Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Media Take: We need to talk about cannabis

31 Responses

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    Here come the hippies....

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5528 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    What's a hippy? Is that a Dad rock thing?
    Labour seem very politically shy on this issue. It really is time to make the law match the populace view. So slow coming.

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to andrew r,

    What’s a hippy? Is that a Dad rock thing?

    You got it. Man.

    Labour seem very politically shy on this issue. It really is time to make the law match the populace view. So slow coming.

    Two things behind it:

    1. A conservative political strategy in election year. They’re happy for the Greens to run with it, but determined to go no further than medical cannabis, lest they be attacked by National.

    2. The genuinely-held views of Andrew Little – who’s not exactly up with the research – and others. They simply see any “liberalisation” as likely to increase use. (Fun fact: depending on which study you look at, teen cannabis use has either not changed or actually fallen since legalisation in Colorado.)

    It’s a shame for the likes of Jacinda Ardern, Greg O’Connor (yes, really) and others, who have a bit more understanding of the issues. I’m pretty sure more than half the caucus would favour reform.

    One thing the Māori Party’s shift does is ease the pressure on the Greens, who are extremely anxious about being seen as the crazy druggie party. Props to Julie Anne Genter there – I gather some other Green MPs supported their policy but weren’t willing to front it, so she did.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    who are extremely anxious about being seen as the crazy druggie party.

    HAHA
    And those who aren't on drugs aren't crazy?
    One look around the world would dispel that myth.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1656 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Tis me, the deleter. Note that "AOD" is short for Alcohol and Other Drugs. If either alcohol or nicotine were presented for approval under current frameworks, they'd be met with laughter and disdain. Unlike a substance with therapeutic benefits and no lethal dose ..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19413 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    And what about the economic angle? I tuned into a RNZ Checkpoint discussion a few weeks ago where the view was expressed that substituting existing opiate-based pain relief medications prescribed for chronic/terminal patients for medicinal marijuana could save Pharmac in the order of hundreds of millions per year. Create new (legitimate) horticulture and processing industries to supply medicinal marijuana to ourselves and the net economic effect would be multiplied. Add some serious R&D and we have export potential to add to the equation. On the other hand we could just continue spending up on imported opiates. Are we morons?

    Since Aug 2014 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • dave stewart,

    Since Aug 2014 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    Life of Its Own: The Truth about Medical Marijuana on Choice TV on Sunday, converted my super-straight, conservative, pensioner partner :-). He became a conspiracy theorist at the same time, certain that US pharma was behind the suppression of all the product research and expertise on it in Israel.

    Of course there's me just thinking about agri-academic utopia in NZ where our best agrichemists and botanists were developing new strains of weed that targeted all kinds specific medical uses - instead of trying to develop GM grasses that reduce methane gas output from cows.

    The husband being an epileptic with chronic pain would quite rather be taking a herbal remedy than his current swathe of chemical remedies too.

    And as for what to do - I'm for legalisation via the Denver model. I participated in TOP's survey of members and it was really well put together. An exemplar of informed choice. Can't wait to see the policy output - though I suspect Gareth himself to be more of a conservative incrementalist.

    We should be getting into this industry/harvest like a dog's breakfast. No bigger value-add commodity product out there to my mind. Suzanne Aubert funded her orphanages with the value-add medicinal products she prepared. We need to embrace our true heritage.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 743 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to dave stewart,

    My argument completely. Let’s get rich on a sustainable, value-add crop. Lead the world. Point is - it won't happen in the US due to big pharma - we can get a serious jump on the int'l market by leading the way in R&D.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 743 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to dave stewart,

    And what about the economic angle? I tuned into a RNZ Checkpoint discussion a few weeks ago where the view was expressed that substituting existing opiate-based pain relief medications prescribed for chronic/terminal patients for medicinal marijuana could save Pharmac in the order of hundreds of millions per year.

    That’s just magic thinking. These are completely different substances that do entirely different things to human beings.

    Its just as good to argue that a shot of whisky would do the trick at a car accident.

    The best case for medical marijuana that I’ve seen, is in California. It’s better to just allow people who want to use it, to use it, just as long as they know the side effects. And just like any medication, there are side effects.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to steven crawford,

    These are completely different substances that do entirely different things to human beings. Its just as good to argue that a shot of whisky would do the trick at a car accident.

    One of the striking things about accounts of 18th and 19th Century medicine is the widespread use of alcohol, e.g. lashings of brandy for a whole host of ailments. Prime Minister John Ballance's unsuccessful 1893 bowel cancer operation was supposed to have involved literal injections of champagne. It's almost as if Big Pharma supplanted the booze barons.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4512 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to steven crawford,

    The best case for medical marijuana that I’ve seen, is in California. It’s better to just allow people who want to use it, to use it, just as long as they know the side effects. And just like any medication, there are side effects.

    That's where the doco on Choice added new understandings - as they were growing different hybrids for different medical uses/conditions, and processing medicines and prescribing delivery mechanisms on an individual patient basis. All these things subsequently reducing the negative and psychoactive side effects. What I got from that was that self-medicating, even for pain, isn't the way to go.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 743 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    That’s just magic thinking. These are completely different substances that do entirely different things to human beings.

    Its just as good to argue that a shot of whisky would do the trick at a car accident.

