their drugs.

    Do you imagine that nothing will be done about the 10,000 plants that will be growing in a couple of maize paddocks down the coast from me shortly? Of course they will, they will still spray, they will still prosecute people for quantities for supply. If you had any idea of what you were talking about you would know that its very rare for anyone to get prosecuted a small amount of pot.

    There is no money to be saved just a can of social worms that it is guaranteed that politicians want be able to control

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  71. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    and one more thing concerning ACT, Brash will run a mile from this statement of his over the week, he had a senior moment and it will bite him on the arse

    Also John Archibald Banks, love him or hate him, was brought up in a criminal household and I can imagine he will be very very pissed off with Brash running off at the mouth like this

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  72. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    What!? Are you saying it is harmless?? Get real FFS.

    For the many who abuse it by smoking it regularly, there are proven psychotic disorders associated with it as well as your common or garden pulmonary and respiratory diseases.

    But by the same token, abusers are not necessarily criminals.

    ———————————————–

    As usual it’s all a matter of perspective. This is no different to drinkers saying there’s nothing harmful about alcohol.

    There is no substantive evidence that cannabis use *causes* psychotic disorders, rather the evidence points to the fact that those who suffer from mental health problems after using cannabis are already predisposed to schizophrenia and have a family history of the disease. Also, the propensity for other mental health issues such as depression is no more pronounced than alcohol and in my view there is more evidence to implicate alcohol in long term mental health problems as compared to cannabis.

    Secondly there is inconclusive evidence about the impact of Cannabis on the lungs though suffice to say I’ve always thought that the lungs weren’t meant to inhale smoke so it’s a fair bet inhaling Cannabis smoke will cause issues. Although Cannabis can be consumed by a vaporizer which appears safe in that respect.

    Thirdly, Cannabis *abuse* does have short term effects on memory but when compared to alcohol abuse I’d rate Cannabis the safer drug given the danger of alcohol withdrawal among many other health impacts.

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  73. JMS (317 comments) says:

    Just as every adult should be able to choose what he or she does or does not put into his or her own body, so should the state be able to choose what it does or does not put into beneficiaries bank accounts. Fail a drug test = no benefit. Private companies have drug testing regimes, why can’t WINZ?
    If drugs lead to idleness and welfare dependancy, ban the benefit, not the drugs.

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  74. Chuck Bird (4,821 comments) says:

    FES, very good comments. It would be good if you could put them on Don’s FB page. He has been listening to too many libertarians who do not live in the real world. It is inconsistent on ACT’s stance on welfare. The would argue if someone becomes incapable of work through drug use let them starve. That is not how thing work in New Zealand.

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  75. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    PaulEastBay,

    “Answer this V2 and others , why did a liberal state like California, re-criminalize cannabis after a period of de-criminalization?.”

    Please check your facts because you are clearly ill informed. Cannabis is still decriminalized in California and despite the rejection of Prop 19, Governor Schwarzenegger reduced the charge of an ounce of Cannabis from a misdemeanor to a violation, similar to a parking ticket. This came into effect at the start of this year.

    On the other hand, Cannabis has always remained a federal crime regardless of state law.

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  76. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Chuck, you just answered JMS’ point. JMS, attractive as it is, it won’t work. You would starve most of Northland for a start… And no, I am not putting this on Dr Brash’s FB page because I refuse to have anything to do with Facebook other than reading and despairing over the Justice Hot Tub page.

    Weihana, you can try to minimise it all you want (and you will- I am just surprised you haven’t used the word ‘fascist’ yet) but someone who drinks one glass of wine a day will suffer far less side effects than someone who smokes one joint a day. Currently the use of cannabis is somewhat controlled by it being illegal, while alcohol abuse is able to be indulged openly. I would hazard a guess that if cannabis is legalised, then you would see the same sort of over-indulgence in that on a greater scale.

    And, yes, I know you have those surveys to point to, although I remember a debate here earlier this year in which those ones you point to were mostly debunked, but those surveys are all on continental Europe, which has a very different approach to intoxicating substances than the English speaking world. If you have travelled then you will understand what I mean. That is why I don’t place much reliance upon your studies, the cultural divide is too great.

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  77. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    PaulEastBay

    “Why are the Dutch looking at tightening up their ‘coffee shops’?. Actually read up on the anomalies concerning the coffee shops getting their drugs.”

    Cannabis has never been legal in the Netherlands. But the “tightening up” as I understand it relates to drug tourists and coffee shops located in close proximity to schools. It seems very reasonable to restrict such places from schools just as much as liquor stores should not be next to schools. Not sure I get the need to deter drug tourism though but I suppose that depends upon the type of people you get coming into your country and potential problems that might be associated with that.

    But to your main point there has been little change to the overall approach of the Dutch with regards to “soft drugs”.

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  78. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    PaulEastBay,

    “but someone who drinks one glass of wine a day will suffer far less side effects than someone who smokes one joint a day.”

    Why do you equate one glass of wine with one joint? Why not a glass of straight absinthe? You’ve arbitrarily chosen units to suit your argument. Indeed a joint is often shared among several people and with the strength of most Cannabis these days only a very little bit is required to feel its effects.

    Moreover I see no reason to define a drug capable of moderate use as one which can be used on a daily basis.

    “Currently the use of cannabis is somewhat controlled by it being illegal, while alcohol abuse is able to be indulged openly.”

    Pure fantasy. You believe in this on nothing more than blind faith. If it was controlled then a majority of NZ’ers wouldn’t think the law an ass. People don’t make such decisions simply based on what the law says and there is no reason to believe that liberalization would see large numbers of people suddenly deciding they want to be a pot-head. It’s nothing more than scare-mongering because the prohibitionists have such a weak argument.

