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Penny Hulse and the decriminalisation of cannabis

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, May 18th, 2014 - 52 comments
Categories: drugs, greens, labour, len brown, national, peter dunne, Social issues, united future - Tags: ,

Penny Hulse

Despite the difficulties caused by the breaking of the news of his affair with Bevan Chuang and the attendant fire storm that erupted mayor Len Brown has kept the Auckland Council functioning during this term and it has come through the disruption reasonably well.  If there is one person he can thank it is Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse.  She performs a very important function.  She has maintained relationships with all of the Councillors, built coalitions on all issues, and has generally kept the Council functioning reasonably well.  There has been the occasional act of belligerence by Cameron Brewer and regular episodes of stupidity by Dick Quax but otherwise the business of Council is being done.  Len has a lot to thank Penny for.

Interestingly I hear that Brewer is no longer the preferred Super City Mayoral candidate for the centre right and they are considering a woman who is not a current Councillor as their next candidate.  And John Palino has popped up again and says that he would have another go.  He also still asserts that he knew nothing of the attempted extortion of Len Brown and claims that Brown sympathisers in his camp undermined him.  The sense of unreality is strong here.

One particular issue the Council has had to deal with is the sale of synthetic cannabis.  Peter Dunne was in the habit of saying that it was a local government issue, whereas the reality was that all councils had been given rather limited tools allowing them to regulate where stores selling synthetic cannabis were located.  There has been a growing expectation amongst communities that Local Government should sort the issue out even though its powers are limited.

Peter Dunne’s and the Government’s backflip has created new problems such as stockpiling, dealing with withdrawal and managing the black market that was almost instantly created and this is something that Dunne and the Government need to wear.  For political reasons they decided to usurp Labour’s announced policy on the issue and the problems are all theirs to deal with.

There is an organic form of synthetic cannabis that does not have the same psychotic or habit forming qualities of the just banned stuff and my personal belief is that it is high time that this alternative was considered.  Yes ladies and gentlemen it is time to have a civilised debate about whether the decriminalisation of good old home grown cannabis should occur.

Penny Hulse said publicly that now is the time for this debate to occur.  From the Herald this week:

Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says it is time to decriminalise natural cannabis because it is safer than the synthetic versions that were banned last week.

The veteran councillor and former industrial laboratory technician said she had always opposed decriminalisation, but changed her mind after reading scientific papers about the dangers of synthetic cannabis.

Yesterday, she told an Auckland Council committee drawing up a policy on “legal highs” that it made no sense to regulate when synthetic cannabis could be sold without considering safer alternatives.

“I think we need to take a deep breath in this conversation and say, ‘What are we trying to achieve? Are we going to deal with the issue that people are going to make choices to smoke things that get them stoned? Have we been able to stop people doing that?’ Absolutely we haven’t.”

Ms Hulse stressed she was speaking personally and not for the council …

[She] said she was speaking as “someone from a scientific background” with “a deep and abiding passion for science”. She personally loathed cannabis.

“I have two grandchildren. The idea that they would choose to smoke cannabis or any legal highs breaks my heart,” she said.

But toxicologists had shown that natural cannabis contained several compounds with an anti-psychotic effect to balance the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it was less dangerous than synthetic products designed to match exactly receptors in the brain.

This is hardly a new proposal and Hulse’s description of the issue is a realistic one.  The issue is not whether or not drugs are bad for us, it is whether or not prohibition is working.  It may be time for society to treat it as a health issue and not a law and order issue.  Prohibition and criminalisation of possession always made me think that our drug laws are the ultimate example of Nanny State.

It is not as if decriminalisation is a radical proposal.  Throughout the western world nations and states have been exploring how to deal with issues caused by drug use and decriminalisation is a method that is being used more and more often.

It will be interesting to see how the parties of the left handle this issue during the election campaign.  Labour has always been cautious.  Its policy platform contains the following passage:

8.29  We will adopt the following evidence-supported measures to protect our communities from crime.

… Recognise that the problem of personal drug use is primarily a health issue and that the criminal justice system, especially prisons, only makes the problem worse. Labour will reform drug policy so it is evidence based and has harm reduction as its focus.

The Greens have always been more supportive of discrimination.  Their current policy requires them to “monitor and evaluate the effects of the removal of personal penalties for cannabis use, drug education programmes, drug addiction treatment programmes, and pharmaceutical controls” presumably with a view to lessening harm.

