Cannabis club BUSTED

I see that two proprietors of a Cannabis club (called the Daktory) have been found guilty on a number of ‘offences’. This is actually ‘Daktory 2’.. the original one was raided by police several years ago & shut down. One of the people who was involved in the original, moved to the North & set up another. I read this in a press release:

‘A jury has found the two Whangarei people charged in relation to the Daktory Cannabis Club guilty on drugs related charges.’

‘Last Wednesday (name removed), 61, was found guilty on two charges of cultivating cannabis, one of supplying cannabis and a charge of permitting premises to be used for cultivating cannabis.’

‘(name removed), 29, was found guilty of possession of cannabis oil for supply and supplying cannabis oil. The jury returned a majority verdict on the charge of supplying cannabis oil.’

‘She told the court she had suffered from mental illness for much of her life. She admitted to using cannabis since early 2015 because she found it medicinally helpful.’

‘Crown prosecutor (name removed) argued finding the capsules, cash and club receipts in a suitcase in her tent (her residence) showed (name removed) was involved in supplying cannabis oil. (the prosecutor) said the cases were not about reform or legislative changes but the illegal actions of the pair who he described as deliberating thumbing their noses at the law.’

This just again, highlights that their IS still a zero-tolerance approach to cannabis, for personal use in Aotearoa/NZ. Whereas many OECD countries ARE moving to decrim. or regulate the drug for adults. 😦

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Campaigner & Green Fairy arrested

I see in the news that a renowned Medicinal Cannabis campaigner, turned ‘Green Fairy’ has been arrested & charged with Cultivation & supply of cannabis/extracts to sick patients. She has been in the news previously; her son was the first epilepsy patient to be legally prescribed a CBD oil (Elixinol), unfortunately too little, too late; he passed in 2015. Since then she collected over 17,000 signatures on a petition, presented to parliament, calling for further reform of the drug laws.
I read the following issues in a press release:

‘Medicinal cannabis campaigner (name removed) has appeared in court for supplying chronic pain sufferers and hospice patients with cannabidiol products.’
‘(She) appeared in the Nelson District Court on Tuesday facing charges of cultivating cannabis, processing cannabis and possession of cannabis for supply.’
‘She did not enter a plea and was remanded on bail to appear on November 14.’
‘(She) is known as a “green fairy”, a term used to describe cannabis growers and suppliers who network to help patients on compassionate grounds.’
‘She said then the time patients spent waiting for cannabis-based products, and the high cost involved in obtaining them was unacceptable.’

‘(Her) lawyer (name removed) said the recent prosecution of at least three “green fairies” nationally was a “tragedy for hundreds of sick and dying New Zealanders and their caregivers”.
“Many are suffering from life threatening conditions, debilitating pain and/or chronic auto-immune disorders and report considerable relief from various cannabis products.”
‘(Her lawyer) said a reform around the use of medicinal cannabis was urgently required.’
“Law reforms that came into force last month to facilitate doctors to prescribe CBD products are symbolic, but make no real difference.”
‘While the government had begun to recognise the benefits of medicinal (cannabis), (her lawyer) said there were no products legally available.’
“So people are put in a terrible position of having to access them through green fairies if they can, or grow their own and expose
themselves to charges.”
“They shouldn’t have to break the law to get an effective medical treatment.”

“Instead of supporting this opportunity for economic development, government and our police continue to crush it, prosecuting some of our most vulnerable and sick citizens and the Good Samaritans who are trying to help them.”

I await further news on this case & wish all ‘Green Fairies’.. fair Justice in these matters !

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Synthetic excuses

I just watched a news item about the use of ‘Synthetics’ in rural Aotearoa/NZ. Increasingly this stuff is replacing ‘natural cannabis’. They spoke to a few young guys about their use, these are some issued raised:

1) It is often being used by young unemployed people, to relieve their boredom. One guy said he started using it because, he had failed ‘mandatory drug tests’ & lost his benefit. He said many people use synthetics because they are not cannabis & do not show up in the tests !

2) Aotearoa/NZ still has an effective zero-tolerance law to natural cannabis. The black-market gangs/dealers are now supplying synthetics because it is cheaper & easier to manufacture than the natural plant, which takes several months to grow.

3) The Police still target/focus on natural cannabis (old habits; die hard).. also since synthetics were temporarily, legally regulated in 2013, there is still an attitude, amongst many that they are ‘legal highs’.. they are NOT !

4) One guy said the ‘best effect’ only lasts about 10-20 minutes (natural herb, lasts a few hours) & this means many people are smoking it more often. This is leading to increased numbers of overdose & death.

5) As far as I’m aware there is not one death, directly attributed to ingesting natural cannabis in Aotearoa/NZ (or the world ?) BUT there have been about 20 deaths from synthetics in recent months; AMB Fubinaca, which is much stronger than natural cannabis, being the reported cause. They said that many more people are being admitted to hospital A&E depts. on an ongoing basis.

