Labour announces ban on synthetic cannabis

Written By: - Date published: 5:04 pm, April 27th, 2014 - 215 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, drugs, flip-flop, labour, national, peter dunne - Tags:

Synthetic cannabis protest

This is bound to cause some discussion.  In a recent post what do we do with synthetic cannabis Shane Henderson addressed the issues and provoked some discussion.

David Cunliffe has just tweeted:

I will update as more information arrives.


This is from the Labour website.

Labour is to introduce legislation to remove synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive substances from sale immediately.

We’re not going to let unsafe products be sold to our young people. These drugs are clearly harmful and addictive, yet they are being sold, legally and cheaply, in communities across New Zealand.

We have all seen the horror stories of the effects these drugs are having on young people.

Labour warned at the time the Psychoactive Substances Act was passed that it was being rushed and mistakes were likely to be made.

Failing to put the safety testing regime for these products in place means that is exactly what has happened. The Government promised that untested and potentially dangerous products would not be sold legally

But they are still available and New Zealanders won’t stand for it any more.

These drugs are a scourge on our communities. National has failed to fix this problem; Labour is not prepared to wait any longer.

We are putting forward legislation that will remove all psychoactive substances from shop shelves immediately. I call on all parties to support it.

This law will put a stop to the sale of all synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive drugs currently being sold. Labour will not allow these products to be sold again unless they pass a very stringent safety testing regime, and we won’t permit animal testing.

215 comments on “Labour announces ban on synthetic cannabis ”

  1. Legal highs get blanket ban

    The Government has announced today the remaining 41 legal high substances not banned by the Psychoactive Substances Act will be taken off the shelves. The highs will be banned for two weeks until proven to be low-risk, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne has revealed.

    The legislation will be passed under urgency when Parliament convenes on May 6.

    It will be interesting to see the detail of Labour’s plan, but it could need quite a bit of revision before October.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Looks like National has been spooked into doing something. Labour had its policy all ready and David was to give a speech tomorrow to provide details.

      • Pete George 1.1.1

        I hope this doesn’t get diverted into a political knee-jerk one-upmanship contest.

        • mickysavage

          It already has Pete. Labour had the bill and announcement all ready. Dunne and National have reacted because they know that their previous stance on the issue and their handling of the legislation has been appalling. This is real politics, dealing with competence and the ability to act in the country’s best interests. The stuff has been a scourge for a while but it is clear that the Government is responding to a political threat and not acting with the intent of doing what is right.

          • Pete George

            It looks like it. Did you write all that yourself?

            • McFlock

              Did you write all that yourself?

              Just because you’re a plagiarist doesn’t mean MS is.

            • mickysavage

              Nope. I saw the evidence. The announcement that Cunliffe is going to give a speech tomorrow on the subject, the prepared bill, the web page. As soon as the advisory on the speech went out Dunne jumped.

              And yes I wrote all of that myself and meant any word. This issue has really bugged me because I have seen the damage the stuff does and I have a shop about 30 metres from my office as well as from the Local Board office. I have seen the damage it causes. I believe that the Government’s actions has been a colossal fuck up and it is time they suffered the repercussions of doing such a bad job.

              Stand by as Pete receives spin lines to run …

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Why? Why bother engaging with bad faith dull-witted tedium?

                Let his drivel go unanswered: he brings nothing to the table.

              • Sounds like you were well briefed. I’ve only heard about it from you, Twitter and 3 News.

                It’s widely accepted that damage is being done by legal highs, but I believe that’s actually been reduced by the Act. The problem is it has taken it away from dairies and concentrated the problem in a few sales outlets, which has made it look worse.

                I don’t think either Dunne’s or Labour’s current approaches are going to sort the shit out. It might have a short term feelgood effect for some but our drug problems won’t disappear.

                At best we will have less psychoactive drug users but it’s almost certain we will end up with a lot more illegal drug use.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                  “Well briefed”.

                  Has anyone else had a gutsful of this weasel and his passive aggressive abuse?

                  • felix

                    His behaviour detracts considerably from the site, and I honestly don’t see that he brings anything to it apart from the occasional bit of racism.

                    Verdict: net loss.

                    • Yes I agree with you two – like many right wingers he thinks he is much cleverer than he actually is. I used to think he was a bit dotty but now I realize that his mode of operation is sinister and deliberately designed to destabilize and disrupt the left. “It’s life Jim but not as we know it” – Mr Spock meet pete the parasite.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hey PG isn’t “right wing”; he is a politically neutral fact checker who is independent and not aligned with any specific political party or political philosophy.

                    • weka

                      I agree with you three, and depair about the distractions he will cause as we get closer to the election.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  “At best we will have less psychoactive drug users but it’s almost certain we will end up with a lot more illegal drug use.”

                  Wait, illegal drugs aren’t psychoactive? Sounds like a bit of a ripoff

                • BM

                  Personally I think the best approach is to keep these legal drug stores open but just operate them as a front.

                  People think they’re going in to buy their drugs but instead they’re chucked in a cage and whisked off to some unknown destination where they come face to face with this particular personality deficiency.

                  Clean, tidy and efficient.

                • left for dead

                  mr George,your in Dunedin,shall I drop of my seventeen year old niece who is pregnant and is an addicted to this rubbish,so you can get first hand experience of the type of problem,s that gormless creature you support has inflicted on our community’s.

                  • I don’t support anyone who wishes to push drugs.

                    There are suppliers and there are users, and there’s only so much that can be done to stop them doing business. Would a synthetic ban have stopped your niece abusing substances or getting pregnant?

                    • Te Reo Putake

                      Jeez, Pete, never thought I’d see you put the boot into Peter Dunne. Well done. Quick question: when do you think he rang his son to tell him about the forced move. Before or after the announcement to the public?

              • Clemgeopin

                This Pete George character comes across more and more as a right wing National plant/troll.

              • The Lone Haranguer

                Well done that guy.

                You lot of left wingers are looking more sensible each day (and I hate that). Keep up the good work.

                The Nats dropped the ball big time on this one, and I applaud you guys for picking it up and running with it. Doing what the opposition is supposed to do – keeping the Government of the day honest, and giving voters a real choice.

            • Clemgeopin

              What a rude comment!

            • David H

              And to think I stood up for you yesterday PG. Thanks for proving me wrong. You truly are nothing but a obfuscating T 🙄

              Also the only plagiarist in here is you.

          • BM

            Not that I saw the show,, but didn’t Dunne go along to one of those legal high shops with John Campbell and he was shocked by what he saw?

            I get the feeling that may have been the last straw, the bill Labor is about it announce is probably just coincidental.

            Unfortunate for Cunliffe, not a lot of luck going his way.

            • mickysavage

              Do you ever research before commenting? You do realise that Labour had a bill ready to be introduced and National and Dunne have plucked something out of the air today?

              • BM

                Did National know that Labour had a bill ready?

                I’d expect this stuff to be kept secret, especially in election year, rather dampens your thunder if everyone already knows what your grand policy announcement is going to be.

                • mickysavage

                  It looks like the bill was drafted by the Clerk’s office so anything is possible. Labour also put out a press advisory this afternoon that Cunliffe was going to talk tomorrow on the subject. It is clear that Dunne and National have responded to this.

                  • BM

                    Depends how the media spin it.

                    News shortly, we’ll see what happens.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yes: how they spin it will be very revealing.

                    • Clemgeopin

                      STUFF NEWS:

                      Leader David Cunliffe announced earlier today, Labour would also be seeking to introduce a total ban on psychoactive substances until testing had proven they were relatively safe.

                      He told Fairfax the Government had “fallen asleep at the wheel” over introducing a testing a regime.