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  79. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    FE Smith

    Assumption: Excessive use of any drug is harmful to the user and to society. Therefore this gives the government the moral right to intervene, according to fundamental liberal dogma.

    Assumption: A drug taker whose consumption is not excessive, and causes negligible harm to society has the moral right to conduct his life as he will, and the government has no moral right to intervene according to the same principle.

    Therefore non-discriminating prescriptive laws are immoral, on the basis that they impinge upon a citizen’s right to reasonable freedom. How do you respond to this idea?

    Secondly, assuming that an interventionist government argues that a prescriptive law is morally justified on the basis that the law minimizes societal harm, how would you assess the effectiveness of our current inconsistent and prohibitive drug laws in achieving this objective?

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  80. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    One thing I don’t like about Brash’s speech is that he feels the need to say he doesn’t condone marijuana use. Obviously it’s not politically feasible to say anything other, but really I see no reason to condemn someone for smoking marijuana just as I see no reason to condemn someone for drinking alcohol. Abuse of either drug should invite criticism certainly but to stigmatize someone for choosing an alternative form of inebriation is just hypocritical in my view.

    If we tolerate marketing and branding of alcohol, despite all the associated harm, I see no reason why Cannabis could not also be sold in the same way with similar regulations as to alcohol especially given that the drug is associated with far less harm as compared alcohol. The reality is that most people who consume either drug do so in a responsible and civilized manner and cause no harm to anyone else. That, to me, is what separates soft drugs from hard drugs.

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  81. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    that was me, not Paul. And I used a glass of wine because it is one of the two most commonly used alcoholic drinks. I don’t care if you use a glass of beer or a glass of wine, no real difference although the wine is better for you.

    But to suggest a glass of absinthe as the measure is reductio ad absurdum.

    Scott Chris, I didn’t think you believed in morality? Isn’t your position that there is neither right nor wrong? And I think you mean libertarian dogma, not liberal dogma. I am not a complete libertarian by any stretch, so I have no issue with apparently contradictory stances depending on the type of substance we are talking about. Moreover, you appear to be arguing from a natural law viewpoint (although I don’t think you adhere to it) when your interlocuter does not necessarily agree with the natural law philosophy. Therefore I cannot answer your questions while being true to my own views. Indeed, if I did answer your questions from a natural law point of view then I may even disagree with my own reasoning, whilst agreeing with the outcome. Try a legal positivist or even a legal realist approach (I tend to the former, but have a soft spot for Dworkin’s views) and you might have a better understanding of where I am coming from.

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  82. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    If we tolerate marketing and branding of alcohol, despite all the
    associated harm, I see no reason why Cannabis could not also be sold in
    the same way with similar regulations as to alcohol

    No doubt you would include other drugs in that?  Or is cannabis your drug of choice?

     especially given
    that the drug is associated with far less harm as compared alcohol.

    As a percentage of users, not less, just different.  Something that you appear to be wilfully blind to.

    EDIT: Oh, and you might be talking about cannabis in a social setting, but a lot of cannabis is consumed by a single user. Just ask my clients!

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  83. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Weihana – As usual it’s all a matter of perspective.

    True. I define ‘abuse’ of drugs as being excessive use that has more than a negligible adverse effect on the rest of society.

    I define recreational use of drugs as being at a level which has little or no effect on the rest of society.

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  84. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    But why stop at cannabis? If you are going to be consistent as a libertarian, surely all drugs of any sort should be legal? Including P, or is that just too much?

    Absolutely not too much. All drugs can be harmful, and users take them and harm those around them. But we already have laws to deal with people who commit crime when under the influence of drugs. We already have laws dealing with child neglect and abuse. Alcohol is perfectly legal, but those addicted to it can have children removed from their care under current law. It would be the same if other drugs were legal.

    What makes me angry is that people like you pretend to care about the families of heavy users, even though casual users far outnumber them, but yet there are so many others who are the victims of prohibition-related crime, who have their houses burgled and cars broken into. What about those people? Do they get no sympathy? Drugs are a reality in society, and they will always cause harm somewhere and somehow, but wouldn’t it be better if they were legal and accessible and affordable for adults, so I don’t get my home broken into by cash-strapped tweakers?

    I would also like to make the point that most drugs, in moderation, are great fun. I have smoked cannabis several times and also done lines of coke a few times, and enjoyed myself greatly. Nobody got hurt and I had a awesome time. I refuse to accept your argument that because some people are dicks and can’t handle their drug use, I and the majority of other drug samplers should be stopped from having fun. And no, that’s not selfishness, that’s just a simple human need to enjoy one’s life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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  85. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    but if you legalise cannabis then you legalise it for both recreational use and for abuse. You cannot have it both ways.

    BlairM,

    What makes me angry is that people like you pretend to care about the families of heavy users

    Are you saying that I don’t care about the families of heavy users?  That I am lying?  Nice way to start a comment, eh?  

    But I do care about the families of heavy users, as does Pauleastbay, because we have dealt with them.  We have seen the effects of drug abuse and alcohol abuse.

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  86. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # tvb (2,011) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    It sure is a health issue. The mental health wards are full of people who abuse cannabis. While it is illegal it makes it hard to get for people who intend to respect the law. And that is most of us. No one in my social circle or family except for a couple of losers touch the stuff. Keep it illegal, keep policing it and one day we may be able to treat it using drugs and eliminate it from our lives. And that goes for other drugs and some progress is being made there. One day we will do this to alcohol.

    ——————————————-

    How about you just mind your own business and let others have a little fun on the weekend. The civilized majority are not responsible for the mindless actions of a small minority. A lot of people went out last night and enjoyed drinking, some more than is probably recommended. But in proportion, very few inflicted their choices on anyone but themselves.