Given the chaotic nature of politics currently and the hunt for headlines that occurs in election years this may be an issue we hear of more this year.  But respect to Penny Hulse for bravely speaking her mind on the issue.

52 comments on “Penny Hulse and the decriminalisation of cannabis”

  1. Paul 1

    Another disgraceful sly interview by Espiner on RNZ
    Penny Hulse a brave woman.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/2595999

  2. Tiger Mountain 2

    When a person like Penny talks about cannabis the conservatives may hopefully take a little more notice. I don’t partake but I sure hope medical cannabis is around soon as I get older and more likely to possibly need it.

    Decriminalised and regulated would be the approach to try. I did not grow up in Sunday school and can report never having felt uncomfortable or threatened in the company of smokers, the reverse in fact from drinkers and speeders. The worst effect was several rather leisurely rides home down the Auckland motorway late at night.

    “one toke over the line sweet Jesus…”
    –Brewer and Shipley

    “Legalise it, don’t criticise it…”
    –Peter Tosh

  3. my archives on this topic/subject..

    http://whoar.co.nz/?s=cannabis

    they are both substantial and extensive/comprehensive..

    • Are there specific posts which you think would be relevant to this conversation, or are people just expected to read every single thing you’ve ever said on the subject?

      • phillip ure 3.1.1

        what would you like to know..?

        ..there is a little box up in the righthand corner..

        ..where you can further refine yr search..

        ..(i did say the archive is large..the rest of our media just seemed to ignore all of that stuff..

        ..as it rolled on by..

        ..so thought i should take note..

        ..for moments like this..eh..?..)

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    It is excellent that Hulse is playing a part in a conversation which is moving into mainstream political discussion. From a law enforcement, justice and corrections standpoint there are benefits to decriminalisation of marijuana, and even from the standpoint of taking revenue off organised crime and moving it into the mainstream economy.

    HOWEVER the use of marijuana does have health risks and would need to be well regulated in any event. Long term users of marijuana, especially those who started in adolescence, have a measurably increased risk of mental health problems including depression, schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. Some of this may be linked to genetic vulnerabilities that some people have.

    Having said that, marijuana is far safer than the “legal highs” products and it is a quirk of our society and legal system that somehow the more dangerous ‘legal highs’ are accessible for purchase in main street stores, while marijuana is not.

    • weka 4.1

      “HOWEVER the use of marijuana does have health risks and would need to be well regulated in any event. Long term users of marijuana, especially those who started in adolescence, have a measurably increased risk of mental health problems including depression, schizophrenia and psychotic episodes. Some of this may be linked to genetic vulnerabilities that some people have.”

      Or people with mental health vulnerabilities have a greater tendancy to self medicate and therefore show up out of proportion in stats on cannabis use and acute psychiatric problems. We don’t know which comes first, the chicken or the egg. Better to use education and harm minimisation with both cannabis and mental health. By all means put an age restriction on legal cannabis, but the tighter the regulation goes beyond that, the more commerce becomes involved and the more likely we are to fuck it up. We would be better off regulating for personal use and keeping commerce out of it altogether.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        On that point, from the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists:

        Three major studies followed large numbers of people over several years, and showed that those people who use cannabis have a higher than average risk of developing schizophrenia. If you start smoking it before the age of 15, you are 4 times more likely to develop a psychotic disorder by the time you are 26. They found no evidence of self-medication. It seemed that, the more cannabis someone used, the more likely they were to develop symptoms.

        Why should teenagers be particularly vulnerable to the use of cannabis? No one knows for certain, but it may be something to do with brain development. The brain is still developing in the teenage years – up to the age of around 20, in fact. A massive process of ‘neural pruning’ is going on. This is rather like streamlining a tangled jumble of circuits so they can work more effectively. Any experience, or substance, that affects this process has the potential to produce long-term psychological effects.

        Recent research in Europe, and in the UK, has suggested that people who have a family background of mental illness – and so probably have a genetic vulnerability anyway – are more likely to develop schizophrenia if they use cannabis as well.

        http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinformation/mentalhealthproblems/alcoholanddrugs/cannabisandmentalhealth.aspx

        As for “keeping commerce out of it” yes you can do that but it does make it a whole lot harder to regulate and monitor activities associated with the trade (and marijuana will still be bought and sold on the grey market even if shops aren’t allowed to trade it).