                      “Had we known 18 months down the track that no regime would yet be in place, we would have insisted back then that all drugs had to go through the testing process before they were allowed onto the market.”

                      Dunne has said he expected the new laws to be passed within the week, and for stock to be pulled off shelves almost immediately.

                      Cunliffe said Labour would still be announcing its full policy on Tuesday, which also included a ban on animal testing.

                      “I’d call this a victory for the Opposition, rolling the Government on a situation that was doing immeasurable harm to young New Zealanders.

                      “We are pleased that other parties have joined the fight against synthetic cannabis, which we have now announced.”

                      TV3 NEWS:
                      The announcement was made a day before Labour was to introduce a policy to remove synthetic cannabis and other psychoactive substances from sale immediately.

                      Mr Dunne told RadioLIVE there has been unbalanced criticism that the Government has not acted fast enough to clamp down on the legal highs. He admits the Opposition has forced his hand.

                      TV1 NEWS:

                      Mr Dunne hadn’t planned to announce the move as he didn’t want people stockpiling legal highs. However, he was forced to do so after Labour and New Zealand First today called for an immediate ban.

                      However, Mr Dunne says the Government has been following the issue closely and the move is their own initiative.

              • 3 News say that the Government decided to do it last Tuesday but didn’t want to announce it to avoid stockpiling. They said the announcement was brought froward because of Labour’s announcement, not sure why but by the sound of Labour’s political approach to it they may not have had much choice.

                If they help back the announcement until when they could put it through under urgency Labour may have tried to claim the credit.

                Looks like we might get stockpiling now.

                • One Anonymous Bloke


                • Jackal

                  If the government had decided to have a blanket ban last Tuesday, why was Peter Dunne arguing just yesterday that there couldn’t be a ban because it would push the problem underground?

                  Are you saying that National didn’t inform the Minister responsible about the legislation they had devised? What a bunch of incompetent muppets!

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    He’s just enabling their lies, because he’s really into facts.

                  • mickysavage

                    And why did it take so fecking long? The problem has been evident for some time. Yet the Government only acts when they see Labour is intent on doing something about it?

                    • Jackal

                      Yeah! Labour really do appear to be governing by de facto on this one. If all National can do is react to Labours policy with their own reactionary announcements that are lacking any detail, then they will look incompetent. It seems that Nationals re-election plan is all about the smiling assassin being seen with the royals, which come election time will be long forgotten.

                  • ffloyd

                    Exactly❕ Doesn’t key understand yet that this sort of bollocks is wearing thin. WE ARE NOT STUPID❗ Every time now he tries to shut Labour down he is just going to look more and more desperate. No policies? Oh well, we’ll just run interference. What a loser.

                • It looks like you’ve been ‘well briefed’ on the anti-Labour narrative, Pete. Just like with the failure of asset sales (‘the sales only went poorly because Labour and the Greens dared to announce their policies in an open and transparent way!’) now it’s going to be Labour’s fault that stockpiling occurs. 🙄

                • mickysavage

                  Actually Pete you know who is responsible for stockpiling? Peter Dunne and the government. They could have let Labour make its announcement, and released their response much closer to the next sitting day and suffered some political embarrassment but instead it decided to make the announcement early for political gain. Shame on them.

    • freedom 1.2

      “The highs will be banned for two weeks until proven to be low-risk”

      I would say “good job”, if only they weren’t such fucking hypocrites.

      This rushing of legislation (yet again) comes in the very same week National says they need to wait a further five years before making some particularly low impact adjustments to the sale price of a high-risk product called alcohol.

  2. Unlike Dunne and NZ First, Labour has legislative amendments drafted and ready to go so Pete you can go have a look at Labour’s plan right now on their website and facebook.

    Today’s media releases by NZ First and Dunne were triggered by the Labour Party’s media advisory about an announcement tomorrow. So far neither of them appears to have done the work to provide details to match Labour’s plan.

    • I don’t care who came up with what first. If the Government can make use of what Labour have drafted, good.

      • mickysavage 2.1.1

        Pete this issue is one of political competence. Good on the Government for changing its view. But it has clearly botched up the introduction of the system and it is now acting for political reasons only. I presume your trust in your Government has been shaken.

        • Pete George

          I think that whatever Parliament decided to do (or didn’t decide to do) would have been the “wrong” decision. This isn’t a problem that can suddenly be fixed by an election campaign strategy.

          They have to work out what will be the least worst approach. Rushing to beat each other to do something everyone said wouldn’t work worries me.

          • Jackal

            The legal highs epidemic has been a problem for a long time. If you think that the recent announcement of a ban is rushing, you need your head read.

            • Pete George

              If you think a sudden ban is going to fix something that has been “a problem for a long time” you need your head read.

              • Jackal

                So your now arguing against a ban because it won’t fix the problem…or simply using a straw man argument Pete George? What exactly is United Future’s policy in this area, because so far Peter Dunne is looking rather schizophrenic! One day it’s “we can’t ban it” and the next it’s “we’re going to ban it”.

                In truth I’m unsure if a ban will work because I’ve not looked into where the ingredients to make synthetics comes from. I very much doubt any of our policy developers have either. I presume that the ingredients are reasonably easy to access overseas and because of our weak boarder control are easy enough to import.

                Of course the cost will go up, which will push many users back onto more conventional drugs like cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana. It seems that the only ones to really benefit will be the drug dealers, gangs and booze barons. The effect will also be a higher incarceration rate which will benefit the private prisons. After all, why build all those new jail cells if you don’t plan on using them?

                It all seems a bit cruel really. Make a drug legal for just long enough to get people hooked. Then ban the drug without implementing any proper rehabilitation programs and watch the resulting social carnage.

            • mickysavage

              Agreed Jackel.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Gutsy policy which will make a real positive difference in poorer communities, Labour. Well done.

    • Richard McGrath 3.1

      The gangs will be celebrating. Dunne has just handed them the ‘legal high’ market on a plate. The retail price of this shit (and criminal activity related to the high price) will rise. Good work, morons.

  4. Maybe Cunliffe could stop releasing policy based on seeing a few people shouting about something on Campbell Live? He’d look much less of a twat.

    Still, top marks for evidence-based policy – after all, it’s been proven time and time again that banning drugs stops people from using them, right?

    • In the rush to appease the public agitation in election year this seems to have been forgotten.

      If all psychoactive drugs are banned immediately what’s going to happen? One thing is certain, people won’t suddenly stop using drugs.

      It might work out all right once the politicians have all calmed down and carefully considered things and sort things out. On the other hand this could get very messy.

      • mickysavage 4.1.1

        How? So some will stockpile and their supply will eventually disappear? But by doing nothing their supply will always be there. And are you saying that Dunne has acted in a rush to appease public agitation in election year?

        • Pete George

          And are you saying that Dunne has acted in a rush to appease public agitation in election year?

          I don’t know but it’s possible he’s been pushed by public reactions.

          It’s also possible that’s what is driving Labour’s approach too. It looks more like a PR campaign than carefully thought through legislation.

          • mickysavage

            Do you admit or deny Pete that the opposition has forced Dunne’s hand? Simple question.

            • Pete George

              It’s not for me to admit or deny, I don’t know – and neither do you.

              It looks like Labour might have prompted them to rush their announcement today.

              My guess is that John Campbell has had more to do with Dunne’s (and the Government’s) amendment action than Labour, and there’s been a lot of other public pressure too.

              • mickysavage

                Oh looky here, Dunne admits that Labour forced his hand …

                Mr Dunne told RadioLIVE there has been unbalanced criticism that the Government has not acted fast enough to clamp down on the legal highs. He admits the Opposition has forced his hand


                • felix

                  Oh dear Pete.

                  Verdict: miserable failure.