    Taking your proactive stance on health to its logical conclusion, next you’ll be dictating to all the fatties down at KFC that they shouldn’t be able to eat greasy food. Then you’ll be demanding a law that requires everyone to go to the gym and exercise. Then you’ll be outlawing sex and demanding everyone go to a clinic to reproduce to ensure that unhealthy diseases aren’t transmitted. Then you’ll be regulating who can reproduce because some people’s genetics might be more predisposed to genetic abnormalities.

    We should fear those who have an idealized picture of how a “healthy” society should function and who want to inflict their vision on the rest of us.

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  87. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    FE Smith – “I didn’t think you believed in morality”

    I don’t believe in *absolute* morality. I believe in relative morality, and subscribe to an arbitrary utilitarian moral code.

    “And I think you mean libertarian dogma”

    I’m referring to basic classical liberalism, not the American or English variety.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism

    “natural law viewpoint”

    A moral relativist can only judge another’s morality by how he abides by his own rules. In other words morality is relative to the individual who subscribes to that code, and I am simply using Natural Law as the fundamental tenet of extreme liberalism to measure how liberal libertarians really are.

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  88. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    Weihana, tvb made a very good comment and one that doesn’t deserve the sarcastic and pointless answer you gave. I agree with tvb’s comment.

    See my comment above re reductio ad absurdum. You appear to be a classic user of it. After all, by your argument we shouldn’t have speed limits, either, nor laws prohibiting dangerous driving. After all, nobody actually necessarily gets hurt with dangerous driving, it is just a potentiality.

    Anyway, I am out of here. This is getting boring.

    EDIT: Scott, I am neither a fundamentalist libertarian nor an adherent to natural law. Therefore your premises are for someone else to answer. I am happy to have apparent contradictions in my positions.

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  89. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    F E Smith – “but if you legalise cannabis then you legalise it for both recreational use and for abuse. You cannot have it both ways.”

    No, I would suggest to may use it, not abuse it. If you use it, then abuse it, you lose it. :)

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  90. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    FE Smith – “Try a legal positivist”

    Thanks. Now I have a code by which to judge the consistency of your morality. I’ll get back to you.

    edit: After a quick look.. lol, what a cop out:

    Legal positivism states that there is not any inherent or necessary association between the validity of a law on the one hand, and ethics or morality on the other.

    In other words, “I’m just doing my job!”

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  91. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    F E Smith – “Anyway, I am out of here. This is getting boring.”

    In other words, I don’t want to think that hard about my assumptions in case they are house built on sand, so I’m bailing out.

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  92. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # F E Smith (1,203) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    If we tolerate marketing and branding of alcohol, despite all the
    associated harm, I see no reason why Cannabis could not also be sold in
    the same way with similar regulations as to alcohol

    No doubt you would include other drugs in that? Or is cannabis your drug of choice?

    ————————————————-

    My philosophy is “harm minimization”, therefore I would not treat all drugs the same. I would differentiate between “soft” drugs and “hard” drugs. Soft drugs are drugs which most people can consume in a moderate and responsible manner. Hard drugs are those which are very difficult to use moderately or responsibly and very often lead to abuse and dysfunction. While not an exhaustive list I would categorize Cannabis, Alcohol, LSD, Ecstasy and Mushrooms as soft drugs. I would categorize Heroin, Crack Cocaine and Methamphetamine as hard drugs.

    While I would have all drugs decriminalized I would only permit private supply and distribution for soft drugs. The supply and distribution of hard drugs should be monopolized by the government with a view to putting addicts in treatment.

    ————————————————-

    especially given
    that the drug is associated with far less harm as compared alcohol.

    As a percentage of users, not less, just different. Something that you appear to be wilfully blind to.

    EDIT: Oh, and you might be talking about cannabis in a social setting, but a lot of cannabis is consumed by a single user. Just ask my clients!

    ————————————————-

    No I am not blind to the fact that social harm should be considered on a per-user basis. This of course is hard to quantify which is why I tend to look at the addictiveness and health consequences of drugs to try and gauge the likely social harm. On this basis I tend to believe Cannabis is less harmful but I must have caution with regards to the fact that it’s a very complex question.

    Suffice to say I can accept treating both drugs as if the harm were similar. I also accept that many cannabis users consume it by themselves just as many consumers of alcohol do likewise.

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  93. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    Well we can soon sort the logical, practical from the emotional can’t we.

    FES, you may have a few cannabis users as clients and that leads to the inevitable issue of who pays the Defense Attourney.
    Umm that would be the tax payer would it not?

    Now if they didn’t keep constantly getting busted and going to the clink and into jail just to satisfy some policeman’s need to abuse people then just maybe they wouldn’t behave the way they do.
    I don’t for one second doubt your sincerity for you seem to me to be sound as a lawyer but one wonders why you need this type of work. Its self generating I suppose.
    If most of it went away would you be concerned at all?

    As for Paul, I wondered what you had been on when you wrote your first post. My god the man has gone ranting nuts.
    Unfortunately Paul; as has been pointed out you are not up to speed with world developments are you. Must be slow broad band in Opotiki.

    Its called cause and effect. Something that pollies et al fail miserably to consider.

    And we are talking cannabis here not all the other red herrings, mind you no body has come to much harm with ecstasy up till now apart from a silly few who chewed too many. The only reason that was up classed was because of that CHCH geriatric trying to salve his own conscience be cause his own family was neglected whilst he strove for power and control over other Kiwi’s.

    There is a new blood thinner that has been foisted upon kiwis in the last few months. Already killed a number, more in hospital seriously ill, (including the father of one of our bloggers), and that’s a legally sanctioned and tested drug. What ya gunna do about that?

    That drug kills, rapidly. Legally it would seem.

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  94. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    F E Smith (1,204) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Weihana, tvb made a very good comment and one that doesn’t deserve the sarcastic and pointless answer you gave. I agree with tvb’s comment.

