call for change.. ignored by our Govt.

I just watched a TV interview (current affairs show) with a USA cannabis reform campaigner, from Washington state.. she was in Aotearoa/NZ this week, to attend/speak at a Drug Symposium, in the parliament. She outlined the issues around drug reforms in Washington & other USA states, then stated her feelings on the situation in NZ:

1) Washington has licensed growers & retail outlets, but does not permit ‘home-grow’.. other states have different rules, inc. home growing

2) There is a 37% tax on sales, that has seen the drug retail price, in a similar range to the cost, in the previous black-market

3) The taxes are used for; Education, treatment/rehab. & to assess the way the law is being rolled out

4) She stated that in 2012, after law reform; the arrests for cannabis dropped by 98% which saw Police resources moved to other Law & Order priorities. There is still an issue around ‘stoned driving’ & accidents, associated with it, BUT she stated many ‘offenders’ also had alcohol in their system & it maybe a combination of factors, not just cannabis use ?

5) The arrests in USA were disproportionately; 3 times higher in Afro-American communities, whilst actual use rates were apparently higher in ‘white communities’.. we have a similar thing, here in Aotearoa/NZ

6) She stated that, the majority of people she met in NZ seem to agree ‘It is Time for law change here too !’

7) She said that NZ should look to other countries like; USA states, Canada, much of EU, Aust. & other parts of OECD that have already drug reform, as an example for possible reform here too.. pick the best options/learn from ‘their mistakes’

** The biggest ‘stumbling block’ is; this current Right-wing Govt. who are effectively saying “NO !!” to any real reform, while they are in power. They are even still discussing, whether they will support, the 1st reading of the NZ Green party’s; Medicinal cannabis bill (recently pulled from the parliamentary ballot) ready for introduction to the parliament.. what can we expect from a party that has; at least one ex-tobacco lobbyist & a few ex-cops, in their ranks ? not wishing to sound too CYNICAL 😦

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