                • Well there you go, you didn’t need to ask me.

                  I hope he hasn’t been pressured into doing something that we may later regret. He’s said a number of times that bans don’t work. Yesterday on The Nation he said Irelan’s Health Minister said their ban didn’t work.

                  I don’t know what will be different about this ban that will make it work. Do you know Greg? Labour must have something different in their policy to all the other countries whose bans haven’t worked.

                  • McFlock

                    Pete, what do you mean by “bans haven’t worked”? That a single ounce of banned substance doesn’t exist inside the borders of the country? Or that 80% of the population of all ages are regular users of the substance?
                    Because the first is unachievable, and the second is supremely preventable if it’s banned.

                  • fender

                    “I don’t know what will be different about this ban that will make it work.”

                    If you hadn’t burnt your bridges with Dunne you could ask him.

                    ” Labour must have something different in their policy to all the other countries whose bans haven’t worked.”

                    Labour aren’t in power….yet. It’s the current govt. making the law change.

                  • Jackal

                    He’s said a number of times that bans don’t work.

                    Then why is he so vehemently against decriminalizing marijuana?

                    • McFlock


                    • Dunne has said because of the known harms caused by cannabis. He’s right that cannabis can be harmful, but I never agreed with him on not addressing cannabis as probably the least harmful (least bad) option.

                      What I think has happened is that Parliament thought that the Act would eliminate all the most harmful ‘legal highs’ and leave the least harmful during a transition period which would be manageable. It succeeded in reducing the number of products available substantially.

                      But the remaining legal highs are still causing problems, I think more than expected. It has also concentrated the problems on much fewer retail sites so it looks worse, even though there are some claims it has actually improved and the use of legal highs has reduced.

                      And we are now getting election year reactions from politicians. Not a good way to do policy on something that has caused problems for decades.

                    • McFlock

                      you dodged the point, pete – if bans don’t work, why bother banning cannabis?

                    • It’s already banned. I don’t know why cannabis was banned in the first place, but much less would have been known about it or the ineffectiveness of bans.

                      The question now is whether cannabis law should be revisited. Dunne, National and Labour(?), and I presume NZ First are against this or have no interest in addressing it.

                      I think we should urgently review law related to cannabis but it’s not looking like happening any time soon.

                    • McFlock

                      another dodge.

                      Dunne says bans don’t work.
                      Then the ban on cannabis doesn’t work.
                      So there is no point to him opposing decriminalisation.
                      Yet he opposes decriminalisation.

                      Yet you seem to think his comments are reasonable.

                    • don’t use/expect logic/consistancy on/from dunne..

                      ..he recognises neither..

                      ..and his former bum-boy is similarly afflicted..

                    • Where have I said I think his comments are reasonable?

                      I haven’t agreed with him on cannabis since I first had anything to do with him a bit under three years ago.

                    • McFlock

                      oh, so your repeatedly citing him in this thread is just a time-wasting ploy?
                      Good to know.

                      Now let the grown-ups talk.

                    • Martin

                      vested interest?

                    • pg..”..I don’t know why cannabis was banned in the first place..”

                      ..gee..!..maybe a fact-check is called for..?

                      ..especially for one whose ignorances are so encyclopedic..?

                  • Rodel

                    People who say, ‘bans don’t work’, have watched too many Elliot Ness Hollywood
                    movies and not researched the stats.

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Oh fuck off pete. Peter’s a big boy, he’s been in parliament a long, long, time, much of it as a cabinet minister.

                    the ‘poor wee dear may have been pressured’ malarky is some bullshit. He’s the minister, he owns it.

      • risildowgtn 4.1.2

        Doh It already is messy.

        They have had people on TV all week re the dangers of this shit and Dunce was still going on it is safe

        It also is only banned for 2 weeks which is a COPOUT under Dunces legislation

    • I wonder if they can also be rushed into addressing the cannabis elephant in the room?

    • greywarbler 4.3

      Psycho Milt
      Good point. What about the lucrative market being created for synthetic cannabis as well as real stuff, and why not ban sex between the two genders at the same time as it is the basic cause of all our problems? Keep the two different sexes apart with crowbars if necessary. And lock up the malefactors and female factors.

      I suppose someone has raised the illegalality problem but because I don’t want to drive through the PG tips fog I can’t see that discussion and I am too tired to be bothered going the long way round or even reading PG to see if there is anything out there.

      • Psycho Milt 4.3.1

        …why not ban sex between the two genders at the same time as it is the basic cause of all our problems?

        Stop! Don’t! You’ll only encourage them. The political parties and news media appear to be well stocked with Oswald Mazengarb wannabes, so we should definitely avoid bringing sex into it…

        • greywarbler

          Again good point. I looked up the Mazengarb Report (he seems to be similar to Dame Margaret Bazley or vice versa) and noted that he was one of the Sucide Squad. What I thought? How we got rid of the Legislative Council.

          Wikipedia thanks.
          The Suicide squad in New Zealand is the name for the group of New Zealand Legislative Councillors appointed in 1950 by Prime Minister Sidney Holland tasked with voting the New Zealand Legislative Council out of existence.
          (Our Upper House that had many ups and downs and political gamesplayed throughtout it. Akin to UK House of Lords.)

          Could something similar be done today to make swinging changes in our legal and constitutional arrangements or has that door closed? Would it be good or bad if changes were made?

          Abolition of the Upper House
          By the middle of the 20th century, the New Zealand Legislative Council was increasingly being looked on as ineffectual and making little difference to the legislative process. The Legislative Council rarely criticised bills sent to it by the House, and many believed that it was now obsolete. Some favoured its reform, while others favoured its abolition, like the leader of the National Party, Sidney Holland who introduced a Private member’s bill to abolish it in 1947.

          However, because the Parliament of New Zealand was unable to amend the New Zealand Constitution Act 1852 (because it was an Act of the United Kingdom Parliament, and the New Zealand Parliament was barred from amending the parts of the Act dealing with the establishment of the Legislative Council) it had to first adopt the Statute of Westminster 1931, which it did with the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1947.[1]
          Following the adoption of the Act, the Parliament of New Zealand passed the New Zealand Constitution Amendment (Request and Consent) Act 1947, and the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the New Zealand Constitution Amendment Act 1947, allowing the New Zealand Parliament to amend the Constitution Act and abolish the Legislative Council. However, the Labour government did not actually enact the abolition itself, losing office in the 1949 general election.

    • weka 4.4

      Psycho Milt,

      Still, top marks for evidence-based policy – after all, it’s been proven time and time again that banning drugs stops people from using them, right?

      That’s right. People who use to use cannabis are now using legal highs instead, because cannabis is illegal and legal highs aren’t.

      Make cannabis legal and more people will use it.

      It’s a daftness to suggest that prohibition has no effect.

      • Psycho Milt 4.4.1

        Oh, it has effects, alright – mostly involving the encouragement of organised crime, the criminalising of people who’ve done nothing wrong, the wasting of huge amounts of Police resources, a loss of respect for government and the law, and an inability among consumers to distinguish the levels of risk involved between different kinds of drugs. Why exactly are people congratulating Labour for declaring it values these effects and wants to contribute to them?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Because Labour are doing the right thing in banning the ‘legal highs’. They’re just failing to go far enough and legalise marijuana.

          • Psycho Milt

            So, instead of evidence-based policy you’d prefer completely-irrational-based policy. I have to admit, that does sound like the major parties…

            • Draco T Bastard

              There should be a complete ban in place with a testing regime to determine if new products are safe. The mistake that the politicians made was by not putting in place the complete ban. All drugs, including marijuana, should then have been subject to the testing regime and passed or banned.

              Those that passed would have been subject to a general set of regulations.