        • phillip ure 4.1.1.1

          there is one statistical-fact that blows yr cannabis-causes-schitzophrenia-scare-story bullshit out of the water..

          ..that is that the schitzophrenia numbers as a proportion of population..

          ..are the same now as they were before the wholesale taking up of cannabis..

          ..how does that fact blend with yr ‘theory’..?

          ..cannabis is the safest intoxicant of all..and by a country-mile..

          ..and also has many health/healing-qualities..

          ..just the opposite of this bullshit you and weka constantly push…

          • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.1.1

            ..that is that the schitzophrenia numbers as a proportion of population..

            ..are the same now as they were before the wholesale taking up of cannabis..

            Which country is your statistic from? The Royal College of Psychiatrists is quite clear – young people using cannabis presents a signficant mental health risk. You wouldn’t sell a 14 year old a dozen beer why would you want to sell a 14 year old 50g of marijuana?

            • phillip ure 4.1.1.1.1.1

              the stats were from america..(and will be in my archives..)..

              and i’m not saying you should..’sell’ weed to 14 yr olds/children..

              ..where the fuck did you drag that up from..?..given what i said..

              ..but now that you mention it..

              ..the realities of life in nz..here/now/2014..is that the 14 yr olds know where the tinny-houses are..

              ..so they currently have 24 hr/7day access to blackmarket weed..no age-restrictions..

              ..whereas legalised/regulated/taxed..would go some way to changing/tightening up that..

              ..how could it not..?

              ..and as for wekas’ half-arsed prescription..(based on some primitive idea that ‘commerce is the devil’..)

              ..is a total mess of an idea..

              ..a worst of both worlds..that will still see organised-crime doing the growing/distribution..

              ..the cops still pissing all that money/time up against a wall..playing cops and robbers..

              ..and that ’14 yr old’ still having 24 hr/7day access from tinnie houses..

              ..as i said..a half-arsed/ill-thought-out idea..

              ..plus..and it’s a big plus..legalised/reglated/taxed would mean liscenced-growers..

              ..and their product would be tested..and not able to be sprayed with whatever vile crap blackmarket growers sometimes use..

              ..(hint:..if the pot gives you a headache..it’s been sprayed with some vile/poisonous muck..)

              ..so of course..wekas’ idea also falls at that hurdle..eh..?

        • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2

          The brain is still developing in the teenage years – up to the age of around 20, in fact.

          So why are we allowing alcohol to be sold to 18 year olds when alcohol has similar effects on the developing brain?

          • felix 4.1.1.2.1

            That may well be evidence of a cultural and legal hypocrisy, and it may well be an argument against alcohol, but in no way is it an argument in favour of cannabis.

            • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1.1

              No, it’s in favour of decent regulation – same as applies to alcohol.

        • weka 4.1.1.3

          “On that point, from the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists:”

          Thanks CV. That’s an argument for regulating use by people under 20, which I agree with. Beyond that, what regulation did you envisage when you said “HOWEVER the use of marijuana does have health risks and would need to be well regulated in any event.”?

      • Huginn 4.1.2

        +1 here, Weka

  5. red blooded 5

    It’s also worth noting that the Dunedin longitudinal study has shown that long-term smoking of marijuana has negative impact on IQ, especially when people start smoking early (i.e., teens). People actually lose mental capability. To be honest, that doesn’t surprise me – any substance that alters your brain function significantly is going to have an effect on the living structure and connectivity that creates thought.

    I have very mixed views about legalising dope (what an apt name…). Yes, I know that alcohol and tobacco cause greater harms (at least in part because they are legal and used regularly by a higher proportion of people), but it’s hard to imagine a legalisation regime that wouldn’t increase use and see a greater percentage of younger kiwis going to extremes, as they do with alcohol. All the talk about regulation is fine, but people can grow their own dope; it’s not hard.

    Arguments about medicinal uses can be answered by creating products that utilise the useful ingredients without the elements that get you high.

