Recent Posts

The local bill to remove equal suffrage

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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There are four types of bills that Parliament considers: most bills are government bills, but there are also members bills, private bills and local bills. Members bills are relatively well know (some important ones have passed over the last few…

New Drug Harm Index, new problems

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The New Zealand Drug Harm Index 2020 just made it into 2021: it was quietly posted on the Ministry of Health website before Christmas. And it contains some startling claims. Not the least of them, that cannabis is New Zealand's…

A submission on the repeal of the three strikes sentencing law

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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Just sent the following submission in on the law repealing the three strikes sentencing regime. You have until midnight tonight if you want your say. == The Justice Committee Three Strikes Legislation Repeal Bill Submission of Graeme Edgeler Introduction This…

Medicinal cannabis: 2022 will be a better year

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The year we are about to depart has been a frustrating one for the New Zealand medicinal cannabis community. A cluster of companies established to produce and distrubute legal cannabis products ran up against a regulatory scheme that sometimes seemed…

Public Address Word of the Year 2021: Covidiot

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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The Public Address Word of the Year for 2021 is "Covidiot" – a word which seems to sum up a particular kind of frustration in 2021,  but which, oddly enough, is a word coined in 2020 – as a Professor of Linguistics…

Public Address Word of the Year 2021: The Vote!

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Hard News by Russell Brown

Welcome to to the voting stage of the Public Address Word of the Year 2021. Over the past week's korero phase, readers have been discussing and proposing words and phrases to sum up the year. I've made up a long…

More tales from the Medicinal Cannabis Scheme

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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You may have read last week that two years after the publication of regulations for medicinal cannabis – and three years after the enabling legislation – two local products from a local manufacturer have finally met the minimum quality standards for prescription.…

Pearl, prescriptions and patient experts

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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As I've noted here before, for various reasons, the clinical evidence for cannabis as a teatment for pain and other conditions is not yet compelling. This doesn't mean it won't be, but as the International Association for the Study of…

The New New Prohibition

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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In the decades leading up to the 18th Amendment, the case for the prohibition of alcohol was made repeatedly. The harms of alcohol were substantial, and the US experience was worse than most. The victims made the case, and campaigners…

Steelmanning hate speech reform

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Legal Beagle by Graeme Edgeler
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I am generally sceptical of laws regulating speech, especially those that impose criminal penalties, the consequences can be perverse, and can sometimes even make things worse for those whom they seek to protect. But I try not to allow my…

Testing the fairies

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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A new paper by ESR scientists, published in the Australian Journal of Chemistry, has confirmed what close observers of the local cannabis community already knew, or at least suspected: the cannabinoid contents of local "green fairy" products vary widely, ratios…

Adventures In Gender Identity

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Speaker by Shel Walmsley
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It started during a recent visit to a gynaecologist. Don’t worry, I’m fine.  I felt an intense discomfort as I picked up my prescription and I knew immediately that this was gender dysphoria. I’d experienced it many times before but…

The Drugs Meetup

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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"We just kept saying yes," New Zealand Drug Foundation executive director Sarah Helm told me the evening before Through the Maze: On the road to health, where nearly 50 people and organisations were represented on the stage over two busy…

A picture of official callousness and detachment

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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Last night, the New Zealand Herald posted a story from its political reporter Derek Cheng which bundles together a number of current issues around medicinal cannabis. The most alarming is that of Katy Thomas and her epileptic son Eddy, which…

The drumbeat for reform gets louder

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Hard News by Russell Brown
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It should have come as no surprise after the narrow referendum defeat last year of a bill to legalise and regulate cannabis that its loudest and best-funded opponents should have wandered off to find a new culture war. The people…