    See my comment above re reductio ad absurdum. You appear to be a classic user of it. After all, by your argument we shouldn’t have speed limits, either, nor laws prohibiting dangerous driving. After all, nobody actually necessarily gets hurt with dangerous driving, it is just a potentiality.

    —————————

    No, you have simply misunderstood my argument. My argument is not based on the idea that nobody necessarily gets hurt, my argument is based on the idea that the majority of people use some of these drugs (e.g. the “soft” ones) in a way that is responsible and civilized. They are not endangering anyone else by using these drugs when consumed responsibly.

    I’m not simply saying they get lucky by not harming anyone else, I’m saying that the potential for harm is very very small. About the same likelihood as a person who drinks wine everyday is going to develop an addiction to alcohol which may make them more likely to drink and drive or get depressed and abuse their partner and family with violence.

    Excessive speed and dangerous driving is inherently risky and puts people in significant danger. Moderate and responsible consumption of soft drugs does not.

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  95. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris,

    To be fair the drug debate does come up a lot it seems so one can hardly blame someone for desiring another topic. But it bodes well in my view that this debate seems to come up with increasing frequency. What this topic needs more than anything is more debate because with debate comes the opportunity for serious drug law reformers to demonstrate the superiority of their argument.

    Notice how whenever a bunch of scientists release a report showing the ridiculousness of the war on drugs or whenever a bunch of high profile celebrities and world leaders get together to advocate a change in direction, governments never respond with debate they just simply say “No” and try to avoid any further questioning. What prohibitionists fear most is debate on this issue because the status quo is for the public to equate drug law reform with the likes of some dread-locked hippie, whereas serious debate will illuminate the fact that serious public figures are advocating for change, such as Richard Branson, Kofi Annan, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Columbia and many others. These aren’t people who just want to get high, these are people who have seriously looked at the evidence, have evaluated the failure of the war on drugs and are trying to find a better solution.

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  96. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    In other words, I don’t want to think that hard about my assumptions in case they are house built on sand, so I’m bailing out.

    Not at all.  This is degenerating into the same debate that we have had many times on KB in recent times.  So when I said boring, I meant boring.

    Don’t be so smug as to associate that with an admission of any sort.

    V2,

    to the inevitable issue of who pays the Defense Attourney (sic). Umm that would be the tax payer would it not?

    Not always.  Depends on the financial means of the client.

    one wonders why you need this type of work.

    I don’t.  But it is a very enjoyable part of the law to practice in, and it is a very important part of the law- defending the private individual against the power of the state.  As I said the other day, we are the people who guard the guards.

    Its self generating I suppose.

    You will always have crime.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is deluded.

    If most of it went away would you be concerned at all?

    Nope.  I can just as easily make a living, in fact a better living, expanding the other areas of litigation that I practice in.   Of course, that involves people trying to make or recover money, so not as important as criminal law, but, notwithstanding most assumptions, criminal lawyers who accept legal aid do not do so because they can not get any other work.  It is a choice based on the field of practice and the desire to assist people.  If you want to pay me privately then come on over!  That said, I give as much of my time, effort and skill to my legal aid clients as I do for my private clients, so don’t think legal aid gets you a second class treatment.

    Now, I am off for the evening (I am in trouble for checking this again!).  I might stop back when I get home to see if the thread has kept going.  Until then, bye all.

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  97. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    FES, as I thought but we would all be better of if the rubbish that gathers around the criminalizing of everyday life was got rid of.
    I have seen what it was like before we had all these laws and I have seen what happens now the police state are involved and as you know I’m an advocate for young men particularly and youth generally being put to work. As long as they remain discriminated against in the workplace and bored out of their brains they will use alcohol and cannabis. Successfully becoming targets for cops who have this holier than thou attitude of, we’ll get ya somehow, we will give you a record, we will stop you doing stuff for the rest of your life.
    Is that what our fathers went to war against Hitler and others for. To support a police state where everyone is ruled according to the whims of police, politicians and wowsers?

    Get them to work in places where drug testing takes place and this will go away.

    Rather similar to crushing cars. All the fuss and bullshit that was expounded over that. Hasn’t been one crushed yet. Why I wonder, well the youngsters (mostly CHCH based) that were causing all the mayhem have lost their surplus cash these days. Same in most places. And of course who made sure they had cash to burn. Well that would be the Unions and Sue Bradford. That fucked up mother who teamed up with that fucked up father from CHCH to enact these shit laws.

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  98. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Weihana – “To be fair the drug debate does come up a lot it seems so one can hardly blame someone for desiring another topic.”

    Well, we are examining the ramifications of ACT’s decriminalization policy, so in this case what else is there to debate, other than the merits of the policy in the context of ACT political philosophy, and its application to society.

    Also, I’ve found the only way to change anyone’s mind about anything is to deconstruct their assumptions, so they realize how baseless their beliefs really are.

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  99. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    Act Party leader Don Brash wants the personal use of marijuana decriminalised.

    Brash this afternoon gave a speech on law and order to supporters at Waipuna Lodge in Auckland, as his party continues to grapple with internal ructions.

    ”I have to say, after long and painstaking reflection, I have come to have serious questions about our current marijuana laws,” Brash said.

    ”Apparently, a majority of New Zealanders think this law is an ass.”

    Brash said he was ”haunted” by the thought that a lot of police time and resources could be better deployed by keeping people safe from ”real criminals intent on harming us”.

    An estimated 400,000 New Zealanders regularly used cannabis and harmed no one except, arguably, themselves, which was their prerogative in a free society, he said.

    ”The police and the courts spend some $100 million of taxpayer money a year enforcing this prohibition of a drug believed by many people to be less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol. Is there really any point to this?” Brash said.

