I think you’re being a bit harsh on Andrew Little. He can’t just go rouge, he has to listen to his caucus.
Nah. Little's been way out ahead of his caucus on this – Kris Faafoi, his replacement as Minister of Justice has already said he'd vote for a decriminalisation member's bill. Ardern did recently slightly endorse his referendum argument, but that seemed more about saving face for him. Otherwise, no one else in government is saying what he says – that the referendum on cannabis legalisation means the government now can't do any reform at all.
If dope was free maybe beer could be too. What does money have to do with drugs anyway?
I can't help but notice how closely the Ministry of Health's scheme for medicinal cannabis seems to resemble the same Ministry's scheme for administrating the Psychoactive Substances Act. A regime which purports to exist for the purpose of regulating a lawful activity is functionally indistinguishable from an outright ban. And the model for legalised cannabis proposed for the referendum looked suspiciously similar. Too many barriers, too much expense, and (surprise surprise) nothing and nobody is ever quite good enough to get through it all. So how the Minister can stand there with a straight face and claim that he expected a different result is beyond me. There's a name for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I can’t help but notice how closely the Ministry of Health’s scheme for medicinal cannabis seems to resemble the same Ministry’s scheme for administrating the Psychoactive Substances Act.
There are certainly some similarities – notably the establishment of a transitional scheme that the system can't get past because product approval is too hard. But the PSA had the problem of trying to regulate substances that were poorly-understood and generally dangerous. With medicinal cannabis, the problem is trying to fit a relatively harmless substance into a pharmaceutical regime where it has no history.
Russell thank you for this "as usual" excellent summation of an important event / set of issues. I agree generally with your summation of Nick Russell's comment; the MoH's obsession with a pharmaceutical model is throttling the nascent development of the availability of medicinal cannabis and the associated regulations, strategies, structures, scheme etc. However, I also hear what Nick is saying re the PSA analogy, in as much as the Ministry has created a framework that simultaneously allows med can and undermines the possibility of its growth or availability. This MUST be challenged and I certainly wouldn't agree with Steven Crawford's defence of Andrew Little. Between Little and Clarke, when it comes to cannabis policy we've had two unimaginative and ineffectual ministers; effectively useless. Given that the drug policy portfolio has historically been the preserve of an Associate Min of Health, surely it's time to push this important work to one of these? Dr Ayesha Verrall, for example, has a background in a broadly public health area; given the inequities Māori suffer at the hands of drug policy, particularly that relating to cannabis, how's about Peeni Henare? And there's also Aupito Sio, though there's a real conservatism within Pacifika. Anyhoo, there are alternatives to Little, though whether these have the intestinal fortitude to grasp the nettle of real reform remains to be seen.
I started to despair of politics and politicians.
I'm not sure if this makes me happy or sad. I despaired some years ago but misery does love company.
So how the Minister can stand there with a straight face and claim that he expected a different result is beyond me. There's a name for doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
I doubt he really expected a different result. He not insane, he's just a liar. The insanity is in expecting honesty from powerful politicians.
In sum, it was was an important affirmation that science is not values-free.
And yet that is meant to be its main strength. I have long thought that an obsession with value free knowledge as a means to making value judgments and inevitably practical moral decisions is a very dangerous obsession. It means that value discussion itself is tragically weak since it deals with non scientific claims and is therefore derided as having no merit. Which inevitably means that the values of the very people providing the value free knowledge go unexamined and unchallenged and take precedence. And it is very, very difficult for any layperson in their field to unpack where they went wrong since their field is highly technical.
Russell thank you for this “as usual” excellent summation of an important event / set of issues. I agree generally with your summation of Nick Russell’s comment; the MoH’s obsession with a pharmaceutical model is throttling the nascent development of the availability of medicinal cannabis and the associated regulations, strategies, structures, scheme etc.
I interviewed a patient today for whom the current scheme is actually really working. But now Tilray 25, his prescribed product, is being withheld over a very technical issue with labelling and no one seems inclined to ensure patients get continuity of the only prescribable product in its class.
Then I explained why his current CBD product might disappear too ...