              • They had a perfectly good process in place to phase in a testing regime, with a grace period for existing products that could be considered low-harm based on experience in use. A blanket ban wasn’t necessary then, and isn’t necessary now – they’ve just been spooked by a media-driven moral panic.

                Also: if marijuana was subject to this testing regime, it would fail. No drug that’s mostly taken in the form of smoking it as an unfiltered cigarette is going to pass safety testing. In many instances, the precautionary principle is a crap alternative to letting people decide for themselves whether they want to risk their health.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  They had a perfectly good process in place to phase in a testing regime, with a grace period for existing products that could be considered low-harm based on experience in use.

                  I don’t think so. A full ban while they got the testing process in place is a far better idea IMO.

                  Also: if marijuana was subject to this testing regime, it would fail. No drug that’s mostly taken in the form of smoking it as an unfiltered cigarette is going to pass safety testing.

                  So that would mean that all the synthetic cannabis would also fail.

                  One thing that has been noted in the legalised states in the US is that most of the cannabis sold is sold in forms that require eating such as chocolate.

                • politikiwi

                  And let’s not forget: implements for smoking cannabis cannot be sold in shops, so bongs, pipes etc are hard to come by. This limits the options for the average cannabis user, and they end up smoking the less-healthy alternative: cannabis cigarettes.

                  (Retailers flout the law by selling pipes in pieces and “vases” rather than bongs, but it shouldn’t be illegal to sell something which makes the consumption of drugs safer.)

                  The ban on sale of implements has nothing to do with harm reduction. It has precisely the opposite effect, with the added bonus of being able to lock dope smokers up for an extra year for each piece of paraphernalia they possess.

                  It’s all just very silly and very sad.

    • Populuxe1 4.5

      No law has ever stopped anyone from breaking it. Threat of punishment and a general consensus to abide by the law does however minimalise certain behaviours. Hence only a minority of people are shooting up horse or smoking P.

  5. i ask again why not just decriminalise/regulate/tax cannabis..?

    ..the legal high problem will disappear overnite..

    ..the proof of this being that places that have sane policies around cannabis..

    ..they have no legal-high problems..(doh..!..?..)

    ..when people can walk into a pot-shop and get/specify the type of high they feel like..

    ..from wanting to skip in the park.. desiring to fall into a deep slumber..

    ..they don’t want to know about this crap..

    ..and after all..

    ..cannabis is the safest intoxicant of all of them..

    ..(and guess what else has happened in those american states..(12 so far..and counting..)..? isn’t young people who are creating the surge in consumption..’s those in their 40’s 50’s 60’…(and good on them..!!..(for them..we aren’t so lucky/enlightened..)

    ..oh..!..and violent crime has also dropped..where cannabis is easily available..

    ..and the dangers for consumers..? got high..ate a pizza and a large block of chocolate..fell asleep..


    ..just fucken do it..

    ..end this danse macabre ..

    • Te Reo Putake 5.1

      I think your drug fucked writing style is probably why, philip. You’re a one man argument for keeping ganga illegal.

      • phillip ure 5.1.1

        i don’t blames the drugs so much.. a tertiary education..

        ..they really mess you up..

        ..those universities..

      • BM 5.1.2

        This with bells on.

        Not that Phillip will take any notice he’s just operating on a much higher plane than us mere mortals.

        It us that just need to open our eyes and see the obvious.

        • phillip ure

          “..he’s just operating on a much higher plane..”

          it’s an easy one to achieve..

 booze..a vegan-diet and good pot’ll get ya there…

’s a good view from up here..

      • McFlock 5.1.3

        Not just philip, though – the average crowd at a MJ law reform protest is a freak show.

        • phillip ure

          ‘ a freak show..’..?

          ..have you never been to a national party function..?

          • Molly

            … reminded me that a friend of mine running late for a Playcentre meeting – all ready for consensus decision making and discussions on the value of free play, burst through the doors into a National party get-together.

            She still has PTSD flashbacks from the unexpected cultural shock…

          • McFlock

            nope – protested outside one or two, though 🙂

            • phillip ure

              i haven’t either..

              ..but i’ve seen enough reality-tv of them to know..

              ..pot-protestors are harmless-eccentrics compared to the weird fucks who go to national party ‘do’s’..

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    Political no-brainer. Dunne has failed abysmally, National has failed abysmally. The stench of conflicted interests buzzes around Dunne like flies around shit, and National are too incompetent and venal, and too busy covering up their Oravida corruption. Not to mention Murray McCully corruption.

    Well done Labour for forcing their hands.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Dig deep enough and you’ll probably find that National have connection s to the alcohol industry as well.

  7. Te Reo Putake 7

    Gotta say, the phone call between Dunne pere et fils would have been been heart wrenching.

    ‘Sorry son, did all I could to keep you rolling in dosh, but the bloody media just wouldn’t shut up about it and I was starting to look even more like a hypocritical twat than usual. Stop crying, it’s only for a fortnight, it’ll all have blown over by then with a bit luck’.

  8. Weepu's beard 8

    Well done. This will get votes, particularly from worried Mums. Decisive action from Labour as opposed to sitting on hands from Dunne and his paid lackey, Pete George.

  9. McFlock 9

    I’m not sure about this – not so much along the banning itself, but NZ drug policy is fucking munted. All well and good (cannabis being debatable) until you get into analogues and new substances, while alcohol and tobacco have convoluted seperate regs.

    Frankly, whack everything under the same schedule, with local control over class E and F substances (local control over licensing etc) and make it easier for new substances and current substances to be slid up and down classifications according to the latest evidence.

  10. fisiani 10

    National come out smelling of roses. Labour lose any moral high ground and still cannot get a break. Just 140 days to go and The Cunliffe’s popularity is about half what Shearer was when he was dumped in panic. Labour 26 plus Greens 12 is only 38.

  11. TightyRighty 11

    You are absolutely right that the opposition forced dunnes hand on this. But not the way you think, and it’s not good for labour. Who is the high ranking leaker Mickey? This info was shopped to national a wee while ago by someone high up in the Labour Party.

  12. RedLogix 12

    Labour lose any moral high ground and still cannot get a break.

    Yes and it’s happening too often to be coincidence, accident or mere bad luck. Anyone else beginning to wonder if the Minister responsible for the GCSB might not be in this particular loop somehow?

    • felix 12.1

      You mean the minister who went outside of proper ethical process and hired his mate to run the gcsb, and then re-wrote the law so he could spy on NZers if he wanted to but promised that he wouldn’t, most probably, depending on factors?

      • srylands 12.1.1

        He wasn’t his mate.

        • felix

          Course not. Key stepped outside of the proper ethical process to hire some guy he didn’t know for no reason.

          • srylands

            Felix! You are simply making things up – yet again. It was a Ministerial appointment of a high quality candidate.

            • Te Reo Putake

              Um, he wasn’t a candidate. To be a candidate, you have to know the position is available and apply for it. When someone rings you and offers you the gig, you’re an appointee. Ask Shane Jones how it works.

            • McFlock

              who called him in Queensland, and how did they know the guy’s cell number?

              • Populuxe1

                At a guess, Google. Or someone got it from the office. Or any number of things that most people do in ordinary life.

                • McFlock

                  well, key started saying something like that, but then had to correct a misleading statement to say he had no idea how some apparently random dude got the job, or was even contacted about it.

                  Why should you have to guess, anyway? It was a ministerial appointment to a public service position – this shit should be on record.

            • Murray Olsen

              Bullshit, SSLands. A candidate who had never worked in intelligence was not chosen for his competence at the tasks in the official job description. He was chosen for personal loyalty to Key. It’s how mafia capo are chosen, not high level public servants. He had also been investigated in Queensland for contempt of parliament, which would seem to be a desirable quality among NAct and their appointees.