    ”I hasten to add I do not advocate or approve of marijuana use. Unlike Helen Clark and Peter Dunne, I haven’t ever tried it and I have absolutely no intention of doing so. But I have to ask myself by what right I would ban someone else from using it, or support a law that does so, especially when I’m leader of the political party in New Zealand that is most committed to personal freedom.”

    Brash’s call may be considered by some to look a touch desperate.

    Since he took over as leader from Rodney Hide, the party’s polling has barely shifted and remains at about 2 per cent or less.

    The party was struck another blow last night when Parliamentary leader John Boscawen announced he would quit politics at the election. Boscawen, who just weeks earlier was named at number two on the party list, cited family reasons for his change of heart.

    Brash expressed regret at Boscawen’s departure but insisted the party still had its strongest ever list line-up going in to the November election.

    In his speech this afternoon, he said the party’s policy on law and order was still a work in progress and he was only outlining ”the kind of thinking” that would shape it.

    ”I’m not saying it’s now ACT policy to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. I’m simply saying it’s my personal view that we should give the idea serious consideration as there are some strong arguments in its favour – arguments supported by some seriously sober and responsible national and international leaders,” he said.

    Under former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer – ”hardly a dope-addled hippy or wild-eyed radical” – the Law Commission had in April recommended allowing cannabis for medicinal use and substituting a cautioning regime for criminal penalties in non-medicinal cases, he said.

    Brash also outlined a push for the right to self-defence to be enshrined in the Bill of Rights and for more work on victims rights.

    – Stuffhttp://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5680593/Don-Brash-backs-marijuana-decriminalisation

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  100. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    It’s worth repeating again from that Stuff report how decisive Brash has been today:

    ”I’m not saying it’s now ACT policy to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. I’m simply saying it’s my personal view that we should give the idea serious consideration…”

    Maybe he needs some time to speak to other Act candidates (that are staying) about what they think before he actually decides on policy.

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  101. Bogusnews (476 comments) says:

    Certainly think that it is a great idea to push for the right of self defense. It is ridiculous that you can be prosecuted for defending yourself if someone breaks into your house.

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  102. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Bogusnews: who is best to decide if defence used is reasonable or not – the police or the courts?

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  103. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    Depends on who the policeman is and how much money the defendant has. Ever tried defending yourself against false charges Pete?

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  104. orewa1 (428 comments) says:

    Sadly, stepping into this minefield unnecessarily demonstrates again his lack of EQ, political nous, and connection with mainstream New Zealand..

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  105. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    I haven’t V2, but I helped a friend once as a witness. That was just a piddly charge though.

    If I attacked someone who broke into my home of course I would prefer not to be charged but I don’t think it would necessarily be wrong if police thought charges were justified – I’d then stand by my action in court or accept if I erred.

    I don’t think the law can give everyone a free unscrutinised pass on using any level of violence as a means of “defending” themselves.

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  106. Chuck Bird (4,821 comments) says:

    “Bogusnews: who is best to decide if defence used is reasonable or not – the police or the courts?”

    The police should not prosecute if their is not a prima facie case. If there is and there a prosecution then the jury decides.

    However, like in the case of the chemist who came upon a burglar who appears to have died from the stress of a struggle the police could and should have come to a decision straight after an autopsy.

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  107. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    [DPF: Heavy use turns some people into morons. I've seen my share of them. So please don't pretend it is healthy]

    +1

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  108. wat dabney (3,755 comments) says:

    All you need to know

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  109. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    wat dabney, lol

    http://vimeo.com/10298561

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  110. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    @decanker 10:32 am

    How does that work for social conservative John Banks? I’d be very surprised if most of his Remmers voters supported decriminalisation.

    Nah, decanker, they prefer coke, and are not too troubled that it being illegal makes it expensive.

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  111. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    # Pete George (11,249) Says:
    September 25th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    It’s worth repeating again from that Stuff report how decisive Brash has been today:

    ”I’m not saying it’s now ACT policy to decriminalise or legalise marijuana. I’m simply saying it’s my personal view that we should give the idea serious consideration…”

    Maybe he needs some time to speak to other Act candidates (that are staying) about what they think before he actually decides on policy.

    ———————————

    As I recall ACT used to be quite open that it favoured a more liberal drug policy. They used to be the party that emphasized personal responsibility. That’s the party they used to be before they were taken over by conservative sensible sentencing trust types. I’d be surprised if Prebble or Douglas care whether weed is legal or not. I could be wrong though.

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  112. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    quite so.

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  113. Griff (7,233 comments) says:

    Weihana

    No reference on drug policy to be found on the web site It used to be.It will interesting to see were Brash goes from here. Act is not historically alined with conservatism..I view banks as somewhat conservative especially when he ranted on about “Boy races”.

    The failure of many to understand that in relative harm marijuana E and similar drugs are benign compared to alcohol amazes me The claims about the side affects boarder on the ridiculous at times Yes some turn into hopeless stoners. yes it fucks up young brains Thousand smoke enjoy and give no problems Many of the pro criminal massively under estimate the prevalence in society.

    Many turn into cretinous monsters under the affects of alcohol The costs of alcohol are horrific 30 % of all A&E admissions 60% in the weekends involve alcohol. Criminal and traffic offenses are often linked to alcohol. Much family violence happens because of alcohol. Alcohol also affects the road toll, street crime, and petty dishonesty. It is related to:
    60 per cent of all incidents reported to the Police, 41 per cent of all fatal motor accidents, 77 per cent of street disorder and fighting offenses, 40 per cent of serious assaults, 50% of assaults involve alcohol.

    Yet that is legal sanctioned and even encouraged by society .

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  114. Nick K (1,211 comments) says:

    The police should not prosecute if their is not a prima facie case. If there is and there a prosecution then the jury decides.

