Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Illegal Highs

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  • Jackson James Wood,

    Bingo

    New Zealand • Since May 2011 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    taking all products with interim approval off the market.

    Does this mean that products which have not been submitted for interim approval (and which are not part of previously banned categories) will no longer be illegal? The scope of the new law will be crucial.

    they and their parties were both opposed to the decriminalisation of cabbanis.

    Sounds dangerous. Keep it illegal. ETA: I see the problem has been fixed – it was fun while it lasted.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    Sounds dangerous. Keep it illegal.

    Damn you. I just fixed that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to George Darroch,

    Does this mean that products which have not been submitted for interim approval (and which are not part of previously banned) will no longer be illegal? The scope of the new law will be crucial.

    The law remains, but without the interim approvals. So any of the products could subsequently be approved.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    People have been asking in the other thread about the legal implications of possessing these substances now. As per Section 71 of the Act, mere possession is not a very serious offence:

    71 Offence relating to personal possession of psychoactive substance that is not approved product
    (1)A person commits an offence if the person has a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product in his or her possession.
    (2)Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who holds a licence in respect of the psychoactive substance.
    (3)A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $500.

    Supply is a bit more serious:

    70 Offences relating to psychoactive substance that is not approved product
    (1)A person commits an offence if the person, without reasonable excuse,—
    (a)sells or supplies a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product to any person; or
    (b)offers to sell or supply a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product to any person; or
    (c)possesses a psychoactive substance that is not an approved product with the intent to sell or supply the psychoactive substance to any person.
    (2)Subsection (1) does not apply to a person who holds a licence to sell psychoactive substances that are not approved products that applies to the psychoactive substance.
    (3)A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable on conviction,—
    (a)in the case of an individual, to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 2 years:
    (b)in the case of a body corporate, to a fine not exceeding $500,000.

    By comparison, the penalties relating to cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act are much more severe: three months jail for possession and eight years for supply or even growing plants. If it happens to be in the form of hashish, manufacture or supply attracts a maximum sentence of 14 years.

    But of course we can't talk about this because it's election year.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    Yep - and in news just to hand - Naitonal has placed a candidate from the tobacco industry in the safe seat of Clutha-Southland. Sigh!

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Good post on the issue here by Tim Watkin. Especially this info provided to The Nation:

    Nicola Kean, a producer for The Nation, asked the Ministry of Health last week:

    “What’s the trend (if any) for people presenting at A+E for problems with psychoactive substances since the law was introduced?”

    A written reply on Thursday said:

    “While it is early days the Authority has received anecdotal reports demonstrating the number of severe presentations to emergency departments has reduced since the Act came in.

    The Authority monitors approved products received from the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), and calls from the public to the National Poisons Centre on a regular basis.

    These reports also show a reduction in the number of severe issues being reported. Where severe adverse reactions are reported the Authority has the power to act and has already removed products from the market where reports to CARM identified they posed more than a low risk of harm”.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As far as the politics goes…

    There’s no political downside for anyone in a lot of hot air – and hasty, not-terribly-well-designed legislation – to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, and there’s no credible case would ever happen? I’m really not impressed by the (figurative) willy-waving going on between Dunne, Cunliffe and Key.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    This all seems like a knee jerk reaction to the media frenzy surrounding how these substances were destroying the very fabric of our society... and as a result we can expect little rationale dialogue around recreational drugs for a few more years?

    Meanwhile the minimum alcohol pricing is rejected (booze = good drugs)

    I guess the problem youths et al will now move from one retailer to another - back to the local booze shop. And from one health problem to another too.

    *sigh*

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • Dan Salmon,

    Hey Russell, thanks for this thoughtful post. Helps me make sense of the whole mess.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2011 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    By comparison, the penalties relating to cannabis under the Misuse of Drugs Act are much more severe: three months jail for possession and eight years for supply or even growing plants.