    • fisiani 12.2

      As a National insider the leak from Labour always comes from someone who is an ABC with venom.

    • TightyRighty 12.3

      I’d be asking the labour caucus before pointing fingers at the spooks. seems there are very stong links to national there. one down. who is next? this leak from labour didn’t come from Jones, it came from someone who didn’t like jones’ politics. it also came from a strongly anti psychoactive someone who desperately wanted this bill to pass and knew they had to have the government do it as their own party would botch it.

  13. On whether bans work – Dunne on The Nation (broadcast yesterday but I think recorded early, I think they covered some of it on Friday’s news)

    Hang on a minute, Minister, in Ireland and New South Wales they have bans. Let’s look at Ireland for example, they had 119 stores, the ban comes in, overnight it went to 12 stores and then those closed. So it worked, didn’t it?

    Dunne: It went down to six and when I spoke to the Irish Minister of Health less than a month ago, he said it’s been a complete disaster: all we’ve done is take these things off the main street and on to the black market, the quantity of product is unchanged, the problems people were experiencing has not changed. He said we wish we hadn’t done it. In New South Wales the bans theoretically apply to all substances, but in effect apply only to known products so new products are still emerging and are still being purveyed. We’ve been through that process.

    So what difference will banning make here?

    • you’re relying on the word of that lying bastard/weasel dunne..

      ..there’s a factcheck fail right there..

    • weka 13.2

      “So what difference will banning make here?”

      Don’t know Pete, but try applying that logic to other synthesized drugs like cocaine or herion. Do you think they would be more available if they weren’t banned or not?

  14. Shane Henderson 14

    I think this is an excellent result, and I already know plenty of my community are jubilant at the news, myself included. The onus of proof was always reversed, which led to horrible outcomes for our youth.

    Some decisive action from Labour here, who listened when the community said maybe the government has got this one a bit wrong. Also it should be remembered that this is consistent with what Labour have always said, the bill was rushed and could produce unsafe and dangerous outcomes. Sure enough, once it was confirmed that is indeed the case, Labour moved to get it banned subject to proper testing. The Government’s hand absolutely was forced on this issue, both by Labour and the public.

    When I was speaking on this issue and getting out there in my Board capacity, so many people told me this is the way forward, and I’m just really chuffed for them and for those that campaigned on this issue that our streets will be a much safer place for young and old.

    • Is a blind eye going to be turned on illegal drug use or is policing of illegal drug use going to increase to match the almost certain increase in illegal use?

      • Shane Henderson 14.1.1

        With respect, I disagree with your premise. You wouldn’t believe the amount of Police resources that were being tied up due to synthetic cannabis use. With more restrictions, there will be less users, which should mean less problems and therefore less Policing resource needed.

        • Pete George

          What police resources were being used, and on what?

          I hope you are right but I fear you’ll be proved wrong. There may be less users but the hard core users will switch to illegal drugs, sourced from illegal suppliers, the cost will probably rise so they will need more money to keep feeding their habits – drug users often resort to crime to finance their needs.

          “Should mean less problems” isn’t very convincing.

          • mickysavage

            Pete you obviously do not understand the nature of the drugs that we are dealing with. Shane and I see the effects every day. IMHO we would be better off decriminalising cannabis (this is not party policy, just my own view) and letting people smoke the herb.

            Sure making synthetics illegal will cause problems. But it will become less available and less damage will be caused.

            It is a shame the Government did not address these issues at the time. Instead it adopted a goldilocks approach to the issues.

            It thought that it had a good middle of the road not too hot and not too cold solution. Bit like United Future really.

            • Pete George

              Is there any way Labour would agree to addressing laws related to cannabis? If they really wanted to be bold and make a difference they should be looking at that, shouldn’t they?

              If they announced a policy to address the cannabis elephant I would applaud them – especially if they could influence National and Dunne to follow suit.

              How about it?

              This current ban twiddling from Labour is a bit yeah, nah.

              • mickysavage

                Get Pete Dunne to come out publicly and say he will support decriminalisation of the possession of cannabis for personal use and I am sure the caucus would consider it.

                • I’ve tried him on that several times over several years, no go. What’s more he said it would never happen under a National government.

                  This is Labour’s big opportunity to take the initiative.

                  Get David Cunliffe to come out publicly and say he will support decriminalisation of the possession of cannabis for personal use. That will really make an impact.

              • Jackal

                The problem is that the debate surrounding marijuana law reform is complex and divisive. Without a change in the MSM’s narrative in New Zealand to change public perception, I don’t think it’s the right time to propose sweeping changes. Despite the evidence, there is currently no unanimous support from politicians either, which means any law change to decriminalize marijuana would likely fail to pass. Proposing such changes would simply alienate Labour from those, particularly older voters, who still believe in reefer madness. I guess that’s the real reason behind Pete George saying Labour should front foot this issue.

                • Your last sentence is nonsense.

                  There are very few politicians or parties prepared to promote cannabis reform. ALCP are the only ones solid on it, Greens say they back it but it’s not likely to be a priority for them.

                  I think it’s too urgent to wait for the election until anyone has the guts to step up and do something about it (and then probably won’t).

                  If legal highs all become illegal highs and don’t past the low harm test and remain illegal highs then we will have a significant shift in drug use, from legal to illegal.

                  A number of drug users have developed habits on substances that were legal and suddenly they are going to be turned into criminals or cold turkeys. Either could get very ugly.

                  But hey, not annoying older voters is more important of course.

                  • Jackal

                    Being in a position to make progressive changes based on evidence when the numbers show support is more important Pete George. What you’re proposing is that the Labour party should shoot themselves in the foot re marijuana law reform leading up to an election.

                    Being tough on crime (Acts three strikes for burglars, Anne Tolley’s sex offender data base and a ban on synthetics) are vote winners. Unfortunately campaigning on marijuana law reform is a vote loser…it’s as cut and dry as that.

                    • Molly

                      Exactly what I thought when reading PG’s suggestion after following his other comments.

                      Next suggestion will be that Cunliffe needs to come out against climate change, promote arts in schools and start talking about the responsibility of NZ’ers towards others during the campaign.

                      All reasonable stances, but issues requiring much more than the soundbites offered during elections.

                    • “..Unfortunately campaigning on marijuana law reform is a vote loser…it’s as cut and dry as that..”

                      i don’t think it is quite so ‘cut and dry’…(good pun..!..)

                      ..that recent campbell-live poll had 84% supporting ending cannabis prohibition..

                      ..(and that was before this latest round of legal-highs horror-stories..)

                      ..ending cannabis prohibition has now got the added cachet of being the lesser of these other ‘evils’..

                      ..and where is the logic in this govt legalising medicinal cannabis..(but only in a big-pharma product..(sativex..)

                      ..if sativex has been approved as a medicine..

                      ..why is cannabis still this ‘evil’/bad ‘drug’..?

                      ..the logic-fails around this are both epic and comprehensive..

                      ..and i repeat…opening a legal-high outlet in colorado would be a very bad business-decision…

             wouldn’t have queues snaking away from yr front door..

            ’d be standing at yr door…

                      ..watching the steady business at the cannabis shop..

                      ..across the road..

                      ..(and likely suffering the jeers of disbelief that you are even there..)

                      ..just fucken do it…!

                  • Shane Henderson

                    You bring up a good point about users potentially having to go cold turkey, I do hope that our services are adequately resourced to get people the help they need.

          • Shane Henderson

            Cheers MS, yes for sure we see the effects every day and I also am in very regular contact with the local Police on this issue.

