I listened to the national talkback station last evening.. from about 10:30 – midnight. The particular show ran for 4 hours (8-12) & the main topic was the latest revelations around ‘marijuana’ (cannabis) & the possibilities of law reform in Aotearoa/NZ in the near future?
Most of the callers, seemed in favour of reform, but the confusion still seems to be around.. ‘decriminalisation’ Vs ‘legalisation’ : many callers seemed unaware that decrim., whilst removing a criminal conviction, could still see a fine given. At least one person seemed to think that legalisation means ‘anything goes’ including allowing children/youth <18 to use it. Herein is the problem: MISINFORMATION still reigns strong !!
Here is a taste of some callers I heard:
1) Well past due.. many police apparently do turn a 'blind-eye' to adults use (discretionary).. Although I hear, that many 'long-termers' still take a 'zero-tolerance' approach
2) take it from the hands of the gangs, market & tax it
3) one lady was totally opposed & seemed to think.. 'the end of the world' would result & mass insanity, she would not listen to anything else
4) one guy was opposed, because he seemed to think it is being used to get rid of Tobacco & replace it with 'marijuana'
5) I rang & recounted my trip to Amsterdam (2001) & how the majority of people I met in the 'coffeeshops' were foreign tourist. The dutch are apparently over it. I said prohibition creates the 'forbidden fruit' that attracts many kiwis to try it.. this led to several callers with similar stories:
6) One lady said she hitch-hiked the 'hippy trail' in the 1970s & had visited Amsterdam too. She also agreed that the best option would be a similar model in NZ
7) One lady said she was born in Holland & had moved to NZ as a child. She said she had been back several times to visit family & in her adult years.. had often visited the coffeeshops too.
8) a retired cop rang up.. he also confirmed that many police saw arresting adults for possession/personal use was a waste of time & resources. He said many police are just 'giving a warning' in recent years
9) one guy said.. its sounds like 'some people think legalisation will mean its compulsory'.. (misinformation) & said he personally thought it would likely make very little difference, as many people already use it illegally anyway
It was interesting to hear several callers say; they thought the biggest problem around Cannabis/'marijuana' had been the misinformation & over exaggeration of its supposed effects & resulting negative issues. The hosts also agreed with this. There seemed to be a general consensus that 'reform is likely on the way' BUT NZ could well be one of the last OECD/western countries to finally do it ! 😦