    However, like in the case of the chemist who came upon a burglar who appears to have died from the stress of a struggle the police could and should have come to a decision straight after an autopsy.

    Why don’t we just do away with the Coroner and let police decide everything?

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  115. burt (8,182 comments) says:

    Party toke ACT !

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  116. CharlieBrown (987 comments) says:

    Awesome news. Just when I was about to give up on voting, ACT actually do something with principle that makes me think voting for them might not be bad afterall. Although, as a libertarian, I don’t believe there is any need to “treat” canabis use as any issue. Most pot smokers have jobs, don’t steal and don’t restrict other peoples liberty. Also, casual canabis smoking is no worse than any other vice taken casually, weather it be eating, smoking, drinking, gambling or voting for the national party.

    One day when\if society becomes enlightened we will look back on canabis prohibition in the same way we look back on alcohol prohibition today, and we will think “What the fuck were those backward morons taking to think banning canabis had positive outcomes”.

    Now its time ACT push some more libertarian policies and push to remove all the facist anti-smoking leglislation.

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  117. Chuck Bird (4,821 comments) says:

    “Why don’t we just do away with the Coroner and let police decide everything?”

    Nick, I already stated that. I thought the police should only prosecute if there is a prima facie case.

    I think that is how it should be. If the criminal had of been stabbed or had his skull caved in then they should have to have a second look. If a woman dies because of a heart attack because of an attempted rape that is one thing but if a property owner confronts a burglar and the thief has a heart attack that is a entirely different matter.

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  118. wrightingright (148 comments) says:

    These links to the Lancet are good to read:
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(03)00381-8/abstract
    http://www.cfdp.ca/lancet.htm

    I’m very pleased to hear the Brash has opened the discussion on this!

    Is time for legalisation!
    (but then again it is always time for that…)

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  119. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    I find it strange that the loudest argument for legalisation/decriminalization is that this will cut out drug-related crime.

    Other than possession of and/or selling of charges it won’t.

    Dope-heads are still going to need money they can’t/won’t earn legitimately to buy the stuff and will still happily thieve whatever they feel like to get that money just as they do now for alcohol.

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  120. Matt (226 comments) says:

    It seems to me that for something to be illegal, there should be a strong justification for it being so. Having read through Other_Andy’s list of the horrible things that can result from canabis use, I have to say that there is no way that canabis meets this test. Alcohol has far worse short term side effects, including potential death, and the addictiveness of tobacco arguably makes it even more dangerous in the long term.

    I think, and I say this as someone who has never tried or been interested in trying canabis, that it should be legalised forthwith, and made subject to the same controls (and taxation) as tobacco.

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  121. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,824 comments) says:

    I’m not sure about this cannabis thing. Look what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have to say on the matter:

    Turtle Tips

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  122. Viking2 (11,340 comments) says:

    Since 1927, it had been a criminal offence to possess, use, produce or sell cannabis in New Zealand.
    The police and the courts spent about $100 million a year enforcing the prohibition of a drug believed by many people to be less dangerous than tobacco or alcohol.

    “Is there really any point to this?”

    About 6000 people were prosecuted every year for cannabis offences and 400,000 New Zealanders were estimated to use cannabis.

    “In other words some 400,000 New Zealanders routinely flout the law – roughly 10 per cent of the total population – has the sky fallen in?”

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  123. tas (608 comments) says:

    I support this policy. Alcohol and tobacco are the right comparison. They don’t fund gangs. People don’t steal to fund it. They aren’t “gateway drugs”. And they raise tax money. Legalising cannabis will be beneficial for law and order.

    It is interesting that this hasn’t been covered at the standard or no right turn. Where is the lefty reaction? John Pagani simply expresses bewilderment.

    I’m not sure how this will go down within ACT, its supporters, and the general public.

    The classical liberals (like me) will be pleased, but they were going to vote for ACT anyway. Conservatives (in particular those who are looking for an option to the right of National) will be outraged and will go back to National.

    I’m not sure how many new votes Brash will win; presumably the people who really care about marijuana will be green or aotearoa legalise cannabis party voters. And it’s not clear that old man Brash is going to steal votes from them. But who knows. Maybe it’s a “gateway policy”: some people may rethink ACT in light of this policy and decide that, on closer inspection, their other policies are appealing.

    It is interesting to note that support from within ACT has been rather muted. Heather Roy, Rodney Hide, John Boscawen, and Roger Douglas haven’t mentioned it on facebook, when they usually post this kind of announcement. John Banks’ response has been cautious.

    Has Brash done some “market research” on this?

    I wish Brash the best of luck. I hope he wins votes with this. But I’m pessimistic.

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  124. tas (608 comments) says:

    Also, I should point out that this stance is just for show. Cannabis is clearly not ACT’s #1 priority and National won’t support it. It won’t get passed.

    So those of you who support ACTs other policies, but not this one. You needn’t worry!

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  125. Graeme Edgeler (3,280 comments) says:

    Alcohol and tobacco are the right comparison. They don’t fund gangs. People don’t steal to fund it. They aren’t “gateway drugs”.

    You really think most people who smoke cannabis haven’t previously smoked tobacco?

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  126. CharlieBrown (987 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman – your a fool if you think that all dope heads are criminals, are you saying that 400,000 people in NZ are criminals? (other than the fact that the only law they’re breaking is taking a banned substance). People are just as likely to steal to fund their alcohol, gaming, or gambling addiction.

    “Dope-heads are still going to need money they can’t/won’t earn legitimately to buy the stuff and will still happily thieve whatever they feel like to get that money just as they do now for alcohol.”

    Prove it? Did you know that al capone was an alcohol pedler. Scum like him loved the fact that a highly desired commodity was illegal so he could controll a black market. It isn’t the drug that causes the crime, it is the fact that it is illegal that causes the crime. Is crime higher in the netherlands than NZ? It should be according to your distored and stupid logic.