    No, it's real. People are doing it and there are promising studies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steven crawford,

    The best case for medical marijuana that I’ve seen, is in California. It’s better to just allow people who want to use it, to use it, just as long as they know the side effects. And just like any medication, there are side effects.

    I think there are problems with very loose medical regimes. I found the episode of Weediquette looking at parents in Oregon who give their cancer-stricken kids massive doses of THC oil – on a very flimsy basis – a bit troubling.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, and here's A life of its own: The truth about medical marijuana, which screened on Choice on Sunday night.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    a cultural aside:
    (from The Secret Life of Books )
    John Cooper Clarke explores Thomas de Quincey's autobiographical classic Confessions of an English Opium Eater

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7480 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I think there are problems with very loose medical regimes. I found the episode of Weediquette looking at parents in Oregon who give their cancer-stricken kids massive doses of THC oil – on a very flimsy basis – a bit troubling.

    I agree. There is a big difference between "medical marijuana" and pharmaceutical extracts of it. Medical marijuana is code for "decriminalised" which is what California is doing. It's medical kind of like methadone. There is a very lose lip service to supervision of users, that use it to self medicate - in some cases, the consequences of smoking dope for decades. But mostly, it's not really medical marijuana, it's decriminalisation. And that's a public health argument, not a pharmaceutical one.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to steven crawford,

    But mostly, it’s not really medical marijuana, it’s decriminalisation.

    Yes, I agree and that's why I prefer the Colorado model over the California one. Decriminalisation (largely for medicinal purposes) is a Clayton's form of reform. From what I can gather from the doco Druglawed it simply became the evil weed as a means to keep bureaucrats in jobs once alcohol prohibition ended in the US.

    And that has unfairly hindered society's progress toward exploring and exploiting its medicinal benefits - whilst at the same time making the criminal element in terms of its distribution wildly prosperous, along with the horrific cruelty such escalation of cartels and gangs has wrought on many societies.

    Better it becomes a legal substance, regulated like alcohol - as to me it is a more honest (and sensible) approach.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2014 • 743 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    the widespread use of alcohol [in the 19th century] ... for a whole host of ailments

    They knew almost nothing about physiology or biochemistry, and nearly everything they did know was wrong.

    Consequently, anything that produced an effect, any effect, was a drug candidate. Alcohol is an anaesthetic, an emetic, increases blood pressure, and a bunch of other effects. That would have been enough "evidence".

    A bit like alternative medicine today.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5528 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Yes, I agree and that’s why I prefer the Colorado model over the California one.

    Colorado’s robust medical system is one reason its broader legalisation has worked so well. The METRC “seed-to-sale” system came from its medical regime – it began with bar codes and now uses RFID tags.

    On one level it allows the state to prove to the Feds that legally-grown weed isn’t entering the black market. But it’s also important for product assurance. When you’re talking about breeding for specific attributes, it’s essential to be able to show that the retail product is actually what it says on the label.

    One of the reasons Helen Kelly’s application to the MoH failed is because the product she wanted to use came from a California firm that couldn’t provide a simple assay (despite having heaps of investment capital to play with).

    Otoh, California is certainly the powerhouse of the US cannabis economy. As much as two thirds of the weed it produces leaves the state already. One episode of Bong Appetit that screened during Weed Week featured a chef with a fridge full of terpenes (the aromatic compounds in cannabis that aren’t psychoactive in their own right but seem to moderate effects) separated out from raw cannabis and used to season dishes. And that’s before legalisation. Basically you just have to call it medicine and you're sweet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22227 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Better it becomes a legal substance, regulated like alcohol – as to me it is a more honest (and sensible) approach.

    disclaimer: I’m not a great fan of the current alcohol regulations, particularly the way it’s allowed to be advertised. While marijuana is reasonably benign, like alcohol, it can be problematic for some people (and there family’s) even when all the ingredients are clearly labeled on the packaging. Make marijuana a legal substance, ok, but I shudder when I imagine the sorts of medicinal narratives that could be created by marketing firms.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3845 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    There’s another reason we need to be talking about this more seriously. And that’s that cannabis is everywhere. It’s in the culture in a way it has not been before.

    It's high time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10488 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    I'm not buying the binary; legalise pot so we can concentrate criminal efforts on P.
    So cannabis is everywhere but you can't buy it at a tinny house, eh? I suspect pot is a musohippy thing and P is a fuckitgenrent thing. I would be following the drug foundations approach to any drug use, namely any drug can fuck up your life, use needs care and friendly criticism and support. Legalise all drugs and get rid of the black market, legal sanctions and social stigma that interfere with a healthy attitude to recreational drug use.

    Since Mar 2010 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    2. The genuinely-held views of Andrew Little – who’s not exactly up with the research

    Which raises alarm bells for those hoping to change the Government to a group whose policies - one hopes - are more evidence based (across the board) than the current lot.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2117 posts Report Reply

  • Shane Le Brun,

    It was a bit frustrating to hear Marama talk about the spaced out family scenario all thanks to Cannabis. She cant seriously think said family would be a functional unit with no issues if all the Cannabis magically dissapeared? Reminds me of a Chris Rock joke about the ghetto being full of swimming pools and Bentleys till Crack came and took it all away....

    Since Mar 2015 • 41 posts Report Reply

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