In the run up to Aotearoa/NZ election (political ‘silly season’) I try to keep an eye on the ‘issues’.. I look at the media & even read some of the blogs. I recently added a comment to a political blog.. another person responded with a rather unfriendly comment & labeled me a ‘Lefty’, to which I replied; I tend to look at the issues (that I agree with) & not which side of the political ‘divide’ they are supposedly on.
Another person noticed my username & that I write this blog.. they added ‘which side of the political divide is Cannabis Law reform ?’ this got me thinking.. here is what I came up with :
1) Cannabis is used by people at all levels & across many demographic groups (adults only ?)
2) Looking at the political parties currently in NZ parliament, there is only one that has consistently had a cannabis law reform policy.. (Greens) deemed by many ‘extreme left’ ? Although I question why, Environmental & Social justice issues are seen this way.
3) Looking at USA politics; the three presidents (Carter, Clinton & Obama) that have even come close to supporting law reform are all ‘Democrats’ (about as close to the left as USA ever gets).. the three presidents that have been the most staunchly anti-cannabis (to my knowledge) are all from the ‘Republicans’ (Nixon, Reagan & Bush snr.) although I believe Ronny maybe have smoked a ‘little reefer’ in his acting days ?
4) In 2009 the NZ Green party, put up a Medicinal Cannabis bill (which failed to pass 1st reading).. the vote was deemed a ‘conscience vote’ (supposedly not along party lines). The only parties that gave ‘broad support’ to the bill were : The Greens (obviously) but also the ‘Act party’ who are deemed by many, to be extreme right (libertarians) ? Those parties in the so-called centre or those claiming to be ‘centre-left’ & ‘centre-right’ only gave partial or no support to the bill. Polls at the time showed about 65% public support for the issue, BUT the bill was defeated when about 70% of MPs; voted ‘NO !’ (several MPs could not separate medicinal from other uses & this was their only ‘rationale’ for their NO vote.. ‘Ignorance is bliss’). Interestingly, a previous Act party leader, went further & declared his support for personal/recreational cannabis use (but this may have been the straw that broke his political back.. gone soon after)
So.. my only conclusion is that whilst it could, most likely be labeled as a ‘left wing policy’ (at first glance).. it is more likely to be politically positioned on ‘the EXTREMES’ (neither really left nor right) !
It seems that those in the ‘centre’ are really only concerned about ‘populous issues’ that keep their voters happy, rather than those that could be good for the country (End the Drug War) !