    Stopping people taking things on their on free-will that has no affect on the rest of the population is as bad as banning the whole population from eating pork as it is offensive to some.

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  127. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Has Brash done some “market research” on this?

    Sort of like “Act’s last existing MP and current parliamentary leader is pulling out, what can I talk about to distract attention that won’t make any real difference to anything?”

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  128. Elaycee (4,350 comments) says:

    Using Brash’s logic, we should also stop trying to catch people speeding – we spend millions and millions each year trying to enforce the Law but have been unsuccessful. So the answer is to make speeding legal?? What next – the same for parking infringements? And tax evasion – how much do we spend a year on that? And fraud? What about benefit cheats? FFS!

    Brash’s comment is just a sound bite attempt to gather votes from one particular section of society who want to legalise an illegal activity. Based on some sentiments expressed on this thread, his tactic has been successful.

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  129. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Graeme Edgeler – “You really think most people who smoke cannabis haven’t previously smoked tobacco?”

    I suspect that most people who have smoked cannabis have also eaten potato chips, but I get your point.

    As a teen, the reasons why I began smoking tobacco were:

    1) I wanted to be a grown up.
    2) Tobacco was forbidden to me, so it made it more fascinating.
    3) Peer pressure.

    I no longer smoke, because I am *more aware and better educated* about tobacco’s harmful side-effects.

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  130. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Based on some sentiments expressed on this thread, his tactic has been successful.

    Based on other sentiments expressed here it is typical Brash Act success – one vote forward, two votes backwards.

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  131. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Elaycee – “Using Brash’s logic, we should also stop trying to catch people speeding”

    Catching people speeding pays for itself and is effective in slowing people down. Ever noticed how law abiding people are when driving past a fixed speed camera. Personally, I’d have them everywhere, and let the cops go do more important stuff, like catching *real* criminals.

    Criminalizing cannabis on the other hand is not effective. It is also outrageously expensive to enforce.

    Better vote UF Elaycee. They’re more inclined to use your brand of illogic.

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  132. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Pete George – “Based on other sentiments expressed here it is typical Brash Act success – one vote forward, two votes backwards.”

    I’d say the other way round. Two votes forward one vote well rid of. You can have the double standard conservatives Pete.

    ACT is now the party for the Thinking Person.

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  133. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Scott Chris

    …”ACT is now the party for the Thinking Person.”….

    You might be a little bit premature on this assumption. Personally, I’ll be waiting for the time when brain fart becomes policy.

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  134. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    ACT is now the party for the Thinking Person.

    “I’m thinking of starting a new party or taking over an existing party, which one will I choose?”

    “I’m thinking of talking someone into standing at three on the list”.

    “I’m thinking it would be a good look including our parliamentary leader at two on the list even though he’s thinking he won’t stand”.

    “I’m thinking I’ll release the party list now, we’ll just change it as other people think about what they will do”.

    “I’m thinking of what would be a good diversion from the news that our last current MP has withdrawn from the party”.

    “I’m thinking of changing party policy, there’s plenty of time until the election”.

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  135. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    nasska

    Brain farts only happen when you suffer from cognitive dissonance owing to a conflict of ideology. Brash is aligning his ideology with that of classic liberals like Ron Paul, and whilst I am more economically more conservative than he, I can respect him for being consistent within his own moral construction. I hope his liberalism extends to immigration issues too, but I won’t blame him for being reticent on this subject owing to its political sensitivity.

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  136. nasska (11,092 comments) says:

    Scott Chris

    I’m uncertain that Dr Brash gave the subject of this thread sufficient thought for his cognitive dissonance bells to sound more than a faint tinkle. As PG laid out in his 9.04am ACT needed to distract attention from another of their in house cock ups & decriminalisation was the last car in the driveway.

    I’m uncertain that ACT in its present form is a party that places much value on libertarianism….presently I think that its only concern is continuing its existence past November.

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  137. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    PG – “I’m thinking of starting a new party or taking over an existing party, which one will I choose?”

    So I take it you are opposed to free market corporate takeovers Pete?

    PG – “I’m thinking it would be a good look including our parliamentary leader at two on the list even though he’s thinking he won’t stand”.

    Why sully ones hands in the rough and tumble of electorate politics? This is no place for the honest man.

    PG – “I’m thinking of what would be a good diversion from the news that our last current MP has withdrawn from the party”.

    More likely Boscawen was the last obstacle to the more liberal social policy. I would infer from this that Banks is on board.

    PG – “I’m thinking of changing party policy, there’s plenty of time until the election”.

    Clever timing maybe, whilst the social conservatives are preoccupied with cheerleading the All Blacks, the disaffected pro decriminalization faction are more likely to take notice of this policy.

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  138. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    nasska – “I’m uncertain that Dr Brash gave the subject of this thread sufficient thought”

    I disagree. There is always going to be fallout from a takeover, and the new broom has finally swept away the old guard. Brash has his team in place, and the last few pieces of the puzzle are falling into place.

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  139. Elaycee (4,350 comments) says:

    “ACT is now the party for the Thinking Person.”

    A conclusion reached by the resident ‘intellectual giant’ – but a decision reached only after Brash has come out wanting to legalise dope.

    Bwahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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  140. Griff (7,233 comments) says:

    PG

    Is being disingenuous.
    After failing to get traction in the establishment of a new party to express his views. He has joined an existing party and taken on some standpoints that he does not enjoy himself.

    Voting ACT is the strategy for anyone who seeks less interference by the state. individual policy should align with the overall direction the party stands for Hence change in the present drug laws are congruent with ACTs stand point of less government interference.

