I heard an interview with the Green MP, whose medicinal bill was pulled from the parliamentary ballot recently. The interviewer being the curator of the NZ Cannabis museum. Here is a flavour of the transcript:
Int: ok.. We’re here with (Green MP), spokesperson for drug issues for the Green party & she is one of the most prominent public advocates for cannabis law reform in the NZ public sphere at the moment.
How does that feel (MP), to find yourself, you know, as a cannabis champion in the media ?
MP: To be honest its been really wonderful to have this opportunity. I think that it’s a great privilege to be a member of parliament, to be a representative. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is being able to stand up for what I believe in & make clear, coherent, persuasive arguments in favour of change, that’s gonna benefit us all. When I first got into parliament I was mainly a spokesperson on transport issues. But to be honest, going back to when I was a teenager in the mid nineties, the issue of drug law reform was one that I was very passionate about & certainly argued with many people about.. So coming to NZ, now 12 years ago, I was very surprised that NZ hadn’t advanced further, in terms of a rational approach to regulating drug use to minimise harm
Int; many people are surprised that we’ve been progressive on other issues, but not this..
MP; & the greens of course for many years, felt that their ability to campaign on other issues like climate change & inequality had been constrained by the perception, that all they cared about was smoking marijuana. BUT of course that was never true, it was all just part of a package of ‘how do we develop a sustainable & just economy & we can’t do that if we have unjust Drug laws’
So I got the health portfolio when (ex MP) stepped down to go lead Forest & Bird last year.. & at the same time the party had been going through a process of updating ‘our Drug policy’ & so I got to be the spokesperson for it.. & its been wonderful & I really, really enjoy it, because I think it something where it’s just so clear, all the evidence backs a different approach & um, I’ve been so fortunate to have my medicinal cannabis bill pulled, drawn from the ballot which means it will get a first reading in parliament. Of course Id rather go further & have full drug law reform, that’s Green party policy. But I could see that within this parliament, there was potentially the scope for a members bill on medicinal use of cannabis to pass & that would make a huge difference to many people out in NZ who are using cannabis currently for medicinal purposes & who are operating outside the law. Vulnerable people who might be subject to being raided by the police, having their plants confiscated, getting a criminal conviction. & I just think this is such an opportunity to help those people.
then followed by;
Int; Well & ya know, if some of these people even knew what modern medical cannabis products looked like, even home-made, ah, I think they’d be a lot more open-minded & they themselves would probably benefit from them, I know (current PM) has back pain, (an advocate) tried to suggest to him that he might use some medicinal cannabis, but of course he doesn’t want to listen to it, but are you ready for the um, Nandor-esq mean images of you puffing on (MP laughs, can’t hear some of comment)
MP; Well I think interestingly, I’m probably a good person to be the spokesperson for this because, um I have a slightly different image, right.. & in a way that challenges people’s assumptions & it makes it easier for me to appeal to people who are of a more conservative.. world view, because I’m obviously someone who prioritises my own health, like if I’m out there cycling around.. drinking smoothies & things. I am a serious hiker, but a different type of serious hike.. I have learned so much about the health benefits of cannabis, like a view it shouldn’t be illegal, that was the wrong way to treat..
Int; now if you haven’t smoked cannabis in NZ, it strikes me that you might not know what ‘spots’ are.. Do you ?
MP; no I don’t know
Int; you’ve never done spots or seen spots ?
MP; no never done spots
Int; So spots is when you take 2 butter knives & you put them on the electric element to heat them up until they’re red hot, then you take a tiny little piece of cannabis bud, & you squish it between the hot knives & then it smokes up & the person whose receiving the spot sort of stands over it with a coke bottle with the bottom cut off, so that all of that smoke is captured, what ever you can find to capture the smoke & then inhale it in, essentially the idea behind that is, if you only have a little bit, because unfortunately for NZ & as we’ve seen with the synthetic cannabis deaths, Cannabis is hard to come by it’s really scarce.. This a way of having a little bit for each person, this is er, a piece of kiwiana, there no other round the world..
MP; so have they always do this in NZ or is it a recent development ?
Int; er, no for at least 30-40 years (MP; Wow) & nowhere else really does it
MP; No 8 wire, that’s so No. 8 wire
Int; Yer exactly very kiwi & the iconography of knives on the stove, which if you search in your mind, you may have actually seen before, you’ll notice it now, that you know about it, is very prominent & so we always seek to educate here..
MP; it’s really important for representatives, to know about these things.. it’s very interesting
The whole interview is likely available on-line ?