    I work with teenagers and boy, you can sure tell when one of them starts smoking dope regularly! They lose energy, lose concentration, disconnect and start to drift. I know that my reservations aren’t fashionable, but they are real. The current situation reminds me of the arguments that were proposed in favour of lowering the drinking age some years ago (under Jenny Shipley, if I remember correctly). “People are doing it anyway”; “Prohibition doesn’t work”; “We need to teach our young how to drink more responsibly”; “This is a health issue, not a legal issue”; “Other countries have lower drinking ages”; “The law is old-fashioned”… Back then, I bought it. Since then (and starting then), I have seen binge-drinking rocket amongst the young people I work with and the students in the university city I reside in. I wouldn’t like to see us rushing into another “reform” that our culture isn’t ready for.

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1

      Familiar wowser arguments, the young are more vulnerable to a lot of things including suicide, operating motor vehicles, general high risk behaviour and drug use. But that is no reason for not pursuing harm minimisation strategies and legalising cannabis for adults.

      I see Westies chowing down on all manner of greasy takeways (can anyone cook anymore? or just the middle classes perhaps) washed down with energy drinks or 2 litre sugar blast soft drinks and shake my head, but I am not going to lecture them.

      Doctors prescribe a lot of perfectly legal drugs that later on prove to be highly troublesome for some people or dodgy in combination with other drugs–statins, some anti depressants, pain medicines. Cannabis has been around for a lot longer and it is indeed strange that “Kronic” and the alphabet soup of other legal highs were allowable but home grown is not.

      • red blooded 5.1.1

        So, what are your “harm minimisation strategies”, then? (And how would they stop people growing it themselves…?) How effective do you think such strategies have been with alcohol?

        You don’t have to be a “wowser” to be concerned about long-term brain damage to young people. And, by the way, I’d rather be a wowser than an addle-brained stoner (or someone who tacitly encourages others in that direction).

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          (And how would they stop people growing it themselves…?)

          The same way as today – where it’s illegal to grow it yourself. In the US states where it has been legalised often only certified growers and retailers are permitted to supply it.

          Also, decriminalisation is not the same as legalisation anyways.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.2

        Familiar wowser arguments

        Important arguments more like. Unless you want to step up and defend how alcohol use and abuse amongst the under 20 crowd has improved over the last 10 years, or how those in their 20s now who grew up in the decreased drinking age regime are using alcohol more responsibly because of it.

    • @redblooded..

      “..Yes, I know that alcohol and tobacco cause greater harms (at least in part because they are legal and used regularly by a higher proportion of people)..”

      ..sorry..no..they cause harm because they are poisonous/addictive/life-shortening/ruining muck..

      ..whereas cannabis is the safest intoxicant of all..plus it has proven healing-qualities..

      ..(people on chemotherapy..vomiting their guts out..here/now/nz today..who cannabis it has been proven would help..they would probably disagree with you..eh..?

      ..and yr brain-drain theory is also a load of horseshit..

      (..as a personal example..after smoking shedloads of pot for decades..i went and did academic studies..

      ..had i been boozing to that degree,for that length of time..i wd be drooling about now..)

      ..and the rest of yr thesis is discounted by that fact that 14 yr old currently have no age-restrictions) tinny-houses..

      ..so..if you think for more than a nano-second..

      ..you will see that legalisation/regulation/taxation..helps/answers yr stated-concerns..

      • red blooded 5.2.1

        “and yr brain-drain theory is also a load of horseshit..

        (..as a personal example..after smoking shedloads of pot for decades..i went and did academic studies..”

        So what? Anyone who has done academic studies should know that one example doesn’t prove or disprove a theory. There’s solid academic evidence for the negative effects of long-term cannabis use on IQ:
        http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/803197

        (Side note; did anyone in your academic institution ever mention the practical benefits of punctuation to you? It’s a courtesy to your readers to let them follow your flow of thought fluently. Not the point under discussion, but something that would make it easier to actually have a coherent discussion.)

        “they cause harm because they are poisonous/addictive/life-shortening/ruining muck..”

        Hmm… It could be argued that in this way cannabis and tobacco are pretty similar. It’s not the actual tobacco that’s addictive, it’s the additives that are mixed in because this is a legal product, sold by companies keen to maintain their market share and keep people coming back for more (just as there would be if cannabis was legalised). And yes, tobacco causes cancer and I am in no way condoning it (I hate it), but smoking dope also causes cancer (although not to the same degree).

