Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Approved by lunchtime

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  • Bart Janssen,

    One day we'll have evidence-based legislation, sigh.

    Meanwhile it's sad that the bureaucrats are all so risk averse. It seems like everyone in the chain is completely paranoid about making any call. And that means the only person willing to make a decision is the minister who is extremely unlikely to have the depth of knowledge of the people below him or her.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    One day we'll have evidence-based legislation, sigh.

    I hope, but don't hold your breath. Whether or not you inhaled ;)

    Brewed ginger beer will contain small traces of alcohol, but is sold to minors. Correct? Analogous?

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    Brewed ginger beer will contain small traces of alcohol, but is sold to minors. Correct? Analogous?

    0% alcohol beer contains 0% alcohol, but is not sold to minors (really, try to get it at Countdown if you look under age). Probably even more analogous.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One day we'll have evidence-based legislation

    Nah - according to John Key, scientists are like lawyers - you can always find one who will give the counter-view. So we're stuck with legislation-based evidence for the foreseeable future.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Bell,

    Wellington, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 175 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    Brewed ginger beer will contain small traces of alcohol, but is sold to minors. Correct? Analogous?

    Off-topic but
    Love the Hakanoa Ginger beer ~1% alcohol, I'm betting they don't even measure it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Meanwhile it’s sad that the bureaucrats are all so risk averse. It seems like everyone in the chain is completely paranoid about making any call. And that means the only person willing to make a decision is the minister who is extremely unlikely to have the depth of knowledge of the people below him or her.

    To be fair, the regulations stipulate that it’s a decision for the minister, although in the case of Sativex applications are delegated to ministry officials.

    Dunne’s position is quite politically precarious and although he doesn’t have to follow the recommendations of officials, it’s a given that he generally will.

    What annoys me is the use of this approval to declare “See? The system works!” when, although this application was clearly in better order than that from Helen Kelly oncologist, none of the problems with the approval criteria have been fixed. At all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ross Bell,

    CBD is regulated under Medicines Act

    I thought it might be. But the MoH page on medical cannabis doesn’t quote the Medicines Act, it quotes the Misuse of Drugs Act.

    And the Medicines regulations list it as a “prescription medicine”. Am I right in seeing a dubious basis for making it subject to ministerial approval, when it’s not a “cannabis preparation” under the MoDA?

    Or to put it another way, why is ministerial approval required for a drug already regulated as a prescription medicine?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert, in reply to Jeremy Andrew,

    0% alcohol beer contains 0% alcohol, but is not sold to minors

    I don't have a problem with that. We banned lolly cigarettes for kids years ago, and we don't let them buy no nicotine herbal cigarettes that I know of.

    Mind you the kids can buy and love Shandy Bass in the UK

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ray Gilbert,

    We still let them play with toy guns though :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Dunce’s position

    spell check FTW :)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    More thoughts from the Labour Party

    "It's about accepting there is enough medical evidence around now that under proper or appropriate supervision from a GP or specialist that this isn't a form of treatment that ought to go through a series of hoops to get a ministerial sign-off."

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    Next thing they'll be using alcohol to clean our wounds, despite the inherent dangers of over-consumption! Won't someone think of the children!

    Since Nov 2006 • 610 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    We used to have a New Zealand Guidelines Group, independent of the Ministry of Health, whose job was to assess international clinical evidence and produce authoritative best practice guidelines. This government removed its funding.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    More thoughts from the Labour Party

    “It’s about accepting there is enough medical evidence around now that under proper or appropriate supervision from a GP or specialist that this isn’t a form of treatment that ought to go through a series of hoops to get a ministerial sign-off.”

    They've got it right!

    It seems especially the case here. This should be a one-time product approval by Medsafe. There's no reason to make every use a matter of ministerial approval.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It seems especially the case here. This should be a one-time product approval by Medsafe. There’s no reason to make every use a matter of ministerial approval.

    Damn straight!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • chris fowlie, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "I thought it might be"? I said this last week, when I told you CBD is not a tetrahydrocannabinol and therefore not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act's definition of a cannabis preparation. While CBD is in the Medicines Act, that only covers therapeutic use, not non-therapeutic use. I have written to the Ministry of Health seeking their confirmation this is the case.

    Might be being picky but all plant derived cannabinoids are "phytocannabinoids", including naturally occurring THC, CBD, and approx 100 others. CBD can also be made synthetically, or isomerised from other cannabinoids - just like THC can too - in which case it would not be a "phytocannabinoid" (that term refers to it's origin, not it's structural classification).

