Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    I agree with all of this except the bit about privacy in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Privacy is not one of the rights guaranteed in that Act. It isn't even mentioned.

    No, true. But that seems to be the yardstick legal commentators reach for in trying to define what constitutes an "unreasonable search" under the Act.

    or when we give the Police more "discretion" to make those decisions themselves. I think those are exactly the sort of good intentions that pave the way to somewhere unpleasant. Do you trust the Police to make those sorts of decisions in a fair and reasonable way?

    But that is what's been happening – the Police finding ways not to prosecute because the legislature won't go there. It use to really piss me off when John Key would merrily declare that there was no need for law reform because the police would just use their discretion.

    The (predictable) result seems to be that the usual social and ethnic biases carry over into the exercise of discretion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to Joe Boden,

    His producer was telling me about some other interviewees who are already involved in growing, and they seem to be gearing up to be making some big money. It could just be wishful thinking... time will tell, I guess.

    I think there's a difference between allowing commerce on the production side – where there are costs and compliance and it can't be done for free – and a highly commercial retail sector.

    I don't think there's a serious lobby here behind open-slather regulation – the longtime reform advocates almost universally don't want a highly commercial model. The only person in NZ I've seen argue for Big Cannabis is Karl du Fresne, and he's an idiot.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see the government opt for a NZ take on cannabis social clubs. They don't have to do anything of the kind, of course – the original MoU is vague enough that they could just propose legalising use and possession but not any kind of production. Which I think would be a mistake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    The reality is that it is probably going to take years for that to happen (if it does at all), the outcomes may not be optimal even if/when it does, and that the Police are not going to just look the other way in the meantime.

    And while I sympathise with Pearl Schomburg, I really don't want to live in country where politicians get to give orders to Police about which laws they should be enforcing and which they should just let slide.

    There's a forthcoming amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will explicitly guide police discretion away from prosecution where a health-based response would be more appropriate, or where prosecution would not be in the public interest. It's a pretty big deal.

    But the police have been finding ways to not prosecute possession for more than a decade. That's the reason that cannabis prosecutions have been declining. And two weeks ago, Tamara Garlick just got a warning after being caught growing 45 plants on her property.

    So it's entirely reasonable to ask why this expensive, intrusive annual exercise continues. This isn't just police "applying the law", and the behaviour Cindy describes above reads like a violation of the "reasonable expectation of privacy" guaranteed in the Bill of Rights Act. It's reasonable to worry about that, about the use of military resources for police business, about the fact that no one will say what the total cost is – and about whether there are better uses for that money.

    I realise your point was about the medicinal angle, but there's already a situation where green fairies are taking up the slack while regulations get written – hence the statutory defence in the medicinal cannabis bill for people in palliative care. It just seems odd to go this hard after the small producers of the products the law acknowledges those patients will use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to steven crawford,

    The wording of the referendum that Big Business is likely to push for will emphasise freedom to buy cannabis as a matter of individual choice, with no reference to the type of regulation surrounding the sale of cannabis; wording such as: Do you think it should be legal to buy cannabis in New Zealand? Yes. No.

    Thanks Joe, this is worth taking very seriously.

    I think Joe and Doug will get their wish. The proposed model was always going to severely limit commercial exploitation of any new market.

    But by the same token, I'm not clear that there will actually be a "Big Business" lobby for a liberal commercial regime along the lines they expect. There's no sign of that yet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Cannabis is incompatible with human happiness because capitalism. These are the takes that led to the over-stimulation of my mesolimbic system when reading Danyl, and the resulting anhedonia has long since worn off since I quit.

    I've been quite surprised by the praise for Danyl's essay, because I rather strongly dislike it and think it says far less than it purports to. Framing all drug use in terms of some sort of dystopian dopamine chase ignores a lot of the actual reasons that people take drugs, including social ones.