            You see, like most drugs it affects people differently, but in general the effects tend toward either aggression, psychosis or extreme vacancy. For the first two at least, Police are called when the effects of the drug make people do crazy things, and when smoked in public the symptoms are also manifested in public. Several times a day in my neighbourhood police are called because someone on synthetics has harassed a shop owner, got into a fight, is self harming etc etc. So less availability means less users, which means less of these call outs.

            With respect, if you follow that reasoning down the garden path, what are we supposed to do? Keep the synthetics both available and at low cost to avoid people resorting to crime to feed habits?

          • weka

            “There may be less users but the hard core users will switch to illegal drugs, sourced from illegal suppliers, the cost will probably rise so they will need more money to keep feeding their habits – drug users often resort to crime to finance their needs.”

            You are talking about drugs as if they are all the same. They’re not. Many people using legal highs currently will switch to cannabis. Others will go to alcohol because it is more easily available. The great thing about cannabis is that many people can grow their own or have friends or locals that grow and supply. You can’t say that about synthetics.

            “drug users often resort to crime to finance their needs.”

            FFS, most cannabis users in NZ use recreationally and don’t need to steal in order to buy. It’s not like a herion habit where the drug supply is limited and expensive and there are serious repercussions to not having access.

  15. Mike the Savage One 15

    It seems the Nats have just “stolen” another surprise policy announcement that David Cunliffe and Labour had planned.

    This is clearly a knee jerk reaction to the public outcry by some, and by the media having stirred up emotions to sky high levels.

    Campbell Live in Naenae on last Friday seems to have topped it all off.

    So the government got into a bit of a panic, and thought, hey, here is something that needs urgent fixing. David Cunliffe seems to have planned the same, but wanted to announce it in an effective manner on Tuesday, I hear.

    No wonder we do not get much policy from Labour, as anything they will announce either gets rubbished straight away, or it gets seized upon, first ridiculed, and then taken up by National, in a slightly more moderate, “acceptable” form.

    Peter Dunne is going to be a real turncoat on this one, I am sure, just watch what will come from him in coming days.

    This is politics 2014, and election year is full of surprises. Maybe a law should be brought in, to only allow parties to announce new policies prior to an election say about 2 weeks before the day the votes are cast? Also perhaps stop polls months before, so this constant manipulation and hijacking has an end?

    • fisiani 15.1

      In 5 months time the only memory will be that the government stopped the sales of legal highs. Nowt about Labour and nowt about Dunne. National the winners again thanks to the ABC traitor.

  16. Mike the Savage One 16

    Now the synthetics users may have to get used to getting “high” on (s)mashed potatoes?! But with Judith Collins being “friendly” towards the alcohol industry, there is one alternative for those with more “flexible” habits.

  17. Stephen J 17

    I don’t think this is our finest hour, to be honest. We should be aspiring to evidence based policy that aims at harm minimisation. There has been a moral panic based on nothing more than a few horror stories in the press. Great TV showing Dunne all shocked in Naenae, why can’t we see Collins in the emergency room on a Saturday night looking at the alcohol damage?

    Now we’ve let ourselves get suckered into taking a position that will be difficult to unwind into a rational policy. Grrr.

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      I don’t think this is our finest hour, to be honest. We should be aspiring to evidence based policy that aims at harm minimisation.

      Fancy jargon but what does it actually mean in practice? Do you want to launch a 3 or 4 year research project and let kids keep getting fucked up over that time frame so that your much vaunted evidence can be gathered?

      And how exactly does a few more years worth of fucked up kids then correspond to your stated principle of “harm minimisation”?

      Also have you considered what the benefits to society are of these products vs the increasingly well documented costs to society? Still want to take it slow and mull it over for a few years until you are ready to act? In the mean time National get to look like they are the ones responsive to the health concerns of under privileged communities and their youth. Brilliant.

      No wonder left wing governments can get fuck all done in a 3 year term while the Tories just go hard and achieve what they want.

      • Stephen J 17.1.1

        No, I don’t want to launch a 3 or 4 year project.

        The drugs in question are only legal under an interim regime which will expire soon. The MOH could actually have withdrawn them already and it would be very interesting to know why they have not — if the MSM weren’t busy hyperventilating that would have been a good question to ask. Either the evidence isn’t there or MoH is falling down on the job. Another interesting question is where all the horror cases were before the law was passed, as the substances concerned were already being sold. At least now they are in packaging with the Poison Centre hotline on it and good labelling about the contents!

        The legislative framework isn’t perfect but it is adequate and better than what we had or what most jurisdictions have. Good things were coming of it. We’ve been banning these things for years, and they just get replaced with substances with no testing at all. At least in the present case there would have been a testing regime coming.

        Your whole response takes for granted that there is a widespread problem that we had to respond to quickly, and that there was no answer within the present law. I don’t agree with either of these propositions.

        We lack anything but anecdotal evidence in the media for evidence. We wouldn’t make policy in other areas based on a few high profile cases and I don’t see why this is different. The MoH could have withdrawn these substances if there was immediate concern (why haven’t they?) or we could have waited for the interim approvals to expire and the testing regime to kick in.

        Finally, harm minimisation isn’t just about the health effects of a substance but also about whether people substitute with worse substances, or get entangled with the criminal justice system and so on.

        If you want to go JUST THINK OF THE CHILDREN and let tabloid coverage dictate what you do, fine. I can’t support that. It’s PR-driven, knee-jerk policy. If it weren’t an election year we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

        • Colonial Viper

          We lack anything but anecdotal evidence in the media for evidence. We wouldn’t make policy in other areas based on a few high profile cases and I don’t see why this is different.

          You say that you don’t want to start up some 3 or 4 year project to gather the all-necessary “evidence” before taking action. So in that case where are you going to get the evidence for your “evidence-based” policies from?

          Seriously, just start talking to some GPs or mental health nurses about the adverse effects of synthetic highs that they have had to deal with in practice, and I promise you that its not just the few high profile cases the media has picked up.

          • Psycho Milt

            Seriously, just start talking to some GPs or mental health nurses about the adverse effects of synthetic highs that they have had to deal with in practice…

            …and then ask them about the effects of alcohol they deal with in practice. Once finished, compose an essay on “Labour’s considered basis is for a policy of banning one of these things, and selling the other in supermarkets.”

            • One Anonymous Bloke


              • I get that it’s Realpolitik and I can live with that – but we could maybe dispense with the pissing contest over which party saw this piece of Realpolitik first. It ain’t something to be proud of.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  The contest is the Realpolitik manifesting itself, and yeah, if it helps change the government it’s a contest worth having.

          • Jim in Tokyo

            “where are you going to get the evidence for your “evidence-based” policies from?”

            Stephen J has it right. This is a huge set back for evidence-based policy. The few remaining substances currently available have a temporary license that can be revoked on the basis of a few properly reported and medically verifiable reports of a serious side-effects.

            “Seriously, just start talking to some GPs or mental health nurses about the adverse effects of synthetic highs that they have had to deal with in practice, and I promise you that its not just the few high profile cases the media has picked up”

            You’ve read the actual legislation, right CV? You should have calmly explained to your GP friends that the new legislation created a framework through which they are supposed to officially report these adverse effects. The threshold is not high.

            Either this is a fact-free moral panic based on anecdata (you’re not pedaling anecdata are you?) or the Government has botched the implementation of a sensible policy that I believe Labour also supported at the time.

            If Labour wanted to make this an Election issue, they should have had the guts to stand behind the evidence-based policy approach while attacking the Minister involved over their failure to implement the steps outlined in the policy.

    • We should be aspiring to evidence based policy that aims at harm minimisation. There has been a moral panic based on nothing more than a few horror stories in the press.