    And soon to be ten years for possession of a book about growing the plants (or 14 years if you ordered it from Amazon).

    I would note that the maximum fine for drug dealing/growing/etc. offences is substantially lower than that applying to other psychoactives covered by this regime.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I would note that the maximum fine for drug dealing/growing/etc. offences is substantially lower than that applying to other psychoactives covered by this regime.

    But that $500k fine only applies to a body corporate, not an individual.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    "He now says any consequences of the hasty ban will be on Labour"

    Utter bullshit. As if Labour proposing a policy forces the govt to enact it.

    If Dunne was actually worried about the impact of announcing his change, there was nothing to stop his continued silence - except the sheer political vanity of wanting to be seen as the one who thought of it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But that $500k fine only applies to a body corporate, not an individual.

    Well, for individuals, the maximum fine is the same then. $10,000. But vastly different for bodies corporate.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The silver lining is the philosophical bankruptcy of harm reduction policy (elephant in the room style) has finally had the creditors called in. It's a bit like seeing Dunkirk as a step forward. Finally, we're in a position to call an end. Not the beginning of the end...that's still a long way off. That's where America is. We're at the end of the beginning.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Sacha,

    Utter bullshit. As if Labour proposing a policy forces the govt to enact it.

    If Dunne was actually worried about the impact of announcing his change, there was nothing to stop his continued silence – except the sheer political vanity of wanting to be seen as the one who thought of it.

    Just went looking for the "upvote" button on that comment, then remembered where I was. Consider this comment an upvote.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    cheers

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Peter Dunne for his part insists that the government had already decided to ban everything butwas delaying an announcment to prevent stockpiling.

    The OIA will tell us whether he's lying about the timing or not.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Idiot Savant,

    The OIA will tell us whether he’s lying about the timing or not

    Yes, it would be good to go from 99.9% sure he's a liar to 99.99% sure. That's incremental progress right there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Slightly off-topic, but there's been, unsurprisingly, some pretty hypocritical comments by MPs over this.

    The Nats claimed David Cunliffe was "playing politics" when he accused the PM of milking the royal visit for publicity (and to be fair, Cunliffe shouldn't have commented about it).

    Yet Dunne now turns around and blames Labour for any panic-buying by synthetic users' that might happen.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    The silver lining is the philosophical bankruptcy of harm reduction policy (elephant in the room style)

    Oh, come on. Harm minimisation is what brought us needle exchanges and safe needle drops for IV drug users, and allows pill testing at at dance parties in more enlightened countries. It’s what got all personal drug possession decriminalised in Portugal. It’s a key element of marijuana legalisation in Colorado, and prostitution law reform in New Zealand.

    It might not be perfect, but it has actual runs on the board. It seems better than just waiting for things to improve after the prohibitionist apocalypse. But, then, I've always been a dirty incrementalist.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I did say “elephant in the room style”. It could be done without that. It’s how it’s being done* in NZ that I’m referring to.

    It seems better than just waiting for things to improve after the prohibitionist apocalypse. But, then, I’ve always been a dirty incrementalist.

    Well, now we’ve got prohibition. That’s what they think of your incrementalism.

    *ETA: Sorry, make that "how it was done". I'm still struggling to get my head around the fact that they just announced an intention to make every psychoactive substance illegal. Except, of course, the two that kill the most people by far, tobacco and alcohol. Oh and coffee. We've still got coffee. For now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I look forward to them banning gasoline, though. Who'd have thought that a National government would shut down the oil industry?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    A continuation rather than a coincidence, please again for a detox facility for medical assessment.

    Drug use is a health issue.

    Yet underlying causes including mental health issues are in the too-hard-basket. I feel your frustration.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Tim Michie,

    Drug use is a health issue, and a personal liberty issue. That second part of it got eroded to being worth nearly zero, before being called by the umpire as now officially zero. I think the new name for Dunne should be "Silver Hammer".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10653 posts Report Reply

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