At the end of the news story the journo, said ‘IF you have any ideas about how to combat this issue, let us know; facebook etc.’ To my mind it is simple & a ridiculous comment he made; Legally Regulate the NATURAL cannabis. Some folks I’ve spoken to, who have tried these synthetics, have said they would probably have never done so, if the natural herb was legally available !!!

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more media frontline

I wrote a recent post, about a recent edition of ‘Media Take’ (maori TV).. I just watched the extended replay; the original show which is then followed by, a forum/discussion on the issues. Here are some comments raised, in the forum:

On ‘Meth/P’ contamination;

1) The Govt. of Aotearoa/NZ have committed to this $multi-million venture, with Govt. social housing.
2) They have been sending in ‘testing & cleaning crews’ dressed in full ‘Hazardous materials suits‘ with breathing masks on.. often to clean or replace carpets & wall linings, that are only ‘contaminated’ with minor traces of the drug, from use, not manufacture/supply
3) It is widely believed that tobacco & flyspray traces are equally or more harmful.. esp. to children
4) The whole matter is being stigmatized & full of fear-mongering & ‘horror stories’

On alternative views to prohibition;

1) It is often talked about moving to ‘decrim.’ more inline with countries like Portugal
2) ‘Offenders’ should be put before a ‘treatment board’ rather than courts, where they can be assessed & referred to treatment (IF required) or other alternatives, including education.
3) It needs to be discussed in a rational manner, not just fear & panic !
4) They mentioned some countries who are deliberately trying to block reforms eg Philippines etc.
5) We need to move beyond the talk to actual action; reform NOW
6) Most treatment centres are only short-term, just long enough to get users OFF the drugs.. with little effort/follow-up or looking into the cause of addiction or abuse

On Maori/Indigenous issues;

1) There is a racist approach by Police; 15% of the general population, but 50% of prison inmates
2) ‘Iwi leaders’ (tribal chiefs) tend to be very conservative & resistant to change on drug issues
3) Reform debates are often dominated by over-emotive, rather than evidence based issues

On Authority attitudes;

1) Police tend to take a fear based approach to DRUGS
2) Often feeding misinformation (devil we know), not supplying actual details
3) It needs to be a wider address, not left up to Govt. to ‘solve it’
4) Govt. tend to sit on the ‘Moral High ground’ rather than look at facts
5) Needs to look into long term effects, rather than short-sighted approach

Other general discussion;

1) Often said ‘Legalise Marijuana’ (natural herb) & it would likely reduce synthetic/meth use ?
2) One person disagreed & said she supported ‘full prohibition’ including alcohol. This was not a popular view with others, who talked about ‘gangsters in Chicago in 1930s’ etc.
3) The current ‘Cannabis drought‘ in NZ; it is often easier to get Synthetics & Meth/P
4) Widely agreed that ‘Prohibition is a failed experiment’ & it is time to move on from it !!
5) Leaving drug supply to the Black-market/Status quo is actually more harmful to society, than regulation

** Most of these comments are widely known & agreed with (inc. by I) BUT there still seems to very little appetite to do more than discuss & debate them Ad Nauseum !

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Industry collusion ?

There is evidence that a group of USA industrialists colluded with the prohibitionist groups & the media, to get rid of ‘their enemy’; the Cannabis plant.. in 1930s. When I look at the world, 70 odd years on, methinks there is evidence that it still goes on, including here in Aotearoa/NZ:

1) Police/courts: are ‘just doing their jobs‘, enforcing the law.. but every time there is talk of drug law reform, their executives are at the forefront, reminding us all, how harmful ‘Marijuana’ is to the society; estimates are that about 30% of their ‘workload’ is drug related, esp. Cannabis

2) Customs: are also just doing their jobs, but ‘on the frontline’ of keeping these ‘illegal substances’ from crossing the border, even the tiniest amounts.. detected by ‘Drug dogs’ at airports. The truth is that the vast majority of shipping containers are not searched; too costly. BUT they still manage to make the TV news when they do find something.

3) Prisons: even though it is clear that only about a third of all ‘drug related arrested’ end up with a prisoner incarceration, Aotearoa/NZ has amongst the highest arrests rates per capita & about 10% of all inmates, at any time are locked up for ‘illegal drug offences’

4) Legal Drug industry: Big Pharma, Big Tobacco & Big Alcohol are intent on ‘protecting their market share’. This was clear, with the main issue, when they only allowed pharmaceutical extracts or synthetic cannabinoids to be regulated or supplied.

5) Media: as in the days of the ‘yellow press’, sensational ‘Drug busts’ or related issues still make the TV & newspaper headlines. The fascinating thing I still see; whenever there is a story about ‘medicinal cannabis’ the TV journos, often call it ‘Medical MARIJUANA’ to catch the public’s attention !

6) Gangsters: this is a contentious issue.. whilst the ‘Gangs of Aotearoa’ are often portrayed as outlaws & drug dealers.. on the opposite side of the law, their massive black-market profits rely on continuation of Prohibition.

