Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: When drug law gets so…,

    A new petition from a new group: the Health Not Handcuffs coalition.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: When drug law gets so…,

    This answer by Andrew Little to Parliamentary questions from Simeon Brown is interesting: it does suggest they get it.

    “They are one and the same: suppliers are sellers and sellers are users.”

    I do hope that funding for support services isn’t being held up by a desire to untangle the penalties side at the same time – and hence allow the reclassification – just for the sake of the optics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Would that be the same Ministry of Health that will probably end up administering a regulatory regime for cannabis?

    And the one taking a long, long time on regulations to accompany the medicinal cannabis bill, yes.

    In between the Ministry and the inevitable problems that will arise if local Government is given a role in, for example, licensing retailers like it does for alcohol, you have all the ingredients for a really first class omnishambles. If they are allowed to, Councils will probably try to adopt policies prohibiting retail licences from anywhere within a kilometre or so of a school.

    I wouldn't have a problem with such a condition. It would reflect what's happened pretty much everywhere else cannabis has been legalised.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…, in reply to Sandra Murray,

    Just one thing to correct – the plastic bag campaign was not “my” campaign. That was a networked campaign where many many local passionate people (including me) campaigned to get a ban on plastic bags. We networked together to share information, ideas and support. And each group was autonomous, which is why the corporate lobbyists couldn’t neutralise us.

    Thanks Sandra. I did wonder whether I should have phrased that better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Assuming the referendum succeeds, I hope we can also learn some lessons from the failed experiment with the Psychoactive Substances Act. The moral panic and consequent scramble by local Government to find ways of prohibiting retailers could easily happen again.

    On the other hand, a big part of the problem was the Ministry of Health taking forever to come up with regulations, meaning the interim regulatory period went on longer than anyone expected or intended. And the interim licences went to some shitty hole-in-the-wall businesses, which didn't look good on the news.

    There is also no reason to assume that a newly legal cannabis industry will be ethical or well-organised. A lot of people will be less concerned about health and welfare than turning a profit. It could easily be a shambles.

    That's what the regulation is for though. And, as above, not for profit retailing or cannabis clubs are one way around it. The Drug Foundation's model law also includes regulations on business size and local ownership. It can be done.

    And well-meaning regulation can be counterproductive. The Psychoactive Substances Act required that new products should be proved safe (or safeish) but also made it impossible to use animal testing to prove that without providing any alternative process. The result was that AFAIK nobody ever even applied to register a product. I don’t think anyone even has licences any more. So let’s not do that again.

    No, the animal testing ban was added in the same amendment that foreclosed the interim licensing period and shut the whole thing down. Leaving open the possibility that a product could be licensed if it was deemed to pose "a low risk of harm" – which was made impossible by the addition of the animal testing ban.

    The Green Party, which supported the animal testing ban, still hasn't really been able to come up with any good argument as to how such a regime could work without animal testing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…, in reply to Eric Crampton,

    Thanks Eric, that’s really useful.

    None of this is to say that the rules for alcohol are perfect for alcohol, or that they’d need no adjustment in application to cannabis. But it gives us a starting point.

    Two things occurred to me. One is that I’d like to see a more explicit duty of care, which doesn’t really happen in liquor retail above the baseline of not serving drink people or kids.

    And I also wonder if “regulated like liquor” – which did poll and focus group well in California – would go down in, say, parts of South Auckland where bottle stores are regarded as a community plague. I don't actually want to see a dozen weed stores on K Road the way there are a dozen liquor stores.

    On the other hand, Chris Fowlie’s campaign for the Waitakere Liquor Licensing Trust – on the view that the West Auckland trusts would not only be a good model for cannabis retail but could actually do it under existing regulations – foundered in part because a lot of people hate the trusts, with good reason.

    I had someone try and persuade me to get in behind a licensing trust for Grey Lynn, after the suburb (where I was living at the time) finally went “wet” in the 90s. There was no way I was going to do that. And we ended up with a couple of bottle stores, wine in the supermarkets and a bunch of nice little cafe-bars, which was all anyone living there really wanted.

    It's complicated!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…,

    TVNZ’s report on the day is good value and has longer comments from speakers than I was able to scribble down.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Getting serious about the…,

    Attachment

    The final resolutions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to BenWilson,

    There were structural reasons why the Senate was unlikely to flip, the main one being that half of it was not up for election.

    Two thirds – and most of what was up was seats the Dems already held (which is why they "won" the Senate popular vote by 12 million votes). And it wasn't that many votes in the key races away from being a different result.

    Another way of looking at the House result is that it's a turnaround of 63 seats in the House since Obama's infamous 2010 "shellacking" in the midterms.
    Phil Quin is quite good value on Newsroom today:

    In a narrow sense, it could be argued Trump successfully built a firewall in his heartland to prevent any possibility of losing both chambers. By making his closing argument on drummed up immigration fears, not the booming economy, and playing a full deck of race cards, he no doubt helped his party in the old confederate states and Appalachia.

    But by doing so, he turned off suburban voters in House districts across the country, resulting in a nine percent advantage nationally for the Democrats. To put that in context, that represents the best outcome for the party since 2008 – a presidential year marred by a cratering economy and a deeply unpopular war that voters blamed squarely on Republicans. (Before anyone quibbles that Trump managed to win office despite losing the popular vote the first time, not even the most creatively contorted Electoral College maths imaginable can turn a nine point deficit into a victory).

    If Republicans fall for their own “split decision” talking points, and fail to heed the myriad warning signs thrown up by their walloping in the House, they will sleepwalk into an electoral buzzsaw once 2020 rolls around. The GOP appears to have lost women voters by a staggering 20 points. And while Hispanic, African American and millennial antipathy to Trump didn't translate into hoped-for victories in Florida,Texas and Georgia, it is nevertheless real, intense – and growing. The well of white racial resentment from which Trump draws so gleefully is not bottomless, and it doesn't come without costs.

    Another point of interest: voters in three deep red states overruled their legislatures and voted for an expansion of socialised healthcare.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Midterms, in reply to nzlemming,

    Gillum has conceded to De Santis in Florida.

    And yet the progress total is a near dead-heat. The Florida Senate is literally 50-50 right now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22633 posts Report Reply

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