Sunday, 14 December 2014

Andrew Little and Labour are wrong about cannabis

A decade ago, a group in Christchurch looked into the issue of drug testing in the work place, and in particular looked at the unfairness of the pre-employment test. A better and more accurate test to prevent injuries would be using a breatha-lyser for alcohol. Not so long ago a more broad based form of drug testing was to take place for all suitable job applicants on WINZ benefits. Again the value of this practice versus the cost and benefits of the exercise see only the tester benefiting. Failing a drug test because you have cannabis or other drugs in your system does not make you a bad employee. Cannabis is a drug that is remains in low non-active levels in the blood system for weeks. This does not mean you are impaired or stoned. It may mean you went to a party last weekend and shared a joint or it may mean you are a regular cannabis user and see it valuable for treating your illness. This is why cannabis is a health issue not a criminal issue for many medical marijuana users in New Zealand. The media is particularly bad at reporting numbers as facts where as they may show nothing. A recent coroners report found that 40% of the quad bike accidents on farms were stoned. This is untrue and cannot be claimed. What the truth is and should be reported as such, that the Coroners report showed some cannabis was present in the system. There needs to be a scale to measure what levels are indicative of use within the past 1 or 2 hours. Last nights cone before bed is not the reason the quad bike caused a death. It may be the rider was not wearing any safety gear or protective helmet. In Canada it has been unlawful to drug test workers as it does not measure impairment and is deemed an abuse of your human rights. I think to claim to be pro-work party that Labour stands for the worker, a policy such as not looking at the decriminalisation of cannabis and it's subsequent law changes is a step in the wrong direction. If you are not moving forward it's maintaining the status quo which is going backward while others move forward. As a person looking at a cannabis charge I am not feeling like a criminal or even a harm doer. My use of cannabis is my choice. As an educated drug counsellor I can describe what safe cannabis use looks like in America where it is legal. I can see no evidence why New Zealand should not develop a legal cannabis industry. When the leader of the Opposition publicly states that the Labour party will not be relaxing any cannabis laws I feel ill. It seems to me there is a lack of compassion and understanding what the rest of the world is rediscovering about the medical uses of cannabis.To be so blunt takes away the hope the a growing number of parents are needing with exemptions to the current law which prevents the use of medical marijuana. Why not allow people to use cannabis. Why not allow sick children to use cannabis for epilepsy under medical guidance? What is the point of not allowing people to grow their own cannabis if it makes them feel they achieve a greater quality of health? I for one cannot understand the position Andrew Little and the Labour Party has taken. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Greens have a very big group of potential voters wanting better. We want to be patients not criminals , How can anyone not understand that?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

When the odds are stacked against you. Don't quit.

