reform campaign Aotearoa

I see that a lobby group for cannabis reform have recruited ‘Xena the Warrior Princess’ (actor LL) as a media liaison person

I don’t know full detail.. so I wont presume or add more.. BUT Yahoo sez I

We need to break the ‘stereotyping’ that often taints such issues & campaigns; Good start folks

nga mihi ki a koutou

:/ 🙂 🙂 😀 😀

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Heroin deaths Scotland

I just saw the end of a TV news report; Scotland UK has a very high level of Heroin overdose deaths (about 1000 last year). They showed footage of a group huddled under a bridge, preparing to ‘shoot up’ with used needles & other ‘paraphernalia’ lying all around. Heroin is reportedly getting cheaper & more available there. They said that often it is ‘contaminated’ with other substances (synthetic opioids etc.)

They said that the Scottish parliament is looking at adopting new ‘health based Drug strategies’ (as in other countries).. but it can’t come fast enough for these people overdosing.

It reminded me of the movie ‘Trainspotting’ (1980s ?) about this topic, set in Scotland. It was the first starring role for a few current TV/movie stars… with the saying ‘Choose Life.. I chose not to choose life.. I chose Drugs instead !’

They interviewed a lady, who said that they need to stop labelling them ‘Druggies & Junkies’ & other negative stereotyping (as if they are worthless & deserve nothing better) & start calling them ‘people with addiction issues’

This come in light of the Meth/P arrest rate in Aotearoa/NZ now about to surpass cannabis. They have introduced a new bill into parliament here, to further strengthen customs searches (at sea) using Navy ships to ‘intercept smugglers’ bringing in these ‘Class A drugs’ & the precursors used to manufacture them locally, into this country..

I still think that the whole approach to ‘illegal drugs’ needs to move rapidly, from Law Enforcement & zero-tolerance to Harm minimisation & Regulation !

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French ‘Cofyshops’ charged

I read that the ‘Cofyshops’ in Paris have been shutdown & a few people have been charged with breaching the regulations; prosecutors have laid charges against 3 of the staff.. selling cannabis above the THC limit of 0.2%

French ‘anti-drug’ squads searched the premises, that had seen long queues of ‘customers’. They said the shops were ‘importing & offering illicit drugs’ as well as ‘encouraging the use of narcotics‘. The shops were only licensed to sell ‘CBD products’, mostly used for medicinal purposes.

The Govt. has plans to ‘soften penalties’ for cannabis use. Scraping potential prison sentences, to on-the-spot fines, but remain opposed to legalising the drug !

*sounds like ‘The hard edge’ of decriminalisation ?
It seems a bit strange that countries all around are moving toward ‘regulation’ (in some form) BUT France seem still firmly in the ‘Just say No’ camp

**On-the-spot fines; is something that was discussed in Aotearoa/NZ several years ago, but failed to get support from either side of the debate. We await further news on the announced ‘reeferendum’ before 2020 election. :/

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UK talks legalisation

I read that UK Institute of Economic Affairs, is calling for cannabis to be legalised. They are stating the current regime a failure & it is time for law reform; I read these issues, in a press release:

‘Legalising cannabis could be ‘win-win-win’ for UK, says thinktank’

‘Institute of Economic Affairs says criminalisation has failed and reform could create £1bn

‘Britain’s black market in cannabis is worth £2.6bn a year, according to the IEA’

‘(Previous PM; MT) favourite free-market thinktank has called on the government to legalise cannabis, arguing that the move could generate more than £1bn in extra tax revenues every year, as well as savings in health and other public services.’

‘Britain’s black market in cannabis is worth £2.6bn annually, with 255 tonnes sold to more than 3 million people last year, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).’

‘Public resources devoted to seizing cannabis, prosecutions and treating health problems caused by high-strength “skunk” place a significant burden on the justice and health systems, while teenagers find it easier to buy cannabis than alcohol.’

‘It estimates that there are just over 3 million cannabis users in the UK, consuming an average of 82.5g a year. The average cost of a gram of cannabis is currently £10, valuing the UK market at £2.55bn annually.’

‘A commercialised market capping THC levels at 15% would virtually eradicate the black market, according to the IEA. If licensed cannabis made up 95% of the market and it were taxed at 20% VAT plus a 30% excise tax, that would produce annual tax revenues of £690m.’