7) Politicians: in this country there is a clear divide on ‘drug reform issues’ along the Left & Right. Those on the left, are mostly in favour of Drug reform (esp. Medicinal cannabis), while those on the ‘centre-right’ are NOT. The exception being a party of the ‘far-right’ has taken the libertarian (personal responsibility) view. It is interesting that the parties of the right, often talk up the ‘law & order’ rhetoric, which tends to promote the Status Quo only. There are many rumors that they likely also have their fingers in the black-market too ?

8) Industrialists: there are many industries that still see HEMP as a competitor, they would likely not like to see it expand & cut into their profits: woodchips for paper, biofuels, building materials, plastics etc.

I cannot say for certain that there is ‘Collusion’ between these groups to maintain the status quo in Aotearoa/NZ.. I am certain they are all still benefiting from its continuation. One has to wonder why ‘a small country at the bottom of the world’ is still so staunchly opposed to Cannabis law reform, esp. when almost all other countries (OECD) that we are compared to, have moved forward on this ?! 😦

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one year on RIP

I hear that it was one year ago, that Ms Helen Kelly passed away.. she was mostly renowned for fighting for workers rights (Union Boss), BUT; in the last months of her life, she took the public fight, to the draconian cannabis laws in Aotearoa/NZ. She passed from cancer & used ‘illegal cannabis oil’ to relieve her pain & suffering. This also lead to other ‘well known kiwis’ coming out, as medicinal/therapeutic cannabis users.

One year on & the law reform efforts are still just a trickle.. BUT we all await the outcome of the Election (coalition deals) that could see either the continuation of this ‘NO REFORM Govt.’ or perhaps a new coalition with Labour & Greens (who are both supportive of reforms).. also the first reading of the Green party’s medicinal cannabis bill, is on the parliament agenda.

So; Rest in Peace; ‘sweet Helen’ the fight goes on…. 🙂

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another medicinal herb victory ?

I read that a 56-year-old Multiple Sclerosis (MS)patient, has won her battle with bureaucracy, to use medicinal cannabis products, to relieve her suffering; other than ‘big-pharma’ Sativex. I read the following, from a press release:

‘A Taranaki woman with multiple sclerosis has won a year-long battle to become one of the first people in New Zealand to be allowed to ease her pain with different varieties of medicinal cannabis (MC).’

‘(name removed) found out this week that she had got the green light to source MC from Canada after a lengthy fight to get her application before the Ministry of Health.’

‘While the 56-year-old mother of one’s mind remains sharp, more than 30 years of struggling with the disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord has left her paralysed from the neck down, with impaired speech and vision.’

Includes a comment from her husband;

“It has been 12 months to get it approved and it has been a long bloody journey.”

‘(he) said it had been an arduous process, with mountains of paper work to complete, which was made more difficult because medical professionals were divided on the benefits of MC and it was the first time someone had been granted approval to use different varieties to treat the pain.’

“What (the patient) needs is a more potent cannabis for her to take at night and a less potent variety to take during the day because of the pain issues she has that are attributed to her MS,” he said.

Followed by extracted info. & comments;

‘However after (the patient), who is on a cocktail of pharmaceutical pain relief that created a wide range unwanted side effects, took part in an illegal trial the couple were instantly aware it was the right option.’

“Within two days her bladder stopped spasming and she was able to have pain relief without side effects.”

‘They experimented with different strengths to work out what would help (her) the most.’

‘While the couple, who have been supported by (Director/Advocate) of the Medicinal Cannabis Association, had won the battle they had not yet won the war, (her Husband) said.’

‘They were now working towards getting approval to import the products into New Zealand, at their own cost.’

“Now we have to deal with the government departments to bring it in, for instance customs and police. We’ve got to get an import licence from the Ministry for Primary Industries.”

“People like (this patient) are trailblazers. In ten years’ time medicinal cannabis will be readily available. You will go to your GP, he will write you a prescription, you will take it somewhere and you will get the medicinal cannabis you need.”

“We don’t believe that smoking marijuana does any good for anybody and it wasn’t until we started investigating alternatives and found out there was medicinal cannabis that was being produced by reputable companies and being approved by governments.”

‘He said the Australian government was growing its own cannabis and planned to process it and make it available to the public within 12 months.’

“In New Zealand we’ve got the best growing conditions in the world, this is what I’ve been told. Why the hell aren’t they growing it under licence and processing it here for people like (her) ? The government would make money out of it, it would be self funding.”

* It is a disgrace that the Govt. in Aotearoa/NZ is still sitting on the fence on this issue. They seem to be effectively ignoring the advances occurring overseas, in countries like Canada, Australia, USA, much of EU etc.
I still see & hear, fear-mongering about ‘the harm of marijuana’… WAKE UP folks, this plant does have genuine medicinal/therapeutic value & it is passed time that the barriers were pulled down, by the bureaucracy, that seem to have another agenda ? & allow sick people access to this drug, without jumping through unnecessary hoops & over multiple hurdles to get it !!

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