I confess to be overwhelmed. In the past month I have suffered a horrendous amount of verbal abuse, threats and extortion which I will not dredge up again, but if you are reading this I think you saw what was posted about my family and myself. I was blackmailed and abused, threatened till I went to the police and finally a move out of Auckland was the safest for myself and the 2 year old I have custody of. I celebrated my birthday In Auckland with a party of 10 and Wing Wah restaurant. Some time after that I was stopped at a check point for a breath test which I passed. When the Police ran my name through the computer the bail conditions came up and they then decided that they could smell cannabis and searched my car. Bingo! I spent the night in a cell instead of letting off my fire works. Even more ridiculous was the search and 10 minute arrest of my daughter's Father . See my facebook competition page next week! At 2 am I was woken in my cell and taken to the interview room by a very junior Jarrod Hood of the traffic police to record my video comment , which was a short No Comment. Is it normal to wake people to do interviews when they have made it clear that they are not going to speak? Thanks Jarrod. The police also found 1800 in 100 bills in an ANZ envelope and seized it. I said that money is borrowed and for my lawyer as you know I am due in court on the next day. To no avail .A very stupid woman police officer was called and she insisted on making a mention of this to CYFs. I am a CYFs caregiver and have gained custody of my grandson through the court, off and out of CYFs care. I am a good parent. In my car at time time of the breath test was my 14 year old daughter and my 2 year old grandson. I think that the police lady must think that a bag of plant material puts children in danger. Um I was gobsmacked and thought this to be excessively heavy handed. I have even written to the Ministry of social development last year(2013) to ask the question under the Official Information Act : How many children of the 3869 children in state care were removed from their home due to cannabis? How many children children have been removed from parents due to cannabis and no other drug use? I am not a P manufacturer or user. I have no gang connections and I am a Cannabis activist and trying to Establish a Green Cross In Auckland. I have no other convictions and am not violent nor do I possess any weapons! I am not a roast buster or a drunk driver. I am a 49 year old Mother, Grandmother and drug and alcohol counsellor. What happened to GODZONE, when I was growing up, my elder brother and sister were uni students and we went to protests about social rights and human rights. I think we have gone backwards. things now are less free, jobs are less well paid and secure. I got new bail conditions to reside in Paeroa and have a curfew. I got a phone call from CYfs wanting to talk about cannabis and the 14 year old. I said she lives in Auckland with her Dad. Then after coming home from the library,(my new office), as I cannot go back to my former business, without breaching my bail. Togo to retrieve my printer and art and pack up my cafe I may be arrested.Twp people were lurking at the bottom of my drive way. I thought crap, who sent these people. They didn't immediately identify themselves but once I had ascertained that they were from CYFs acting as police puppets I got really angry and said ACT professionally. Would it be too difficult for your people to make an appointment? It is professional. Second why not look up my file and see what the circumstances actually are. I felt the menacing intent of hungry and desperate people going after nothing. I then drove down to the local CYFS office with my file, the court documents and the previous social workers report . I have not heard back from them. Not even to return or pick up my documents. But I don't expect much from that lot and am never disappointed. It goes on. The next day soon after 9pm a loud knocking at the door woke me. I looked out the window and saw a police car. Right, I forgot I am such a criminal alone at home in bed and in charge of A TWO YEAR OLD! Bail check. Of course a bail check! There are unsolved murder cases in this town, rapists and murders, child abusers and drunk drivers but I am deemed important enough to visit. Today the news came in the post that The New Zealand Police at the Auckland Harbour Bridge, had contacted the IRD on my behalf to deduct 1800 from inland revenue because I owe exactly the same amount. I owe Inland Revenue a whole lot more than that as i have a student loan of $7219.20. I can only assume that the police are once again overstepping the bounds of their authority. On contacting the IRD and sending them the withdrawal slip from the ANZ i was informed i can have this money returned. The IRD informed the Police actions were unlawful. I am stunned at the malice the Police are showing. I am not bitter about my situation but as Facebook friends, time to be a real friend and show your support for my efforts. I am asking everyone who has been to my cafe to consider how I helped you and now need your help back. I am really optimistic that you people are smart enough to realise the risk I took was for you and not me. It was to push law reform along in this country. If I had been making a profit from my cafe as the police allege I would not be asking you for this money. I have been locked out of my business and chance to earn which is also unlawful as I believe i am innocent till proven guilty.

Monday, 3 November 2014

We don't want to be criminals, We want to be patients.

