Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A man a plan a canal panama!

At last we have a plan. At least there is a plan. It has been discussed and agreed that to change the cannabis laws in New Zealand the first thing we need to do is change the Government.

Last night a group of friendly cannabis campaigners went along to watch the VOTE , a TV show that debates an issue in front of a live audience and requests that the audience vote on a topic.
Last nights topic was, Should we decriminalise cannabis and other soft drugs?

The staunch cannabis crusaders tend to feel that cannabis is not at all like the synthetic versions as cannabis is a real and safe plant . We really just don't know what is in the mixes for sale in dairies. However in being aware of the freedom is choice credo , it would be wrong to favour what we like and ban what others may like.
It also occurred to many of the cannabis-only users that , if we legalise both synthetic cannabis and eventually plant or real cannabis, that the fake product will gather dust on the shelf.

But for change to occur step one must surely be to rid ourselves of the nasty oppressive undemocratic bunch we have in power.

One way to achieve this is to make sure as many non-voters from 2011 get on the roll and vote. I may be wrong but it is assumed , the people who did not vote , did not feel sufficiently engaged to vote. We need these people to vote as it is also assumed , that not many of the un-enrolled voters would choose to vote National.

To change the Government is the first step but we also need to build relationships with people outside of the Cannabis Law Reform Organisations as well.
 Step two follows that to build these new relationships perhaps we need to focus on the harm of prohibition and not focus exclusively on cannabis.
Safe access is the term I want to use. I mean safe access to cannabis but in order to not put people off with all the drug-talk we need to have some educational material printed.

What we need people to understand is, that prohibition of cannabis is costing this country hundreds of millions of dollars each year. this money could be much better utilised by spending it on health care in this country.

Also the those most harmful thing in this country  for those who use cannabis is the punishment. Most psychologists also know punishment does not usually stop a behaviour. Rewarding good behaviour is how we make better and more lasting behavioural changes.

Health problems especially addictions do not get solved or resolve in jail. They get banished underground. Most people with a drug problem use drug within 24 hours of being released from jail.

so to recap what we hope may be the start of a new and workable plan is;
Step two. View cannabis and other drug use problems as a health issue not a criminal matter.
Step three. Focus on the negative aspects of prohibition

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The law is for your use.Use it.

On Monday in Waitakere District Court I received a discharge without conviction for possession of cannabis. I used a lawyer.
I noticed that there were a large number of people also in court the same day. Many had their children or families with them. The lawyers and the court staff were mostly dressed in a way distinct to those charged. Money for nice clothes, suits, high heels and dry cleaning opposed to jeans , trackies, hoodies and jandals.

Money clearly has to be at the root of offending. I felt overdressed in court and yet have used my previous experience to always be well presented before the judge. I cannot understand those who appear who don't, with the exception of those caught and appearing on remand. 
Money is also the problem when it comes to fixing the legal problems. I was able to access money and pay a $2000.00 retainer. I still owe that amount.
Money has brought me better justice perhaps?

Perhaps that although I have broken the law, I respect those enforcing it and the law itself, but am grateful  that the system the courts and the judge has allowed me to the opportunity to continue to challenge  it. 
I have been campaigning to legalise cannabis or at least decriminalise it to reduce harm for over a decade. 
I am a school teacher.
In 2003 I trained to become an alcohol and drug counsellor.
I was arrested with possession for supply but this charge was reduced to the lesser charge possession simplictor. The police agreed to drop the utensils charge.
I am a mother of three and a Grandmother.

I believe the reason I have been able to get a section 106 was due to my need to travel outside New Zealand. The reason for much of my travel is due to cannabis law reform and research to complete the Thesis of my Masters degree on cannabis use. I have been looking at examples of law reform internationally. I am grateful the her honour allowed me to continue.

During the course of my case I also breached my bail conditions and smoked cannabis and the police kept me overnight.

My legal counsel describes this as a "remarkable" result given the starting allegations being a possession for supply. Is it?

I thank the Police for dropping the charges.

As part of my research I am correlating the data of crime statistics in New Lynn and Henderson while the Daktory was open with a before and after study. The reason many States in America are poised to decriminalise cannabis is, due to the lowered alcohol use, when legal,safe, access to cannabis is available. 

The Daktory was sporadically open for over three years. During that time, I collected information and data, when it is finally processed, should show a similar result to other studies where legalised cannabis has been available. It is expected that this study will yield the same results and outcome as shown in other studies. Where there is cannabis legally available from a dispensary. is there a  drop in violent crime due to the drop in alcohol consumption? It would be good to discover.

So perhaps the time has come for us to respect and use the law , the way it is intended and utilise the section 106 discharge in all cannabis possession charges where travel outside this country would be affected. 

After all, If you don't ask, You don't get!
I also had to pay a donation to charity which is the same as being fined. If I was not able to pay the cash it is unlikely I would have been discharged. However I guess If I could not pay a $700 fine I could not afford to travel outside New Zealand. So justice for me, this time, because I could afford it. The first charitable fund I want to establish when it is legal is a free lawyer for all those convicted who can't afford one and a hefty donation from those who can.