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Banks’ Epsom chances up in smoke?

Written By: - Date published: 9:06 am, September 26th, 2011 - 66 comments
Categories: drugs, law and "order" - Tags:

Decriminalising marijuana just makes sense. 400,000 people are regular users. Prohibition costs half a billion a year, is ineffective, and fuels the gangs. So good on Brash for raising the issue. It’s totally consistent with ACT’s values. Problem is, John Banks and Don Nicolson don’t share those values. Gonna be fun to watch Banks on this issue in Epsom.

66 comments on “Banks’ Epsom chances up in smoke?”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    Brash is just trying to get down with the kids, show them he’s a hip pensioner who knows what’s what.

    Guy from the sensible sentencing trust this morning said Brash was absolutely wrong.

    • Galeandra 1.1

      L – ‘Guy from the sensible sentencing trust’…… like, who asked these knobs anyway? I’m old enough to be bloody angry about the way a piece of US driven idiocy has turned a ‘war on drugs’ into a cash cow for vicious p-labbing gangs, and old enough to be sick of parties doing the mandated tough-on-crims jive so that the great unwashed will vote them another term.Brash saw dollar signs mostly, but he referenced the gang link, and good on him.

    • mik e 1.2

      dinosaur on drugs failed to inhale

  2. toad 2

    Brash’s mistake is that the drug of choice among Epsom voters is cocaine, not cannabis.

  3. Wyndham 3

    With cannabis legal, will the gangs then ensure their income flow by concentrating on the manufacture of P ? Unintended consequence ?

    • Blighty 3.1

      wouldn’t they be perfectly placed to go legitimate and just sell cannabis?

      P rices are rising and use declining

      • Cultivate; comercialise; and tax.

        Sounds like a plan.

        • prism 3.1.1.1

          It seems that Brash is trying to provide some rationality. Here’s John Banks now saying ‘He always will be opposed to drugs.’ You could almost replace that with – I will always refuse to revise and review my ideas in an objective way. Being a ranter is more fun.

          If only we had a mechanism to look at laws to see if we could get the required result in a way that was better for citizens, and cheaper. The amount of police budget spent on hunting in helicopters for marijuana plantings, the amount of violence that arises when the crops or profits are threatened, the entry into criminality which can lead onto the more dangerous manufactured drugs are all reasons for a new approach.

          Marijuana as hemp would add more dollars to our economy as a growing sector in our growing industry. And many country blokes, Maori and others, are already skilled at growing it, go with what you know and like, make money for all and solve unemployment problems in the rural areas.

          • mik e 3.1.1.1.1

            Funny how an ex publican Banks can oppose drugs when the most dangerous drugs in the country are sold in hotels.Hypocrisy doesn’t show good leadership, it just tell those who use illegal drugs that the law is an ass .While the criminal underworld profit and Grow literally

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      Brash isn’t calling for the legalisation of marijuana, he’s calling for its decriminalisation for personal use.

      • ianmac 3.2.1

        Yes. To decriminalise just means that if you possess just enough for your personal use, you will not get a criminal conviction. To have a criminal record would stain your options forever. Job? Travel? Wonder what happens if you grow or trade?

  4. tc 4

    Wyndham the gangs make as much of everything as they can that turns a buck, decriminalising reduces the criminal elements ability to profit from it.
    They’ve swung huge resources into P as it’s highly addictive so it’s a better income stream than other lower level ‘drugs’ which have a more casual ‘take it or leave it’ useage pattern like weed.
    Brash’s echoing what savvy senior narc officers have known for decades now ….allow us to swing all the resources behind the seriously addictive/destructive/dangerous drugs as a priority.

    • mik e 4.1

      Starting with alcohol and tobacco being taxed to pay for enforcement. Decriminalize all drugs but trafficking would be illegal and police would have more time to enforce the rule of law. especially as alcohol wastes 55% of police time.

    • Richard McGrath 4.2

      All the more reason to legalise the sale and use of methamphetamine.

  5. Olwyn 5

    He isn’t calling for decriminalisation so much as stating “a personal position” on the subject, a position which he agrees is not ACT policy. I see it as nothing more than a PR exercise, intended on the one hand to give young people the idea that the “free market” ACT espouses incorporates the “free, to do what I want, any old time” ethos, and on the other to show that ACT is not a branch of National, despite evidence to the contrary.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Normally when people state a “personal position” on a subject it doesn’t end up in the main stream news cycle.