Drugs! It is a word that has dark connotations for many if not all. Medicine as a word, equates with Health and have positive connotations as a whole. But drugs and medicine, are in many cases one and the same. What creates the different meaning of the word drug is when a drug is abused or misused. A person who is dependent on substances is labelled a drug addict or abuser but not a medicine addict! The language that surrounds the use of drugs in today's society, shapes the opinion of the people in it. About a decade ago I did a literature at Canterbury university on The Public health Message on Cannabis. I researched all articles that the Ministry of health produced and I then broadened my search to new paper articles and also medical journals and some magazines. The consistent message I obtained was there were very few articles. some were not made public. Some were not released and most were negative. There was no articles suggesting that cannabis had beneficial properties. In 1996 The state of California legalised cannabis for medical use under the supervision of a medical doctor and on obtaining a card stating your eligibility to purchase and use medicial marijuana. I went to see this system in action by visiting an amazing generous man called Doctor David Bearman. He is one of the founders of a local youth health services at the university in Santa Barbara called Isla Vista and is a crusader for better public health . I think he is a super star and was friends with the legend the late Jake Herer. Doctor Bearman cited the research of Tod Mikuraya another pioneer in prescribing cannabis for Vietnam war veterans. Cannabis was effective in reducing the reliance on alcohol. Many of the veterans returned with PTSD or shell shock and many self medicated with alcohol. excessive drinking by many soldiers had a damaging effect of their lives and health. Cannabis was a useful tool in reducing the amount the former soldiers drank. it is no secret that cannabis and other drugs are banned in the military but the drinking culture of the enlisted has been a problem. The drinking culture of the Army has resulted in a change. Less drinking is now the norm. Cannabis is a relaxant for many. It can even be a sedative and is very useful for sleep problems. People suffering from over use of amphetamines , speed , cocaine or P have all been treated successfully in reducing the withdrawal symptoms by using cannabis. The people I meet and talk to on a daily basis are in pain. They suffer from mental health issues like depression and anxiety. some are insomninac's who can't sleep. others are reducing their reliance on opioids as inevitably depence and misuse are a common factor in certain types of medication. If someone rolls a herbs and has a few puffs for their fibromyalgia should they be arrested or supported? If some eats a cannabis cookie to help them sleep through the night is that wrong/ If an adult chooses to use a cannabis derived oil for epilepsy is that wrong when it is far more effective than the prescribed meds and without half the side effects? When are people going to get a fair deal on medications from marijuana? Cannabis was a commonly used and available medicine from Chemists last century. It was available as a tincture and for coughs. No one has ever died from cannabis as there is no effective lethal dose known or recorded. But despite all the evidence and all the people in countries around the world New Zealand is in the last century with its stance on the medicinal herb.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

I am not saying sorry.