        “..whereas cannabis is the safest intoxicant of all..plus it has proven healing-qualities..”
        And so does alcohol. Big deal. We are talking about the balance of positive to negative, and I am exploring some of the negatives that people 20 years behind in terms of understanding of health effects don’t seem to want to mention.

        “..(people on chemotherapy..vomiting their guts out..here/now/nz today..who cannabis it has been proven would help..they would probably disagree with you..eh..?”
        How about you actually read my comment again? Did you miss this bit? – “Arguments about medicinal uses can be answered by creating products that utilise the useful ingredients without the elements that get you high.” Perhaps you’re not concentrating too well. Gosh, wonder why that might be…?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      All the talk about regulation is fine, but people can grow their own dope; it’s not hard.

      Brewing your own alcohol is actually easier -unless you decide to grow your own hops as well.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    Certainly if the argument can be made that the synthetics should be legal – which garnered broad support in the house – then the safer natural product should be legalised immediately.

    But when did an absurdly costly hypocrisy ever trouble our troughers?

    Guess Dunne’s lad has a synth lab not a hydroponics suite.

    • red blooded 6.1

      To be fair, the synthetics law was supposed to be based on the idea that only those that could be proven to be safe should be legal. It seems that they were pretty sloppy in just assuming that only those with the most reported (short-term, immediate) side effects were unsafe, so they were allowed to continue. It took more experience of long-term effects to see that many of these were also definitely unsafe.

      This law veered about from pillar to post because it was based on anecdotal “evidence” and not solid research-based evidence. Some people argue for marijuana to be decriminalised or legalised from a similarly sloppy, ill-informed position. If dope had to pass the “safe for use” test in the synthetics law, I doubt it would make it onto the shelves. Maybe that’s the lens through which we should view this issue…

      • phillip ure 6.1.1

        “.. If dope had to pass the “safe for use” test in the synthetics law, I doubt it would make it onto the shelves. Maybe that’s the lens through which we should view this issue..”

        and even more easily disproved bullshit..

        ..cannabis has been used for thousands of years..

        ..and there was the head of a&e @ hosp on tv the other nite..

        ..noting they never see cannnabis overdoses/patients..

        ..legal-high ones..yes..pot..no..

        ..who should we believe..?..him..?..or a bullshit artist like you..?

  7. karol 7

    So, Hulse is looking like a strong contender for next akl mayor?

    • mickysavage 7.1

      She does not want to and the candidate needs $500k minimum to campaign properly. One problem with super city is that it gives those with money that much of an advantage.

      • Tiger Mountain 7.1.1

        Too true, I supported Minto for Mayor–free public transport and a living wage whats not to like? But he had close to a zero budget so could not get sufficient traction.

      • phillip ure 7.1.2

        are politicians allowed to crowd-source/kickstarter to raise funds..?

        ..if so..and if money is the barrier..only 50,000 individuals out of our teeming-population..who would like to see her as mayor..

        ..they only need to stump up ten bucks each..

        ..and she will be off and running..

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.2.1

          Crowd sourcing is what political donations are.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.2.2

          ..if so..and if money is the barrier..only 50,000 individuals out of our teeming-population..who would like to see her as mayor..

          Which sounds OK, until you realise that only 340,000 Aucklanders voted for Mayor last time around, and you would be lucky if 10% of them donated anything whatsoever to a candidate.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.3

        One problem with super city is that it gives those with money that much of an advantage.

        Yeah the regs need to be changed on this count, big time. It is extraordinarily anti-democratic. Reminds me of Hilary Calvert’s successful campaign down here in Dunedin for DCC councillor. It looked to me like she had outspent her next nearest council (as opposed to Mayoral) rival by at least 2:1.

    • Penny Bright 7.2

      If you want more ‘democracy for developers’ and the Auckland region run by the unelected Committee for Auckland.

      Seems many of you are unaware of the backing of Penny Hulse by the Committee for Auckland former Chair – Sir Ron Carter?

      Read it for yourselves – the following ‘Open Letter’ I sent Penny Hulse:

      24 June 2013

      ‘Open Letter’ from Auckland Mayoral candidatePenny Bright to Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse:

      “Are you a genuine community advocate or corporate /property developer MOUTH PIECE?”

