I have never been a sailor but I am beginning to wish I was one.
Instead I have spent the last 15 or so years actively supporting and encouraging all forms of cannabis law reform. And being a parent.
I have stood twice as a candidate for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party , once on the West Coast and once in central Christchurch. In the beginning I have to admit I seduced by the fun of doing cannabis law reform. I love cannabis. I love it!!!!
After all I can see the fun in it and no harm. Cannabis law reform isn't hard core like the Anti aparteid marches of the early 1980's and in particular the anti-springbok tour were scary and often resulted in violent clashes.
I have helped with J days, sold raffle tickets and baked cookies to raise money.FUN.
I have travelled from Invercargill to Kaitaia to meet people and raise awareness .
I even trained as a drug and alcohol counsellor(AOD) and worked a couple of years at Odyssey house to try and understand the cannabis issue from every angle.
I have attended cannabis cups and worked inside the Daktory all in the name of the cause, however today I am wavering in my resolve.
I have been part of NORML and in January I went to California to the Norml (National organisation for the reform of Marijuana laws)
I was in San Francisco representing New Zealand.
I was shocked by how far we have fallen behind the rest of the world in law reform. How can we call New Zealand a just and fair society while ignoring the rights and wishes of the people?
In America today there is medical Marijuana easily available for any person who can be bothered to visit a doctor to get the permit to partake in pot. In fact the concern is, can legal marijuana keep it's counter culture roots or will the big corporations take over?
Gee, I wish that was our only concern.
One of the major areas that cannabis is being used very effectively is in PTSD. This is great for America as it is creating huge numbers of PTSD patients every week. Post traumatic stress disorder is also known as shell shock or battle fatigue. Many former Army and military personnell have endured stress beyond normal limits for long periods of time and alcohol and other drugs are always on hand to manage the problem. Unfortunately they create problems of their own with misuse and over use and dependency.
So after the Daktory I started the High Tea Cafe and now run the information and education centre for cannabis in a cafe environment. I have a small counselling case load but also provide space for those people who want to just discuss the effects of cannabis and discrimination. I also have wall space for local artists and hope to develop an artist in residence programme.
But as to the heady type of activism and law reform that makes me excited I have to say I am sadly deflated. Both by the Government and way the focus has been on psychoactive substances and P and the discussion as recommended by the Law Commission has not really taken place.
This Government and those previous have dodged the cannabis issue. I'm tired of waiting.
The Prohibition of Cannabis in New Zealand, to use a boating comparison, is like a bloody great barge in a narrow canal, it seems impossible to turn around.
By comparison the America's cup Yacht is a boat made of dreams, moving faster than wind. So is, the medical and recreational cannabis law reform movts. in America. Not to mention the plethora of associated products and businesses that support the legalisation and safe access to cannabis.
I want to feel the wind in my hair and the splash of sea spray and not to be bogged down by the pathetic excuse that we can't legalise or decriminalise cannabis in New Zealand for recreational or medical use, because of the conventions made in the US. The same country that made these conventions in the 1970's, now ignores them, along with the Netherlands, Portugal parts of Australia and other countries including Uruguay most recently.( I don't believe anyone in Government or in the Ministry of Health, has seriously looked at the evidence for cannabis law reform for decades, because they don't want to rock the electorate vote boat.)
Commitment and money put the New Zealand boat in the water, to compete with the Americans. We need the same commitment and amount of money to get the wind in our sails for cannabis or drug law reform . Sometimes it feels like there is no wind and the cannabis law reform Movt and becalmed the boat which is in the doldrums.
And it is hard.
It is scary challenging the law, public opinion and the police but we are brave and we are strong.it is expensive and it is often lonely.
Some of us are fearless.
I am hoping that like the energy of the sailing and the excitement of the challenge we can inspire a last rush of power to fill the sails for the law reform movt. and together united as a group we can sail to victory with freedom or "safe access to cannabis" as our finish line or goal.