      Moral panic is the exact term for it. The same bullshit panic reaction that politicians apply to every damn drug except alcohol and tobacco. There is nothing to celebrate here – a few people ranting on Campbell Live and both major parties start a pissing contest over who was first in with a policy to ban the drug involved. And we’re supposed to think these people should be in charge of a government?

      • Tangled_up 17.2.1

        “Moral panic”

        Who decides what is a legitimate problem and what is just moral panic? And how?

        It’s interesting that the people flinging out this term seem to do so away from what’s going on and rather from some unpragmatic ideology.

        • Psycho Milt

          It’s a matter of opinion. In my opinion, hyping up stories in the media about “Our children are taking drugs!” is classic, A-grade moral panic material. Of course they’re taking drugs, of course it’s damaging some of them, and of course some of them are becoming addicted. In the case of the most harmful drug of the lot, alcohol, we’ve responded by licencing, regulating and taxing it, have almost universally accepted that banning it would have too many negative consequences, and guess what? Some are damaged by it, some become addicted to it, and the sky doesn’t fall in.

          • Molly

            The issue is not solely about “moral panic” about drugs, I agree with you on that aspect.

            The difference in this case is that without testing, we have allowed poisons on the market that happen to also give you a “high”. And now we are retrospectively viewing the consequences of that “show us harm” instead of a precautionary approach.

            As for alcohol, that’s a whole other conversation. When you say the “…sky doesn’t fall in…” it is apparent to me that you have not had many dealings with families or individuals who are dealing with the consequence of foetal alcohol syndrome. That damage is inflicted on children, and is permanent.

            NZ is way behind in identifying this syndrome, but one doctor who works with CYFS on this estimates that within the system, the number of children is very high – well over 30%.

            The sky does fall in for many – they are just quietly getting lost.

            • Psycho Milt

              Like the poor, the stupid will always be with us. You can’t legislate them out of existence.

              • Molly

                You are right. For example the stupid are in government at the moment, I don’t really have a need to see them disappear, but I do want them out of positions of power.

                But there are other ways to influence decision making.

                I still get frustrated when I see the public service ads, exhorting NZ’ers to stop drinking and driving, and speeding. I seem to recollect a study done that shows how ineffective this is. Most drivers know that they take a risk when they do either, and a commercial on tv is not going to add significantly to their decision making process.

                But very few NZ’ers understand the permanent and devastating damage to individuals through foetal alcohol syndrome. A few public service announcements on that would probably inform more than the aforementioned drunk driving ads. In fact, we still have occasional articles in MSM that tell us it is “safe” for pregnant women to imbibe alcohol.

                … maybe getting off topic…

                Original point was that effectively new poisons were put in pretty packets and being allowed for sale – because one of the effects was a ‘high’.

                If regulations had been framed to take a precautionary approach instead of a reactionary one, they would not have been on the shelves at all.

              • RedLogix


                Some are damaged by it, some become addicted to it, and the sky doesn’t fall in.

                But it does for them. You may not give a shit, I do.

                • We both give a shit – so what? We can’t legislate the protection of every single person from him/herself. Putting on a pious show of how much you care achieves exactly nothing.

                  At issue here is whether banning drugs is a good idea or not. If we don’t ban drugs, as with alcohol, we get people addicted to them and/or suffering a range of health problems. If we do ban drugs, we get the above plus organised crime, criminalisation of drug users, waste of Police resources and loss of respect for the law. Figuring out which is the lesser of the two evils isn’t that hard, surely?

          • felix

            “Of course they’re taking drugs, of course it’s damaging some of them, and of course some of them are becoming addicted.”

            But the government said these particular drugs were ok.

            • Psycho Milt

              If these things were declared ‘safe’ rather than ‘relatively low-harm,’ all the individuals making up Parliament are idiots – which, come to think of it, should definitely not be ruled out.

  18. Second Thoughts 18

    Hmmm why the point scoring here…it is off the street – does it really matter who said it first…it was an issue months ago. Dunne stuffed up…that is why he wont be in parliament soon.

    This really isn’t a policy for Labour to pat themselves on the back — waiting for who David Parker is going to announce Labours X Factor competition – “Who will be the biggest tool” of them all on Tuesday

  19. Jrobin 19

    Wonder what resources there are in the health system to help all the poor beggars who are now addicted to these substances. Maybe he was exaggerating but the teenager on Campbell Live claimed it was hard to withdraw from. Hope we don’t next read about seizures and serious problems from rapid withdrawal. The whole thing is just sickening.

  20. Jackal 20

    Today on twitter, Peter Dunce has been trying and failing to defend his announcement regarding the banning of synthetics 17 minutes after Labour’s policy was announced. In response to Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway questioning him about supporting Labours bill, Peter Dunce replied:

    and do you really think the government would have given you a victory on this?

    So there you have it folks…Peter Dunce announcing that he was going to ban synthetics was all about stealing Labours thunder and nothing else. Only yesterday Dunce was saying that synthetics shouldn’t be banned, but as soon as Labour looked liked gaining traction on the issue he starts to sing a different tune. No wonder politicians are held in such low regard.

  21. Clemgeopin 21

    What are the pros and cons of a drug policy such as this:

    [1] Since many people indulge in marijuana and it is supposedly less harmful, make it legal but have licensed vendors and tax it. Come down hard with very severe consequences for black market operations and gangs selling it without valid license.

    [2] Ban ALL other drugs such as p, cocaine etc and ban ALL the synthetic cannabis products completely and institute minimum ten year non parole-able jail sentences for manufacturers, importers, dealers and sellers….and oh, confiscate their money and property.

    [3] Have increased support such as education and drug addiction rehabilitation initiatives to help people wean away from this evil scourge.

    What do you think?…

    And another thing: Sack the useless Dunne asap.

    • weka 21.1

      “but have licensed vendors and tax it.”


      • Clemgeopin 21.1.1

        To have some control on licensing, legitimacy and for GST.

        Why not?

        • weka

          Why does it need to be licensed? What legitimacy? How is it different to any other goods that are sold re GST?

          “Why not?”

          In the first instance, just decriminalise for personal and shared use. People can grow their own and share with people they know.

          Beyond that, I would prefer that existing growers were legitimised, and allowed to set up small businesses and enterprises to provide quality product and local employment rather than cannabis being handed to big business interests on a plate.

          While there are health concerns with cannabis (which should be dealt with via education and harm minimisation programmes), there really isn’t an issue with production safety until you start processing.

          • Murray Olsen

            Agreed. Just repeal any and all laws which make cannabis illegal. Give it the same status as turnips. We have the lovely New Zealand Green for those who want to smoke.

            Who would touch the synthetic rubbish when they could get the real stuff much more cheaply? The police would have to find another reason to harass young Maori, but they’re pretty inventive. Or they could always try treating them as human beings if all else failed, I suppose. I don’t think there are that many old Kiwis who worry too much about the reefer madness rubbish, but I do know there are quite a few who are sick of seeing their kids and grandkids harassed and locked up over an essentially harmless herb.

            We wouldn’t even be pioneers any more. Many countries, and even parts of the US and A, have already moved down this road.

          • phillip ure

            reasons for licensing are purity of product..

            ..currently growers can spray crops with whatever poisonous crap they like..

            ..licensed growers would ensure this consumer/health-protection..

            ..and rather than going to ‘fred down the road’..for whatever he may have on that day..

            ..i would prefer the colorado-experience..

            ..where you can walk into a licensed premise..and specify the type/effect of/from pot you desire..

   not all pot is created equal..

            ..and also..i am a big believer in sin-taxes..

            ..and as gambling/alcohol/drug-consumption are constants of the human condition..

            ..the state should both run them..and collect all the profit/revenue…//..(or have licensed retailers..)..

            ..and to use those funds for the common-good…

            • Clemgeopin

              Great points!