    And "we should have an agency that decides what to do about drugs" is a very bloody thin conclusion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: We have to rethink the annual…,

    Report this morning from a resident: " ... full tilt operation unlike any we've seen in 12 years at Te Henga. Breaching the rahui on the ranges, pouring poison from helicopters. Handful of plants destroyed and a few hapless home growers dragged off."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Music: Three Festivals, in reply to Hugh Wilson,

    And the Massive Attack drink ticket was something I found a few weeks back – from the Auckland show down near the old Railway station/yards. Clearly surplus to my needs, as my memories of the night are a bit blurred due to booze at the show and the old passage of time.

    I have only the vaguest memories of that show too – but I do remember Horace Andy.

    Great clip, wish they’d tour these ways again.

    Their last show in Auckland was at Spark (then Vector) Arena, where the dodgy acoustics made it a lottery for sound. We we seated in what should have been good seats up along the side and getting blasted, while people just down below us on the floor was calling for the volume to be be turned up. It was bloody frustrating.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to Ross Bell,

    Boden FINAL.pdf

    There’s an editorial in the NZ Medical Journal today, and it’s not very good. So some questions for the researcher who wrote it (who also comments on Public Address):

    In this very thread!

    We’re talking about Joe Boden’s cannabis editorial for the New Zealand Medical Association Journal – which is being widely reported today – and at first glance I think there’s a problem there: the key research he quotes (Hasin) has very little to say about the impact of *legalisation* in the US.

    The trends the editorial observes, some of which should be of concern, aren’t attributed to recreational cannabis legalisation. Some are attributed to permissive medicinal cannabis laws, or took place under decriminalisation. And yet Joe *recommends* decriminalisation as a safer step.

    On the other hand, youth use is either stable or falling in *all legalised states*. It could be that half-pie measures like decriminalisation actually aren’t as effective as comprehensive regulation. Joe needs to demonstrate that’s not the case if he’s to recommend decriminalisation.

    So, in short, I think there are some significant unexamined assumptions in the editorial. It’s saying something intuitively appealing – decriminalisation is safer than legalisation and regulation – that may not actually be true.

    There’s also an assumption that legalisation in NZ would look like legalisation in the US. That’s not necessarily the case. Joe could have looked at the impact of, say, the cannabis social clubs of Europe. They legalise and regulate the production and sale of cannabis. Or even what Canada is doing. His assumption that legalisation means big business retail isn’t well-founded either – I can’t think of anyone in New Zealand who wants that, apart from Karl du Fresne, and he’s an unserious fool.

    It’s important to note that the editorial does propose decriminalising small-scale social supply, which is welcome, but its solution doesn’t regulate production at all. It may be easier to prevent supply to under 18 year-olds if you don’t leave production and supply to the criminal market.

    Anyway, I do genuinely appreciate that Joe has engaged here over time and is thus part of the PA community, and I’d be delighted if he wanted to discuss these criticisms.

    I also hope that no one minds too much that I’ve uploaded a PDF of the editorial at the top of this comment :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    but would be surprised if the concept of a smoke free New Zealand would not include pot for many and hence in reference to topic at hand be a considerable opponent to liberalizing recreational pot.

    The evidence seems to be that while inhaling smoke is clearly bad for your lungs, cannabis smoke does not cause lung cancer (the key seems to be the absence of the radioactive tars present in tobacco smoke). But smoking isn’t the only way of using cannabis.

    I don’t think cannabis is addictive in the way tobacco is, but there is is an established diagnosis of cannabis dependence. The evidence of the Auckland School of Medicine surveys is that a majority of New Zealanders use cannabis at some point, and most of them stop using it because they don’t like it any more – it was striking how far legal peril came down the list of reasons for stopping.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Cannabis reform is a serious…, in reply to Simon Armstrong,

    we should be focused on our country being smokefree 2025 first and foremost

    We can do two things at the same time.

    government never apologized to health department and parents for synthetics debacle

    Synthetics were being sold in dairies before the Psychoactive Substances Act, which radically reduced the number of outlets (from as many as 4,000 to fewer than 170). And the Ministry of Health was complicit in its failure – it didn't manage to get all regulations in place until about two years after the Act was nobbled. And, of course, it was after the products were banned that things got really bad and people started dying.

    * adding recreational pot to binge drinking culture does not make our roads safer

    Which would be to assume that this doesn't already happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22698 posts Report Reply

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