Monday, 26 September 2011

Brave Brash makes a hash of things.

Fullmarks to Dr Don Brash taking a punt on the cannabis vote. He certainly has done his homework, or been reading his old NORML magazines, as he is faultless in his argument especially the waste of police time spent chasing cannabis users.
He is correct that 400,000 kiwis use cannabis anually. That's the entire population of Christchurch (pre Earthquake) passing a joint . One that lasts from Aranui to Avonhead. Imagine, that every citizen having a toke on a joint. And as Brash correctly states ,the police could be better deployed than people smoking a plant being made criminals.As in the act of cannabis smoking , no one is being harmed but the user.

However the two points that Brash did not consider was how his party would react, especially as Don forgot to have the discussion with fellow ACT Party candidates first.
The second point was,did Don stop to consider how he may end up being portrayed for expressing this eminently sensible view without team support.

It certainly did not escape my attention that a great new party slogan for ACT could be ALCOHOL, CANNABIS & TOBACCO.

His most vocal opponent at this stage seems to be his great white hope for EPSOM former Police Minister John Banks. Totally opposed to decriminalisation. "No to drugs !", kinda man.
Somehow both John Banks and John Key seem to be channelling Nancy Reagan, and just say no. Um Has anyone told either of them that programme failed. Drug use reached epic use in the late 1980s and it was a need to reduce the associated drug harms that a new model was developed. It was called harm reduction or Harm Minimisation. The biggest harm or threat to public health was the spread of blood born virus and fear of HIV, it lead to lots of big public health initiatives. Safe sex and  free condoms and a no sharing needles as well as a needle exchange programme being established were examples.

New Zealand is 12,000 miles away from New York, and cannabis is our favourite non-alcoholic recreational substance. We have one the highest rates of usage in the developed world and the highest rate of arrest for OCED countries. We certainly do not need to continue to punish people for having a preference for cannabis. The war on Drugs is a war on people. When any politician ignores 400,000 potential voters they do so at their peril and when , like John Banks they call cannabis users DUMB, we will see who get the last laugh this election.

Don Brash is no poster boy image for cannabis and that is not a bad thing. He certainly adds little glamour or sexuality to promote cannabis. However 61 year old Dakta Green , currently in jail is no looker either. I wonder would Brash and Dakta Green have a deep conversation about cannabis? Who knows . It would be wonderful if some more medical professionals or any professional came forward to support the logic in Dr Brash argument.

Why hasn't some glamorous celebrity or famous author . artist or poet come  forth to support the call for decriminalisation. After all its about time.

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