              If the state owns, controls and operates the drug, gambling and alcohol industries, the revenue gathered would be HUGE! No wonder some of the wealthiest people are alcohol, drug or gambling kingpins/corporates, whether their business is legal or illegal.

              One other point is that if marijuana were to be made legal, it should still be illegal to smoke it in public. Needs to be confined to private dwellings.

              • weka

                You didn’t answer my questions Clem.

                • Clemgeopin

                  I think Phil answered it well enough.

                  The point is cannabis is not completely harmless. Which scientific, medical or social expert says so? Being harmful, (like tobacco or alcohol) I think it needs some serious controls and monitoring. For example, I don’t think anyone is allowed to sell liquor of over about 40% proof by law. Such regulation for drugs is necessary and sensible. It would be irresponsible not to do so.

                  Besides, if it is made legal, why should not the government earn some taxes off it, including to offset some costs of education, rehab, administration, monitoring, policing and medical services?

            • weka

              phil, there is no reason why you can’t have industry standards for commerical growers alongside grow your own for personal use and share*. Pretty much like we already do for food. You can even have the round-upped dak or the organic.

              *(although I still think the ideal is to let the industry evolve around small business enterprises with the people that already grow being able to transition to legal employment and providing more local jobs).

  22. Black market fears over legal high ban

    An emergency law banning legal highs will lead to binge-buying, fire sales, a boosted black market and addicts withdrawing without support, warns the New Zealand Drug Foundation.

    Foundation boss Ross Bell said the political parties were “playing silly buggers” with the issue because they had all agreed to stagger the implementation of the Psychoactive Substances Act, introduced in July last year, meaning a testing regime had still not been developed.

    Cabinet gave the go-ahead for a law change two weeks ago. Dunne will introduce the legislation to Parliament under urgency on May 8. “It had been my intention to hold the announcement to much nearer the time to prevent panic-buying and stockpiling.”

    He admitted his decision to bring the announcement forward was a political one, sparked by Labour’s planned announcement.

    Labour leader David Cunliffe said the substances had been “ruining too many young lives”.

    “I think we’ve all been shocked and saddened by it, and also by reports that young Kiwis have been turning to prostitution to fund the habit that these highly addictive drugs create.”

    He said the Government had “fallen asleep at the wheel” over introducing a testing regime.

    “Had we known 18 months down the track that no regime would yet be in place, we would have insisted back then that all drugs had to go through the testing process before they were allowed onto the market.”

    But Bell said Labour had been spurred on by media coverage of the issue and had “decided to jump on the bandwagon”.

    Ross from the Drug Foundation has also been active on Twitter, claiming that any substances shown to be a risk could be removed from sale (banned) under the current law.

    NZ Drug Foundation ‏@nzdrug

    @IainLG @nzlabour Why not simply use the power in the existing law and immediately remove those products causing harm?

    @IainLG @nzlabour @PeterDunneMP

    Simply stated that Authority has that power already and questioned whether law change needed.

    …allow the Authority to revoke licenses. This neither requires a law change nor rely on any direction from the minister.

    Psychoactive Substances Act 2013 – 40 Revocation of approval

    (1) The Authority may, at any time, by notice in the Gazette, revoke an approval of a psychoactive product granted under section 37 if the Authority considers on reasonable grounds that the product poses more than a low risk of harm to individuals using the product.

    (2) If the Authority revokes an approval, the Authority—

    (a) must notify the person who applied for approval of the product:

    (b) may issue a recall order for the product under section 88.

    (‘Authority’ means the Psychoactive Substances Regulatory Authority)

    So why the sudden rush to change the law if the current law could remove any substance deemed to be a risk?

    Maybe the media and politicians should be asking that instead of playing silly buggers.

    • Clemgeopin 22.1

      Blame Dunne. He is the minister. It is Dunne that has made the decision. He must take all the responsibility for his actions. Ask Key to sack him then.

    • bad12 22.2

      Another banal query from George, the sudden about face by Dunne and National have nothing to do with any harm that ‘legal highs’ may or may not inflict on its users,

      Its all about votes and voter perception leading into the upcoming election, the users of legal highs i would suggest are those least likely to be motivated to vote in September, their Mummies tho are probably the opposite as are the ‘many’ who have been watching the ‘lines’ of buyers as shown on our TV’s and the ongoing likes of the Campbell Live ‘anti-legal high’ pieces,

      Funnily enough, those who are and will be ignored in all the ‘fuss’ generated over ‘legal highs’ are the majority of those who purchase and use the stuff,

      “The Hairdo’ Dunne and National are not panicking over any real picture of harm done to the majority of users of ‘legal highs’, they are panicking in fear over the perception in the wider electorate over such harm,

      Knee-jerk reactionaries in other words…

    • felix 22.3


      Save your words.

      It was Dunne.


  23. One Anonymous Bloke 23

    Ross from the NZ drug foundation will now explain how to determine which particular recipe caused the harm at A&E. After the fact of the harm allowed by the Associate Minister of Harm.

  24. toad 24

    So now users will only be able to get their drugs through their local meth dealer. And guess what he or she will sell them when stockpiles of the formerly legal highs run low.

  25. fambo 25

    Big mistake

  26. Tim Watkin at Pundit writes Legal highs leave MPs dazed & confused

    Nicola Kean, a producer for The Nation, asked the Ministry of Health last week:

    “What’s the trend (if any) for people presenting at A+E for problems with psychoactive substances since the law was introduced?”

    A written reply on Thursday said:

    “While it is early days the Authority has received anecdotal reports demonstrating the number of severe presentations to emergency departments has reduced since the Act came in.

    The Authority monitors approved products received from the Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring (CARM), and calls from the public to the National Poisons Centre on a regular basis.

    These reports also show a reduction in the number of severe issues being reported. Where severe adverse reactions are reported the Authority has the power to act and has already removed products from the market where reports to CARM identified they posed more than a low risk of harm”.

    So again the evidence is only anecdotal, but the official line was that if anything reports of severe harm caused by legal highs was DOWN since the law was introduced.

    Only it made for bad optics; the public didn’t like what it saw. The political risk to the government became too high. Hence the de facto ban via councils becomes a temporary ban via a government-mandated product recall.

    This suggests that harm has been actually reducing, the visible impact has just been concentrated around the far fewer retail outlets.

    • Te Reo Putake 26.1

      I think you’ll find the harm was mainly concentrated on one bouffant haired twat in Ohariu, Pete. When do you reckon he tipped his son off?

    • …harm has been actually reducing, the visible impact has just been concentrated around the far fewer retail outlets.

      That’s exactly it – the drastic reduction in outlets has concentrated large numbers of wasters around the few remaining ones, resulting in complaints. TV3 keeps rescreening that footage of people queuing outside PN’s legal high shop at the end of Good Friday, without mentioning that it’s footage showing pretty much every legal-high munter in a city of 80,000 people and its surrounding area. If there was just one liquor outlet in PN, there’d be a fucking queue outside it every hour it was open…

  27. Clemgeopin 27

    There is a poll on Stuff that asks :

    Who should take credit for a new ban on legal highs?

    What do you think?

    The unscientific vote now is :
    Labour 192 votes, 42.5%

    National 203 votes, 44.9%

    United Future 57 votes, 12.6%

    Total 452 votes

    • politikiwi 27.1

      The framing of that question i rather interesting: Who should take credit, indeed.

  28. SPC 28

    Legalise Ecstasy, and educate for safe use.

  29. Philj 29

    The government seems to have implemented an interim policy resulting in people being the guinea pigs for these psycho active substances. If it’s shown to really ruin lives, they might do something. Dunne gone!

  30. mike 30

    too little too late as usual from cunners

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