    A word of caution regarding that 1997 case study that purports to claim eating hemp seed oil can result in a positive drug test. The allegation is often used by Police and Customs here and in Australia to block the sale of hemp foods, which in turn keeps the hemp industry very small here. I wrote about this last year:

    "the hemp industry in the US has already addressed this concern, commissioning comprehensive research that showed hemp seed foods do not produce positive drug test results. New Zealand’s ESR also has conducted research. They obtained hemp seed oil products from The Hempstore, including our hemp lollipops, and fed them to test subjects who produced no positive results..."

    Nitpicking over, it is bloody good progress we're making lately...! NORML started a "whispering campaign" three years ago, putting good ideas into the minds of the right people (as opposed to putting ourselves out front and centre, and possibly alienating some people with our radicalness), and while we can't take all the credit it seems to be bearing fruit. Finally. Cue smile emoticons.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2010 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One day we’ll have evidence-based legislation

    No we won't, and nor would it even be desirable. We're a democracy not a sciencocracy and the demos are entitled to be slow to reach conclusions - or even irrational - if they want to be.

    It would be a good idea to have evidence-based policy advise though. And, in this case, the evidence has been clear for a very long time and government's stated position and the polls suggest the fat, lazy, overpaid, underworked Wellington policy class and the demos are now both catching up, which is a good thing.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I tend to agree with Bart about this one, Matthew. Evidence-based public policy and eventual legislation are the optimal way to proceed on many issues. It's why I support both medicinal cannabis and genetically modified crops.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    We're a democracy not a sciencocracy and the demos are entitled to be slow to reach conclusions - or even irrational - if they want to be.

    Bollocks.

    In the first place I never suggested a "sciencocracy" (sic) the word you are looking for is meritocracy where roles would be filled by those with talent in those roles rather than by popular vote (which I also did not suggest). In the second place your vaunted democracy frequently makes rules and decisions that the public never considered and even decisions to which the majority were opposed.

    The "it's democracy therefore it's correct" argument is trite and worthless.

    The majority is very often wrong and it is the responsibility of the government to make decisions that are right even when the majority don't believe those decisions are right. What I am advocating is that those decisions should be based on evidence.

    What you are suggesting would have homosexuals thrown in jail and employers allowed to pay women and minorities half the wages of white males and a whole bunch of other things that the majority wanted that were utterly wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    nor would it even be desirable

    …says someone who makes a career out of broadcasting opinion unconstrained by evidence!

    If “the people” or their representatives are slow or irrational in their reactions to real-world problems, there must be real-world consequences from that; and it is the responsibility of a government to minimise the harmful impact of such consequences. In a representative democracy, our representatives are supposed to know better than us; that’s part of why they’re there. They need to be able to follow the available evidence in making decisions.

    In the interest of their job security, they then have to be able to take the public with them where the available evidence leads.

    There, the long-term solution for improved and effective democracy is to have an educated and well-informed demos – which requires (i) freely available ongoing education, developing capacity for reflection, analysis, and critical thought, and (ii) a well-resourced and politically-independent media to disseminate results of research and investigation.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1942 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris fowlie,

    While CBD is in the Medicines Act, that only covers therapeutic use, not non-therapeutic use. I have written to the Ministry of Health seeking their confirmation this is the case.

    Ah, interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    it’s all Greek to me…

    We’re a democracy not a sciencocracy and the demos are entitled to be slow to reach conclusions

    Well done on the neologism ‘sciencocracy’, I’m guessing you meant scientocracy, still a bit of neologism itself, but I don’t think it means what you think it means, it isn’t a rule by scientists.

    Scientocracy is the practice of basing public policies on science.

    How can any clear thinking person have a problem with ‘evidence based public policy’ – which would obviously be based on ‘advice’ from those best equipped to give it.
    I don’t see how the ‘demos’ need to be part of that ‘advice’ process as by the very nature of a democracy they have elected responsible representatives to ease this burden in the face of their ignorance – it’s not a science plebiscite anyone is advocating.

    Your description of one of the ‘road blocks’ to evidence based decision making’ could also run like this: ‘the fat, lazy, overpaid, underwonked Wellington policy class’.

    I suspect you are more of the ’policy-based evidence making’ school at heart.
    ;- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    How can any clear thinking person have a problem with ‘evidence based public policy’ – which would obviously be based on ‘advice’ from those best equipped to give it.

    I think the answer lies in your question ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    the fat, lazy, overpaid, underworked Wellington policy class

    You really do need to find a new club to beat with.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

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