‘Legalisation would also create new jobs and businesses, generating extra tax, while savings to the NHS and other public services would amount to at least £300m a year, the report says.’

* It sounds like not only is this ‘Thinktank’ saying that the Prohibition of Cannabis has failed to prevent use & harm.. but the black-market, that resulted is actually more harmful to the society. (as happened with Alcohol Prohibition USA 1920s) Also; they see a financial incentive to try to shut down the black-market & create a legal market/Tax take to the Govt.
If truth be known; this is the main driving force that will likely see the end of the global Drug War (follow the money)

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Cracks appearing ?

I see that the USA Federal Drug Admin. (FDA) has approved the cannabis-based drug ‘Epidiolex’ (made by UK company; GW Pharma). It is a CBD-rich extract, used to treat neurological conditions, such as Epilepsy.

There has been a lot of criticism, around the ‘Schedule #1’ branding of Cannabis/extracts at the USA federal level. This scheduling says ‘Most open to abuse & NO KNOWN MEDICINAL/therapeutic use or value’. This has been challenged at the state level; 29 USA states have regulated medicinal use of cannabis.. BUT it was stymied by the Federal Govts. refusal to move on it. This also has recently seen, many other countries (inc. Aotearoa/NZ) move to allow such cannabis drugs, to be approved (in some form).. although still very strictly regulated; ‘Big Pharma’ extracts only in NZ.

I doubt this will actually ‘open the floodgate’ to global Cannabis use.. BUT it should finally ‘officially’ recognise that the plant does have medicinal/therapeutic value. One of the biggest issues so far, has been the almost total block on Research into the drug (by USA & others). This could well be about to change ?

“YAHOOO !!” sez I 🙂

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Drug Policy views

I just watched a clip of NZ previous Prime Minister & UN commissioner, talking about ‘evidence-based drug policy’ (put up by NZ Drug Foundation, March 2018). She says that whilst she no longer has ‘political power to make change’ she does have a voice to raise the issues !

She mentions: Morality based policy, as opposed to more rational/evidence based, Health-based rather than Criminal Justice.. BUT even though, it is widely stated that ‘The War on Drugs has FAILED’.. getting actual traction for change is very difficult, politicians & others seem stuck in the ‘status quo’ rhetoric. She mentions other countries in Europe; Portugal etc. that have moved away from the Zero-tolerance approach & even some who take a ‘turn a blind eye’ rather than actual law reform approach (even supported by Police). I found it interesting to hear Ms Clark says these things.. it is a pity, that more was not done in her time as P.M. of Aotearoa/NZ (over a decade ago), but obviously the mood was not right back then, as it seems increasingly to be now ?

If you want to watch this clip:

It sounded like it was part of a wider range of speeches/debate, but the one thing I did notice.. only about 100 views, so again; it does not seem to be something that is, widely being watched !

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Cannabis Ambassadors

I read that a Cannabis law reform group in Aotearoa/NZ (under the banner ‘Start the conversation’) have recruited some high-profile ‘Ambassadors’ to help champion the cause, including a world-famous NZ Actress (L.L.). I read the following, from press release:

‘Dunedin cannabis law reform activist (Cannabis Museum curator, ‘Abe from Whakamana’) has put together an alliance of well-known New Zealanders in the lead-up to a planned referendum.’

‘(Museum curator) Start the Conversation group has attracted “public ambassadors” including actor (names removed), daughter of late broadcaster (name removed), to spark a national discussion about law reform.’

‘Start the Conversation was founded by (Museum curator) and lawyer and writer (name removed) to “provide the New Zealand public with the full range of evidence and arguments required” for people to make an informed decision in the referendum.’

‘A website had been updated to encourage people, including those who were not avid cannabis enthusiasts or did not agree with law reform, to discuss the issue and reach a middle ground.’

*The website includes a page with comments from some famous kiwis, inc. several Politicians, a world-famous NZ musician, media personalities, cannabis activists & even a retired cop ! (worth a read)

“Now, with the referendum, there’s this renewed impetus, because a lot of people are really excited about the election promises.”;
as part of a confidence & supply arrangement between the NZ Labour party (majority) & the Green party of Aotearoa/NZ (in the new Govt.)

‘The plan for the group was to hold public events in Auckland in August with the ambassadors, and social media events to promote discussion.’

*”Good luck guys” sez I.. I will keep an eye on your future progress !

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