  6. One can imagine Brash sitting in a smoke filled room while booming in the background is Bob Marley’s “You got to livey up yourself”.  And Key was then overcome by the Jah and realised that in his search for relevance he should become a rastafarian.
     
    I can hardly wait for his next haircut.  It will probably take a while for the dreads to grow though …
     

  7. randal 7

    Imagine don toking up and grooving along to glen miller!

  8. Olwyn 8

    Indeed. But last night on TV3 news he did say it was his own position, & not ACT policy.

  9. The Voice of Reason 9

    It seems the coppers aren’t totally on board with Brash. They’re still trying to make a martyr out of Dakta Green, though, to be fair, his convictions aren’t just for smoking the collyweed:
     
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/5684732/Crown-seeks-longer-sentence-for-Dakta-Green

  10. randal 10

    john: “where’s the stash”.
    don: “it’s all gone”!

  11. MikeE 11

    Would be nice if some of the people in labour, greens and nats who agreed with him grew a pair and stood up and said so, rather than silently putting up with a situation that sees kids treated like criminals for what they put in their own bodies.

    But expecting labour and the nats to stand up for principles… I guess thats dreaming.

    • Richard McGrath 11.1

      Problem is, the people in National, Labour and Greens view the plebs as wards of the state who will do what they are told, when they are told, and smile while doing so.

      There aren’t too many political parties about that treat New Zealand adults as entities fit to make decisions about their own lives.

      • Hanswurst 11.1.1

        You’re oversimplifying. MPs in Labour, National and the Greens view the majority of NZ – correctly – as people who have not read hundreds of policy analysis documents, sat on select committees and arrived at informed decisions on issues that affect large numbers of people.

        Adults are quite capable of making decisions about their own lives; it’s when they start making decisions that affect everybody else’s lives purely based on their own preferences that it becomes difficult. That is why we have a representative democracy.

        • KJT 11.1.1.1

          You mean the largely self appointed old boys club of the marginally competent. Who examine all the papers and evidence and then do the opposite because of an irrational faith in free markets and other religions.
          The ones who totally ignore expert research, empirical evidence, overseas experiences and advice and follow the failed footsteps of the UK, Ireland, Greece and USA.

          That is why we should have democracy. Why should the fate of 4 million be totally in the hands of whichever 61 incompetents won the beauty contest last election.

          There are very few politicians who could even survive in a job where you have to take real responsibility. Hows Brownlee doing in Christchurch. McCully in Auckland.
          Couldn’t run a p–up in a brothel.

          Since 1984 we havn’t even had the choice to get rid of an economic dogma, which is heading NZ for the third world.

          Presently, National/ACT/Maori party, while accepting an income from us, are actively working against the best interests of the majority of New Zealanders.

          The last round of privatisations costs more than 14 billion a year. not to mention the costs of buying back essential infrastructure when the, so efficient, private sector have run it into the ground.

          How could democracy possibly make worse decisions than politicians have.

          The evidence from the few places that have democracy, Switzerland etc, shows that better decisions result. Their politicians know that poorly researched and explained legislation will be overturned by referenda.

    • McFlock 12.1

      Don’t be – every so often they dip a toe in reality just to pretend they’re not spouting tory lies.
        
      What it does prove is that they are well aware of different points of view and even basic logic, but generally ignore them (the exception being when they want headlines or are getting worried at losing too many votes).
        

  12. gobsmacked 13

    Don Brash was attacked by some ranting lunatic on the TV news tonight.

    You might think this ‘ad hominem’ rant was coming from an angry leftie on the Standard. Unfortunately, it was ACT’s candidate for Epsom.

    Un-believable, and then some.

    (should be up on TV3 website soon, if you missed it – and you shouldn’t!)

  13. Kate K 14

    You might be interested to read my new book “Matters To A Head: Cannabis, mental illness & recovery”. You can check it out through my website http://www.matterstoahead.co.nz The book discusses extensively the relationship between cannabis and mental illness, and why the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug. Of which our mental health services and prisons have many such sufferers.
    I am both a Registered Nurse and a prison volunteer, and I can assure you that we already cannot cope as a society with the harm cannabis causes to individuals and families, and public health information and proper resourcing of treatment programmes should be the left-wing issue.

    • Campbell Larsen 14.1

      Kate K has your work been peer reviewed?
      You will forgive me if I don’t simply accept your assurances that we cannot cope etc…

    • Adele 14.2

      Teenaa koe, Kate K

      I work in health with a focus on Māori health. I believe that we should decriminalise the personal use of marijuana. Cannabis abuse is a health issue, and should be removed from the criminal justice system – currently used as the remedy. Prohibition simply forces issues underground and smokers towards dealing directly with the gangs – who have control of the tinny houses ‘pepper potting’ suburbia throughout NZ.