      Dear Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse,

      In the 2010 Auckland Council election, you stood as an ‘Independent’, and quoted the following glowing endorsement from Sir Ron Carter, about your ‘commitment and ability to look after business interests’ :

      http://www.elections2010.co.nz/2010/candidates/penny-hulse

      Commercial Activities

      I think the endorsement of my campaign for Auckland Council by Sir Ron Carter speaks volumes about my commitment and ability to look after business interests. Ron says “Our city needs Councillors who will apply their knowledge and experience for the good of all. A great Council team will be built from those who respect and commit to each other.Penny’s wisdom and consensus style will help create a Council for all Aucklanders. We need her on our Council.”

      Who is Sir Ron Carter:

      In 2010 – Sir Ron Carter was the Chair of the Committee for Auckland:

      http://www.unitec.ac.nz/news-events/ftf/unitec-forum-for-the-future-2010.cfm

      Session 1, July 20th – Why? – What’s the case for creating a super city? Why do we need to change regional governance structures to do so?

      Panelists:

      Peter Salmon, Chairman of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance,
      Bob Harvey, Waitakere City Mayor, and
      Sir Ron Carter, Committee for Auckland Chairman.

      Who are the Committee for Auckland:

      http://www.committeeforauckland.co.nz/

      “Our vision: Auckland as a global city.

      In 2013 we will be an influential voice for all of Auckland, creating cross-sectoral solutions to the city’s issues and

      Focusing on a future beyond the electoral cycle helping New Zealand’s only world-ranked city to achieve its potential for the region and the country

      The Committee for Auckland (CFA) has played a prominent role in galvanising positive change for our city. Our members are all specialists in the city’s issues and fervent advocates for its success. Having contributed significantly to the new shape of Auckland as one city, 2013 is the platform for a re-focused Committee to drive the agenda for Auckland as a world leading destination as well as the welcoming gateway to New Zealand.”

      Membership of the Committee for Auckland:

      http://www.committeeforauckland.co.nz/membership
      “Membership to the Committee for Auckland is by invitation. Members meet quarterly and are invited to be involved in those aspects of the work programme that interest them.

      Members are Chairs of Boards, Directors and Chief Executives

      Corporate Membership annual fee $10,000. ……”

      The current list of members of the Committee for Auckland:

      http://www.committeeforauckland.co.nz/membership/member-organisations

      (It is interesting to note how members of this VERY powerful private lobby group are intertwined with Auckland Council and Auckland Council ‘Council Controlled Organisations’ (CCOs).

      For starters…………….

      Doug McKay Chief Executive Officer Auckland Council

      Brett O’Riley Chief Executive Officer ATEED

      Robert Domm Chief Executive Officer Regional Facilities Auckland

      Mark Ford Chief Executive Officer Watercare

      John Dalzell Chief Executive Officer Waterfront Auckland
      Also, how the Committee for Auckland includes key members of the NZ Property Council and property developers, such as…………)

      Connal Townsend National Director Property Council of NZ

      Evan Davies Chief Executive Officer Todd Property Ltd

      On the face of it, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, your range of ‘community credentials’ appears impressive:

      http://thedailyblog.co.nz/about-us/about-penny-hulse/

      About Penny Hulse

      Penny-Hulse

      Penny has strong links with her community and cares passionately about the Auckland region.

      Her community involvement includes Patron of Waitakere Special Olympics, Community Waitakere Charitable Trust, Henderson Riding for the Disabled, The Trust Waitakere Brass Band, Northern Football Association, Trustee of Swanson Railway Station Trust, Waitakere Anti Violence Essential Services and former Director of EECA Board.

      Penny’s special areas of interest are Climate Change, Sustainable City Development, Environmental Advocacy, Community Development and Youth. …………”

      However, the reality, in my considered opinion, is that you cannot work simultaneously both for the community (the ‘99%’ ), and corporations/property developers (the ‘1%’).

      It is my intention as a 2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate to continue to ‘blow the whistle’, against the the ‘corrupt corporate coup’ which set up the Auckland ‘Supercity’, and those who are serving the interests of the ‘1%’.

      In my considered opinion, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, you are NOT a genuine community advocate – you are in fact, a corporate /property developer MOUTH PIECE, working for the ‘1%’.

      No disrespect – but I shall ‘call it as I see it’.
      (I don’t expect you to like it).

      So be it.

