Were I A Doctor with the social imperative of public health best practice at the heart of my clinical experience I would see the dispalcement of harms of alcohol (and other potential drugs of misuse potential) and their evidential mental health contribution to the public health burden. I would also see, as many health professionals do, that the mental health harms of cannabis are largely overstated.
But more relevant to this Doctors 'fears where there should be none' is the open slather the liquor industry has to the at risk group 18 to 20, imbedded into the proposed bill, made supposedly (a) offering the pretence of 'protection' from harm (b) to encourage public support from more conservative voters.
The problem is not a selective reading of the science, it is a lack of the lived experience within the culture of cannabis and denial of the collective wisdom within it.
I have long been involved with a wide range of matters related to the process leading up to the formation of the EACD (supposedly a safe pair of hands) and observed the various directives as to prioritising resolution surrounding cannabis. (ie second health select cmte inquiry, cannabis and the law, ‘as a matter of priority’)
Certainly, the weakness of the EACD’s functional role surely must be the bulk of its membership are turkeys being asked to vote for Christmas. Justice, Corrections, Police, BorderControl and the Treatment Industry, along with some seriously token maorism. (what percentage of EACD meetings did msrs Warbrick attend?).
My second crucial objection is the narrow scope applied in drug policy, treating the issue on a drug by drug basis. (inconsistent with National Drug Policy)
My third is the lack of transparency, my fourth, the functionally corrupt practice of not consulting with, nor weighting, the consumer – for if this 'vexing matter' is, and surely it is agreed, ‘a health issue’ then why is policy inconsistent with our disability law. ie: “no decision about us, without us”.
We need consumer representation. Now.
A good government would ensure any EACD function was tested at the table….. A bad government would structure it to serve the government view.
Now let’s not start on the Interagency Cmte or the Ministerial Cmte, or even the role State Services and Ministry of Internal Affairs play in ensuring the Law Commission’s brief was constrained to ’being informed by the International Obligations” rather than evidence informing our membership/signatory status to those conventions.
Your mileage may vary…..
re recent UK report "urges the adoption of consumer protection legislation" is what we have in our Ministry of Health legislative response to recreational soft drugs now. (see restricted substances regulations" http://legislation.govt.nz ).
The right to possess (for personal use) is a barren right without protecting and honouring the right to purchase safely, the right to informed consent, the right to research, develop processes, improve quality control and materials handling, to secure, store, transport, process, manufacture, cultivate, label, and merchandise. Commercial law in conjunction with civil oversight (ie: R18, certified list of contents etc) is enabled by the innovative restricted substances regulations.
The Law Commission Review pretended its terms of reference did not include examination of the Single Conventions from first principles (preferring to be beholden to any reform as being within the realms of what is 'politically possible' ) accordingly it kept Cannabis as Class C and citing the 2005 United Future MOD amendment "cannot put drugs down a class" despite evidence or best practice. This was contrary to the earlier purpose of creating an expert advisory committee and held our legislative standard to a 'thou shalt talk about cannabis in this term of parliament or we will withdraw the treasury chequebook' by a bunch of folk who thought dihydrogen was a killer drug threat.
We cannot hope to fix alcohol (or tobacco, kroic or meth) without adopting the highly indicated even if holistic approach to an ALL drug policy as recommended in the pre-National Drug Policy formulation documents circa 1996. Instead we got a separation of licit (alcohol) policy and after several years (quite a deliberate obfuscation) illicit policy completely at odds with best practice and worse, at odds with Ottawa Charter principles.
We are still, despite a $50,000pa budget (1995 dollars) to do ANY cost benefit analysis of the prohibition of cannabis, it was dropped systematically in what was described by eminent epidemiologists and public health experts as "going, going, gone" presumably because such a study would have had legislative implications.
Again despite a comprehensive review by Val Sims and Warren Young they failed to do ANY policy impact statement for 'social dealing' of any recreational drug, where Police discovery requires arrest and removal of any drug for ESR analysis, removal of any evidence of 'money' or, contrary to recreational soft drug administration, equipment required for quality control and any 'perp' labelled for running a clan-lab.
Until we are prepared to put the signatory status of the Single Convention under scrutiny we will never fix what is broken forever beholden to the politics of failure and a legacy of smoke and mirrors policy tensions.
We must legally regulate cannabis. Anything else is just moving deck chairs.
The Law Commission report was titled control and regulate, so, just bloody do it. It is the product of choice for so many, it is not criminogenic, we need to do good epidemiological research for a whole bunch of reasons [ie: look up "cannabinoid AND (diabetes OR obesity)" on Google Scholar] and having done so, much of the angst regarding all the rest of the drugs including those that are emerging....(oooowww, must be a drug threat!) simply dissipates to become either the realm of the bored or science of small numbers.
For this is the stuff of social capital.
And deserving of a reply too... after I have won the mayoral race here in Christchurch, I'll make the effort to revist the posting by Russell... in the short form though it is about 'narc culture' and why people resist telling on other folk, notably, the "i dont want to be involved' syndrome.
If that wasnt half obvious from the post (especially the itemised hot links) then thats because it was read from a perspective we in drug policy sometimes overlook... not everyone figures this stuff out for themselves, it has to be spelt out for them. Its like dragging someone over 'hot coals', they resist and resist until then suddenly on reaching the otherside and learn 'it didnt hurt at all'.
Regards to everyone who voted.... /Blair