      Decriminalisation combined with a much greater investment in treatment and therapy would be a far cheaper option for society than incarceration and lost opportunities caused by a drug conviction. The evidence from Portugal, which decriminalised all forms of personal use in 2001, suggests that decriminalisation may in fact reduce rather than increase useage amongst individuals including teens.

    • mik e 14.3

      99% of mentally ill people have substance abuse problems

      • Adele 14.3.1

        Following on from the decision to ban smoking from prisons (which I absolutely disagree with) was a suggestion to also ban smoking from mental health facilities – for the same health and safety reasons.

        I get thoroughly hoohaa with sanctimonious decision-makers inflicting their holier than thou craziness upon the dis-empowered.

    • Deadly_NZ 14.4

      What is it with you so called experts??? you take the worst .5% of the population who most likely already have mental problems and they are suddenly the whole 100%. I am 55 years young, and I have smoked Cannabis since I was 16 MY CHOICE. And I have not gone off the rails, I am not psycho. And I have been made a criminal by the draconian, out of date laws, written, and enforced by narrow minded people, who think nothing of going to the pub, getting pissed, going home and beating up the partner/wife/ kids. NOW I challenge you to find 1 person who got stoned and started anything more violent than change the TV channel, or CD, talked and ate. I use it mainly for pain relief now as it’s way better on my system than about 30 pills aday that leave me feeling sick and unwilling to do anything. So to those who have got 30 bucks to waste on a book the fiction section at whitcoulls is way better than a book full of old and rehashed ideas. And apart from that do you think it’s smart, that in these days of economic saboteurs, (Key English) and the rest, that are in charge of the purse strings, borrowing 300 million a week. to waste over half a billion bucks a year, chasing those who grow and smoke a WEED.

      • Kate K 14.4.1

        The book is my story, and those of my peers. I was seriously addicted to cannabis for twenty years, and in my early 20s I developed a severe mental illness. The book is everything I have learned along the way, including in my nursing work, involuntary incarceration in a mental institution and prison experiences. Rehashed old ideas? Nobody’s written this story until now.

        • Campbell Larsen 14.4.1.1

          Of course no one has written YOUR story before now. It’s your story. I’m sure that you are quite aware of what ‘peer review’ actually means and I can only assume that because you choose not to put forward support from professionals and academics working in mental health, social policy and harm reduction that your ‘decriminalisation is bad’ claim does not have their support. What you have written is not science, it is opinion, opinion formed from personal experience perhaps, but opinion nonetheless.

          • higherstandard 14.4.1.1.1

            Is it still your opinion that the butcher should “hurry up and die” ?

          • Kate K 14.4.1.1.2

            I recommend reading the book before continuing further, because you have no idea what is in it. Research and otherwise.

            • McFlock 14.4.1.1.2.1

              That’s kind of the point – if you’re presenting it as research that should aid in directing policy, “is it peer reviewed?” is a reasonable question to ask before buying it. The answer is obviously “no”. 
               
              It might be touching, or it might raise some interesting questions, but until it goes through a credible checking process it provides no answers.

              • Kate K

                I’m NOT presenting it as research…IT’S NOT RESEARCH…some commenter on a blog who hasn’t read the book went off on that tangent. And it’s not “touching” either, for that matter. Jseesh you guys…

                • McFlock

                  “The book discusses extensively the relationship between cannabis and mental illness,” 
                   
                  So it discusses that relationship without providing original research or an original analysis of current research. 

                   
                    ” and why the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug.”
                      
                  And that’s the desired policy outcome.
                     
                  Peer reviewing would be a good idea if you want it to contribute to a political discussion. Otherwise it’s probably just a good read, but doesn’t have policy traction.
                   

                  • Kate K

                    Guys, you can’t be judge, jury and executioner of a book you haven’t read, (unless you’re in the Ban Macsyna King Facebook club). How do you know it’s a good read? It could be total garbage. How do you know it’s got no research in it? (It has, actually, just not mine). And how do you know I want to influence policy? Oh, if I had that kind of power! This is the blurb from the Press Release, It tells you a bit more about the book:
                    “This intelligent, witty and highly readable new book explores the links between cannabis and mental illness through the personal and professional experiences of New Zealand author Kate K.
                    In a first for New Zealand, this book combines valuable tools for recovery from dual diagnosis disorders with an insightful look at the socio-political context of our mental health system and societal attitudes towards drug and alcohol use.
                    The author questions the notion of cannabis as a ‘soft drug’, and challenges mental health providers to embrace the Te Whare Tapa Wha model of recovery to improve outcomes for people with co-existing addiction and mental health disorders.”
                    If you are with an organisation relevant to the topic or a media outlet, feel free to email me through my website and request a review copy.