      Yours sincerely

      Penny Bright
      ‘Anti-corruption / anti-privatisation’ campaigner

      2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

      …………………………………..

      (For more evidence linking the Committee for Auckland with Auckland Council :

      Click to access OCCUPY-AUCKLAND-APPEAL-APPLICATION-BY-APPELLANT-BRIGHT-TO-ADDUCE-NEW-EVIDENCE-pdf.pdf

  8. Draco T Bastard 8

    Recognise that the problem of personal drug use is primarily a health issue and that the criminal justice system, especially prisons, only makes the problem worse. Labour will reform drug policy so it is evidence based and has harm reduction as its focus.

    So why don’t they already have a legalisation of marijuana process as part of their policy?

  9. “I have two grandchildren. The idea that they would choose to smoke cannabis or any legal highs breaks my heart,” she said.

    Statements like this always puzzle me. Is it the kind of thing said for the purposes of political arse-covering, or are there really people out there who’ve led such sheltered lives?

  10. felix 10

    You know how stoners always bang on about how much money the govt could make from “taxing” cannabis?

    Do you think they’re going to get a shock when they realise the tax will be added to the price?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      The present price of marijuana is kept high by prohibition by a) artificially decreasing supply and b) having to pay for the high risk of going to jail.

      So, yeah, the tax will be added to the price but the price will drop from a couple of hundred dollars an ounce to something more inline with a pack of cigarettes.

      • felix 10.1.1

        Tobacco is around $40 an ounce including tax. The net price is less than $20 an ounce.

        If you think legal weed is going to be anywhere near that price, you’re probably high.

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          http://www.priceofweed.com/prices/United-States/Colorado.html

          Denver, Colorado $250 an ounce high quality May 18, 2014
          Denver, Colorado $20 an ounce high quality May 17, 2014
          Arvada, Colorado $400 an ounce high quality May 17, 2014
          Denver, Colorado $60 an ounce high quality May 17, 2014
          Denver, Colorado $60 an ounce high quality May 17, 2014

          Yeah, I think I can safely say that it’ll drop to those sorts of prices.

          Really, what else did you think would kill the black market for marijuana?

          • phillip ure 10.1.1.1.1

            the president of uraguay..(a man i am a big fanboy of..)..

            ..has decided to totally take the blackmarket out of the picture..

            ..the gummint will grow it..

            ..and it will be sold @ $2 per gram…

            ..(that’s $56 dollars an ounce..)

          • felix 10.1.1.1.2

            1) Not sure which price you mean by “those”, but I guess not the 400 an ounce one.

            2) there’s no indication which prices are for legal weed and which are for illegal weed.

            3) For that info to be relevant we would need to know what the price was in those areas before AND after decriminalisation.

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.2.1

              They look like spot prices so they’ll jump about a bit and it’s still early in legalisation – there’ll still be a while before prices settle down. Looks to me like the long run average will drop to about $50/ounce.

              There’s no more illegal weed in Colorado so those are legal prices.

              About the same as they were here or very close – around $200 an ounce.

  11. sabine 11

    25 Million in marijuana revenue in colorado

    http://www.thedailychronic.net/2014/32018/colorado-over-25-million-in-marijuana-revenue-since-legalization/

    400 million euros in the Netherlands anually

    http://www.dutch-passion.nl/en/news-and-development/the-dutch-state-earns-400-millionannually-from-coffeeshop-taxes/

    how to regulate the retail of marijuana as is currently done in the Netherlands

    http://www.government.nl/issues/drugs/toleration-policy-regarding-soft-drugs-and-coffee-shops

    why are coffee shops allowed in thenetherlands

    http://www.government.nl/issues/drugs/why-are-coffee-shops-allowed-to-sell-soft-drugs-in-the-netherlands

    Portugal 12 years after the decriminalisation of all drugs

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/evaluating-drug-decriminalization-in-portugal-12-years-later-a-891060.html

    btw. it is legal in germany for a 16 year old to consume wine/beer and rtd., it is not legal to drink hard spirits, but surely it is less good a policy than the regular friday bingedrinking to death circus that goes down in NZ every thusday to saturday.

  12. millsy 12

    I’m not really a big fan of dope but we really need to ask ourselves if we want to keep dragging people through the courts for having a few joints in their satchels or having a couple of cones with their mates on a Saturday night…

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