I just watched the 1st reading of the ‘Psychoactive substances (Increase penalty for supply/distribution) amendment bill’ in NZ Parliament.
It was introduced by the main opposition party, as a Private members bill & passed with the support of a Govt. coalition party, who also voted against the Green party Med. Cannabis bill recently. It will now proceed to the Justice select committee, for public submission. I heard these issues raised:
1) Unlike natural cannabis (no recorded deaths), ‘synthetic cannabis’ has seen about 20 deaths, in Aotearoa/NZ in the passed year.
2) These synthetic drugs were legally regulated in 2013 & for a while were sold legally, until a public outcry, saw the law amended. BUT rather than just add these drugs to the ‘Misuse of Drugs act’ it was just legislated to bring the drugs into similar line.
3) Under the MODA 1975, Class C drugs (inc. natural cannabis) can see dealers/suppliers go to jail for up to 8 years. Under the other act, it was only 2 years. This bill brings them to the same 8 year term
4) This bill will just add, these drugs to the ‘prohibitionist’ WAR on Drugs/Zero tolerance, that is still raging in Aotearoa/NaZi
5) The ‘Elephant in the room’ is still; WHY don’t they legally regulate natural cannabis ?
* which would likely see these synthetic drugs almost disappear, according to many commentators/experts.
6) The current Govt. are talking about a total review of the whole issue of; Mental health, Addiction & other associated issues this year, which may see this kind of law become redundant. The current act has a 5 year review period which coincides with this review.
7) The bill only covers supply/distribution & does no include, manufacture & importation of the precursors used in these Synthetics.. why ?
Whilst many people, obviously see the WAR on Drugs as the only viable way to ‘deal with drugs’.. this is being seen by increasing numbers as a failed experiment ie ‘Flogging a dead Horse’. Unfortunately the passage of this bill just adds to this tired/outdated prohibitionist mentality; ‘lock ’em all up’.. SHAME 😦