    It would be silly for any stoner to vote ACT on this policy alone. Most unmotivated Dope-heads are left wing. far more likely to vote for Greens who of course have decriminalization as a policy as well.

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  141. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    A vote for United Future is a vote Islamic Supremacism.

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  142. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Elaycee

    Answer me this honestly if you would. Is the current system which criminalizes pot smokers working?

    If not, what would you recommend we do to minimize the harm brought on by society by cannabis use and the fiscal and social consequences of policing it in our current manner?

    Thirdly, do you believe alcohol is a drug?

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  143. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Once again Lee you make a wild assertion with no New Zealand facts to back it.

    All it does is reinforce the percption that you are anti anything that won’t bow to your own beliefs.

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  144. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    Scott Chris – I’m sure you will understand that decriminalising Cannabis will have positive and negative effects. How are you sure that negative won’t be more prominent?

    Just saying “it’s not working now, doing something quite different will work better” is not compelling.

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  145. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “Once again Lee you make a wild assertion with no New Zealand facts to back it.”

    So the head of the Federation of Islam is not a UF candidate?

    “All it does is reinforce the percption that you are anti anything that won’t bow to your own beliefs.”

    As is everyone else who posts here, you included. I just have the guts to be honest about it.

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  146. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    Oh Dear. I See the Conservatives are frothing at the mouth over this. Quite Entertaining to watch really.

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  147. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “I See the Conservatives are frothing at the mouth over this.”

    I would claim that I’m possibly the most conservative person posting here, a hard right Tory Traditionalist and a Conservative Christian Nationalist, and I don’t have a problem with decriminalisation of marijuana. I WOULD have a problem with full legalisation, or the decriminalisation of truly harmful hard drugs like P, which is not what I think Brash is saying. I think he’s right that the current approach to marijiuana is not working, and the cost of current policing outweighs the benifits.

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  148. Pete George (23,422 comments) says:

    So the head of the Federation of Islam is not a UF candidate?

    You know the answer to that, but that’s nothing like what you claimed.

    “All it does is reinforce the percption that you are anti anything that won’t bow to your own beliefs.”

    As is everyone else who posts here, you included.

    I’m not anti anyone or anything with different beliefs. I’m not anti people wanting to be Christian or Muslim or any other religion of their choice, I don’t hope I can convert everyone to my way of thinking. I support the freedom of people having different ideas and beliefs, and wish to work together with accepted differences. That’s probably a concept you won’t understand.

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  149. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “You know the answer to that, but that’s nothing like what you claimed.”

    Really? How will he vote if it comes down to the West or Islam?

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  150. cabbage (455 comments) says:

    Lee01 – Good to see you talking some sense.

    This debate rears its head every election. Its becoming increasingly clear by virtue of social media and other forums that at the very least a large number of the voting public would support an open debate and a referendum on the subject. All other arguments aside, is this not reason enough for the politicians to open up debate?

    I think they fear the outcome personally.

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  151. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    “I think they fear the outcome personally.”

    I think your right.

    Personally I think smoking dope is stupid, and I’m speaking from experience. But giving a criminal record to a person smoking a joint is just dumb and makes an ass of the law.

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  152. KevinH (1,192 comments) says:

    This would be the most pathetic lame appeal for votes I have witnessed in NZ politics. Goodbye Don and good riddance.

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  153. Scott Chris (6,017 comments) says:

    Pete George – ‘How are you sure that negative won’t be more prominent? ‘

    I’m not, as one can only be sure once the law has changed. However there is plenty of evidence to suggest that decriminalizing cannabis will not result in more people using it, as it is so freely available at present.

    NationMaster is a website which compares countries head to head in a whole range of statistics. I have provided a link to the page which compares New Zealand’s crime statistics with the Netherland’s who as you know have long since decriminalized cannabis use. New Zealand is far worse in EVERY category. For instance:

    Adults prosecuted per capita NZ 31/1000, Netherlands 11/1000.
    Assault victims NZ more than twice that of Netherlands.
    Car thefts NZ more than twice that of Netherlands.
    Rapes NZ nearly twice the Netherlands.
    Prisoners per capita NZ one and a half times the Netherlands.
    Suicides NZ FOUR TIMES the Netherlands.

    CANNABIS USE NZ 14.6% NETHERLANDS 5.4% NEARLY THREE TIMES AS MANY KIWIS SMOKE POT!!

    http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/Netherlands/New-Zealand/Crime

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annual_cannabis_use_by_country

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  154. redeye (638 comments) says:

    Who cares if decriminalisation results in more people using it? Surely it’s their choice, as long as they are sane adults.

    Show me a Class A drug user who did not start out with the odd ‘joint’ or two and I’ll show you a liar.

    I have a family member that was herion addicted for 20 years. He started by sneaking the Blackberry Nip from the old man’s liquor cabinet. I know this to be a fact because I was there and, I’m not a liar. Surely you don’t propose to outlaw Blackberry Nip (although an argument could be made)?

    Most of the arguments in the negative in this thread are based on the fact that losers smoke dope. While personally ‘tea total’ now, I know of many recreational cannabis users that are good parents, hold down good jobs & with the obvious exception are generally law abiding citizens and contributors to society. They just prefer to relax at the end of the week with a non alcoholic, less dangerous relaxant. They shouldn’t be risking jail for that.

    The argument constantly seen in this blog when the increased regulation of alcohol comes up is “Why should I have to pay for the irresponsible consumer?”. Apply the same standards I say.

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  155. Mark (1,471 comments) says:

    Is this ACT party policy or is Brash making it up as he goes. Media reports that Banks does not support Brash’s view are now on Stuff.

    Why is Brash getting himself involved with drug issues when the global economic situation seems set up for him to exploit his perceived areas of strength in the lead up to the election.

    Looks a bit like he has lost the plot

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