                    • McFlock

                      I said it would probably be a good read. You are welcome to prove me wrong. 
                       
                      If you say that we, as a society, need to change an approach (e.g. resourcing mental health / addiction services rather than waiting for jails to fill up), then that’s a policy input. To be a useful policy input, it needs some evidence. Peer review helps ensure that most of the angles are covered.  
                        
                      It’s all very well saying something along the lines of  “I saw and experienced this, and this research suggests it’s not uncommon, so we’d be better off doing that”, but when it comes to the crunch you could end up with a smarmy git like Key saying “well, I have different experiences and I can find studies that disagree with what you just said”.

          • Kate K 14.4.1.1.3

            And just to add, I didn’t say “decriminalisation is bad”, what I actually said was “why the decriminalisation argument is far less important to NZ than the real issue of providing and resourcing appropriate treatment and services to those who become unstuck by the drug. Of which our mental health services and prisons have many such sufferers.”

  14. fabregas4 15

    Yes, and I am totally opposed to any easing of cannabis laws. This stuff damages kids brain cells. We have enough damaged kids in this country. This issue changes my vote big time and has meant that, to date, I can’t vote green though I would dearly love too for other reasons. Brash proposing any lightening up of laws around drugs is a desperate and quite clearly flawed and desperate grab for one of the biggest group of non voters – bye Don.

    • Galeandra 15.1

      Well fabregas4, you must be really reassured by the effectiveness of the current policies. I’ve also seen the damage pot can cause to kids’ memory and concentration, I’m not competent to comment on mental health issues, and I’d say there is little about the current situation that offers hope.Even 12 & 13 year olds are dealing it on a regular basis, and getting stood down or expelled from school, and many of the adults in their homes are regular users. Illegal dealing prevents any kind of real control so there might just have to be a better way. Maybe in another couple of decades people like you will change their minds? They’ve only had 30 years or so to make their point.

  15. logie97 16

    It’s got the masses talking about Brash though hasn’t it? Mission accomplished!

  16. logie97 17

    Just watched the clip on Campbell. Banks being unequivocal on the issue of substances and particularly on alcohol. Anyone know if Banks’ trusts and investment portfolios include shares linking him with the breweries.

    One assumes that, if elected, he will be standing outside the establishment in Khyber Pass (part of his electorate) demanding it’s closure. Can see it now. Go John. Do it!!!

  17. ak 18

    Plot outline #371:

    Working title: “By their friends shall ye know em innit”

    Let’s see…..a party of genteel centre-right pillars of the community led by a vain bumbling narcissist comes to power on the back of a blatant electoral bribe of more than $50 a week and hatemongering bloggers and talkback hosts that post the previous PM’s head onto porno and broadcast it to the world while calling for her assassination, now rorts the electoral system to bring in as their only support a party of deranged sociopaths who have all recently resigned led by a geriatric serial adulterer pitching to the racist benny-bashing druggie demographic.

    Mmmmm…..comedic promise, but definite credulity issues.

  18. Richard McGrath 19

    So, ACT moves inexorably and rapidly into the final stages of self-evisceration. I guess there won’t be too many tears shed among the regulars on this discussion group.

    Pity, then, that Labour’s Dear Leader has also come out on the side of the wowsers, FOR Prohibition, against adults having sovereignty over their bodies, against free choice. National are no better. The Greens have a number of sound aims and objectives, but spoil it by their busybody plans to make everyone healthier whether they want it or not, and the ridiculous plan to ban cultivation of cannabis for profit and fun (where, then, will people source their cannabis supply? Answer – through the criminal underground).

    Winston Peters would flog cannabis users and then put them into compulsory military training on Pitcairn Island.

    Only one political party in this country would allow people to smoke, eat, sell and gift cannabis – and heroin – if that was their wish, on the basis that it’s none of the government’s business what a person does in their own home as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. Pity it doesn’t stand a show of getting any MPs elected.

    • “…The Greens have a number of sound aims and objectives, but spoil it by their busybody plans to make everyone healthier whether they want it or not…

      Oh, perish the thought that we’d address the obesity epidemic before it overwhelms our public hospitals and healthcare system through obesity-related diseases, and “gobbles” up our meagre health-dollars.

