I just thought I’d speculate on the alternative views:
Currently in Aotearoa/NZ, we still have an effective Zero-Tolerance approach to ‘Drugs’ (spec. Cannabis, but also Opiates, Stimulants & Hallucinogens etc. etc.). Whilst I do not support ‘anything goes’..as I think many believe ‘legalisation’ means, I do support the idea of a REGULATED legal model, as is occurring in other ‘western’ countries now.
At the moment in New Zealand (aka Aotearoa):
1) ALL the ‘illegal drugs’ mentioned above are ‘arrestable offences’ (even the smallest quantity or even implements of use). This could result in either; diversion (no conviction, for 1st offence BUT paying a donation to a community group), a conviction with a fine, community service OR prison, depending on the amount, circumstances & often whether you are ‘black or white’. Maori (indigenous NZ) make up 15% of the general population, BUT >50% of the prison population !
2) most of the rhetoric spread by politicians, police & other ‘officials’ is still based on the ‘Reefer Madness’ B-S that was discredited, but still deep in the public psyche. “All DRUGS are BAD & just say NO !!”
3) Aotearoa/NZ has according to UN reports amongst the highest levels of cannabis use in the world, per capita. (on par with USA) & Meth/P is on the increase recently.
4) The prisons are ‘bursting at the seams’.. costing about $100k/year per inmate. I believe that at any one time at least 25% are there for ‘Drug-related crimes’. I also read that over 50% of all ‘first offences’ are apparently drug-related.
5) I hear there are moves to give ‘warnings’ for small amounts/personal use or referral to treatment.. BUT this is still in the early stages & ‘at the discretion’ of the arresting officer ?
6) Medicinal use of most drugs, inc. Opiates are on prescription by a GP doctor.. BUT Cannabis is only available in a pharmaceutical extract (Sativex is the only one currently ‘approved’ in NZ) BUT to get approval requires; a GP referral to a specialist, then if all the boxes are ticked.. approval at the highest ministerial level. btw; Cannabis is a ‘Class C’ drug, supposedly the ‘least harmful’ but has the toughest restrictions !!
7) Recently a NZ Treasury report showed, that they have been looking at ‘cannabis issues’; it costs the tax-payer over $400mil/year to maintain prohibition & if regulated, could raise $150mil in tax ! BUT this Govt. still maintain the line, that further law reform is NOT on their agenda.
8) In 2011 the NZ Law Commission released a report into their review of the current: Misuse of Drugs act 1975. The report did recommend some reforms, inc. ‘decriminalisation’ (personal use).. BUT this Govt. just threw it in the ‘TOO HARD’ basket & nothing changed.
9) In 2013 this Govt. introduced/passed the ‘psychoactive substances act’. It regulated Synthetic cannabis & other ‘legal highs’ BUT excluded natural cannabis. After a public outcry.. the act was repealed & these drugs are now sold on the black-market. (along side natural herb etc.)
10) At the recent UNGASS on Drugs in New York, the Assoc. Minister of Health (resp. Drug policy) announced that NZ drug laws are ‘under review’ (as in many other OECD countries).. BUT this Govt. have effectively said it’s a ‘wait & see approach’.. which means Nothing will change in the forseeable future (to my mind).
BUT Aotearoa/NZ could move forward (with a change of Govt. in 2017 ?) & allow:
11) Medicinal cannabis to be prescribed by a GP doctor only. (inc. the Raw herb) as in Canada, many USA states, some Australian states & several countries in EU etc.
12) Terminally ill patients to get an exemption (card ?) to use cannabis (as is happening overseas) without further review
13) Adults only regulated ‘Smoking clubs’ (similar to dutch Coffeeshops etc.) could create employment
14) Adults could be allowed to ‘home grow’ a limited number, of Cannabis plants for personal use
15) Credible education to those underage (R18 ?) as to the REAL truths about Drugs & use.. as opposed to the disinformation (as is still widely pushed in NZ today)
16) Massive reduction in prison population & greater access to treatment/Rehab. for addicts or those with ‘problem use’
17) Greater funding of research & development, into further use of cannabis & other drugs
18) Licensed cultivation of Cannabis for Medicinal & personal (R18) sales/use
19) Diversion of police, customs, courts & prison costs into more important & under resourced alternatives. The resolution rate for ‘break & enter robberies’ in NZ, is currently below 10% !!
20) A happier, fairer society where; intimidation by police, of ‘Druggies’ becomes a thing of the past !
** There are probably other things I could add to these lists.. but a nice round number looks fine to I&I 🙂