      Far easier to slap a label of “free choice” over the whole issue; Do Nothing; and pretend it will all turn out ok.

      We should have adopted the same stance on drink/driving and car seatbelts to, maybe?

      In reality, the liberatarian model doesn’t work; has never worked; and will never work. Why? Because humans are a social/gregarious species like our simian cuzzies – not lone wolves who come together for a quickie-transaction and then scurry back to our concrete and glass dens.

      That’s not to say that de-criminalisation drugs doesn’t make sense. It does – if only to take it out of the criminal context and place it under firm State control, with good, strong, programmes for rehabilitation. We’d see drug-related crimes such as burglaries probably slashed in half, as addicts no longer had to steal to fund their habit.

      But that’ll never happen. Such a bold step would take a collective maturity that is far in excess of anything we possess, as a society.

      Plus the gangs would be very, very, unhappy.

      • Colonial Viper 19.1.1

        The other issue is that ‘free choice’ is a complete illusion. Psychologists can muck with someones ‘free choice’ by simply changing the order of the multiple choice questions around, leaving the wording and everything else intact.

        Simply changing something from an opt in to an opt out, leaving all other facts and information the same completely changes how the vast majority of people behave.

        People who prattle on about ‘free choice’ seem to be the same ones who do not understand the illusion of free choice in the slightest.

        • lprent 19.1.1.1

          I thought I was the only one around at this hour. Just did several upgrades to the operating system and moved sphinx search across (but it is objecting at present (sigh)).
          However I think I have just one small reboot to go and I’ll stop disrupting things (and get into a warm bed)

    • Colonial Viper 19.2

      Pity, then, that Labour’s Dear Leader has also come out on the side of the wowsers, FOR Prohibition, against adults having sovereignty over their bodies, against free choice.

      Here’s where you fail: by ignoring the fact that many people use their ‘sovereignty’ over their bodies to rule as if they are a Gadaffi or Mubarak or Marcos. Which leaves their bodies in a massacre, eviscerated, suffering from genocidal or corrupt rule. Is that what you back?

      Only one political party in this country would allow people to smoke, eat, sell and gift cannabis – and heroin – if that was their wish, on the basis that it’s none of the government’s business what a person does in their own home as long as they don’t hurt anyone else. Pity it doesn’t stand a show of getting any MPs elected.

      Pity you are simply another kind of hyper-individualistic neoliberal. Forget about family, community, or society, this is all about you you you you you, screw the interdependencies between you and the rest of the people you interact with and affect, fuck the future and all the risks that we can build into it today, just go for gold right here right now.

      allow people to smoke, eat, sell and gift cannabis – and heroin – if that was their wish, on the basis that it’s none of the government’s business what a person does in their own home as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.

      In a world where second hand cigarette smoke is acknowledged to cause family members in the same house cancer, I’m going to enjoy listening to your explanation on how someone smoking P or crack in a house is “not going to hurt anyone else” in the home.

      Come on, explain it to me.

      • Richard McGrath 19.2.1

        Many people use their ‘sovereignty’ over their bodies to rule as if they are a Gadaffi or
        Mubarak or Marcos. Which leaves their bodies in a massacre, eviscerated, suffering from
        genocidal or corrupt rule. Is that what you back?

        That analogy is invalid, and you imply that because a few people continue to abuse their bodies despite feedback mechanisms such as pain and disfigurement, that the rest of us should be deprived of our freedom.

        Screw the interdependencies between you and the rest of the people you interact with and
        affect, fuck the future and all the risks that we can build into it today, just go for gold right
        here right now.

        Beats me how you connect having the ability to decide what does and doesn’t go into your body with denying the existence of other human life and jumping on a a self-destructive hedonistic death ride.

        I’m going to enjoy listening to your explanation on how someone smoking P or crack in a
        house is “not going to hurt anyone else” in the home.

        Playing the stero too loudly at home will also hurt someone else – it may deprive them of sleep. Letting the kids watch TV may also hurt them by distracting them from their studies. There is no guarantee of getting through life without suffering physical or psychological stress. But there are degrees of stress, which can be minimised with a little planning. An extractor fan would clear the exhaled products from burning tobacco or methamphetamine. Smoking outside the house (which many people do) would also avoid passing on the second hand smoke. Not that difficult.

    • By the way, Richard,

      “Dear Leader” is John Key, not Phil Goff. I understand that neolibs have other terms of endearment for the Labour leader.

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