We have been asking for permission to use cannabis in New Zealand for 40 years. Cannabis law reform groups began in the 1970's in New Zealand, and if measuring how far we have come, it may take a small measure rather than- we are light years ahead of that time. In 1996 California legalised the use of medical marijuana and has never looked back. To date about half of the States in America have medical marijuana and two States have fully legalised all cannabis use. I also feel there should be no distinction between recreational use and medical use because the plant is medical. It may seem like semantics over the word drug but I would agree with both the law makers and the police that we don't need more drugs on the street. As a drug and alcohol counsellor since 2005, I have seen no real change in policing or the drug use in New Zealand. Things seem pretty consistent. I moved to Auckland after the September, Christchurch earthquake (number one) and was horrified at the rate of P use. I certainly don't have the answer! Why I want cannabis legal in answer, to we don't need more drugs in society. But we do need safe and efficient effective and low cost medicines right? One of the most effective medicines in the treatment of drug addiction, surprisingly is cannabis. Cannabis is used by meth heads in America to help the come down. Cannabis was also suggested to clients at drug treatment agencies to be safer than the synthetic cannabis products which were legal but far more potent and mentally addictive than regular cannabis. I know of health workers around the country who had to say to clients you really are safer going back to regular cannabis than using the herbal highs. Thank goodness a group of concerned mothers around the country fought for them to banned. Cannabis works in quite unusual ways compared to many other drugs. The most outstanding thing about cannabis it there is no lethal dose. There are no deaths fully attributed to cannabis globally. It works to stop pain. The easiest way to describe pain is in the brain rather than at the site of the injury. Cannabis works by releasing the chemicals in the brain that both block the pain but really it is working in the brain almost to trick it. I believe that is why is can enliven a person or sedate a person. The different strains of cannabis also can have different effects on the body. The strain Charlottes web is used to make oil that controls seizures. It is for this reason that cannabis is effective as medicine for muscle spasms like MS and Parkinsons. I am now a fully fledged supporter of Green Cross, am running Auckland Green Cross and hoping to complete a scientific study with other members. A week ago my home and place of business was raided. The Auckland Office of green Cross was also raided and a sizeable amount of cannabis was taken. This was to be the first batch of Rick Simpson oil as I have been learning how to make and understand dosage and best use of the RS oil. Green Cross was donated almost enough to make the first batch and patients were waiting. Myself included. I have a long association with cannabis and after studying to become a teacher I then retrained to become a counsellor. I went from standing for the ALCP and supporting NORML, to only wanting to represent medical users. I also had some disappointment with the Daktory. But hats off to Dakta Green, Gizi and all Daktory folk for making it happen first. Sorry tinny houses! NORML endorsed medical Marijuana in 2011 so better late than never boys. I was able to gather most of my research for my Post Graduate study on Cannabis use in New Zealand and was planning to do my thesis on Cannabis Clubs in New Zealand. I would like to remember Stephen McIntyre for his role in opening the first medical club and Green Cross in New Zealand . Sadly I believe police intimidation and using synthetics, as part of his bail conditions caused him to take his own life. I won't be following him. Nor do I want any person to claim I am a roaring lion. I am anything but. I am a trudging mammoth, I am dragging with me the weight of a decade of denial of the efficacy of the plant. But I refuse to give up. The reason I am trailblazing a path seemingly alone and outside the law is because I have been asking for permission for since 1994. I have written to the many different Ministers of Health to allow the use of medical marijuana for myself. I have written on the behalf of others and many others have written to them over the years. We as medical users have taken part in writing submission to a health commissions and Health Select Committee Inquiries and the like for nearly 20 years. The original Green Cross founder Greg Soar wrote to the Hon Peter Dunne in 2002 and detailed the condition of a patient and member of green cross who was experiencing dreadful nausea as an effect of the HIV medications he was taking. I have it in writing that Peter Dunne called medical marijuana and the request for an exemption to allow its use "Garbage". Peter Dunne has held this position for 18 years I think. He is also the person who gave us herbal highs ! Go figure his ethics. There is no way around this, other than to go outside New Zealand for help and guidance and the knowledge I have obtained has allowed me to act in this way. I have had considerable experience and two trips to America to meet and work with doctors. While the police and the law make me a criminal I feel no shame in following what has already been common place in America and it is the commonly used herb in Asia.I know it is safe as it it used most often on children. I want to enjoy my life in a pain free manner. I have a crushed hip and pelvis from a horse riding injury and crippling pain in my feet, diagnosed as plantar fascitis but I suspect it is something else as it has worsened in the two years not resolved. The doctors have prescribed me coedine panadol orthotics, sleeping pills anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication as a result of this condition. I take none of it. I find it difficult to be less mobile than I would like. especially as I have a two year old in tow. But medicine I use and have used for over 30 years is cannabis. No one can convince me it is not right when i see the positive results all around me. I see people getting to sleep after a toke on a bong instead of using alcohol or prescription drugs. Combine alcohol with prescription drugs and there is a low fatal concoction. I am going to court to prove that I am innocent of any crime. Cannabis is a medicine. I am here to help.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The double standard still exists.

I had a really bizarre conversation with an older man the other day. It reminded me that the good old double standards of sexual politics are alive and well today.
I am happy with being single and even not being in a relationship. Due to life commitments celibacy has a become a fact of life.
However recently I came under enormous pressure to give in to this bloke, when it was the last thing on earth I wanted to do.
Even weirder was the conversation we had about sex these days when you are single and well over 40.

He said my wife was fast because she had about 20 lovers? But he added she had also been sexually abused by an uncle/father/brother/grandad.
Um, 20 doesn't seem that many . After all if we go to bars and occasionally engage in casual sex a couple of times a year it adds up after ten or twenty years.
How many girls have you been with then? I asked.
83, he said.
Unfucking believable. So ex-wife is slutty pants and you have slept with 4 times the number.

I decided to lead this conversation astray and when he said what about you, I said none of your business. Nice girls don't tell and gentlemen don't ask.
But since prostitution is legal and felt that he was doing the same thing, as in if I pay for dinner I have really brought you,... I went out on a limb and said I'm still working it out. but perhaps ten thousand men?

For money of course. I sell sex and worked out that if I had worked for the past 11 years that it has been legal and worked a 40 hour week and done about one man an hour my sum was 40 x 52 weeks equals 2080. Over eleven years that would be nearer 20, 000 blokes. Nothing wrong with that eh?

Of course he looked horrified but I just joked and said well sorry but I don't like your double standards. If you have slept with four times the number of people you have less morals than her, or what???

I am not a hooker, never have been,  I wasted my time on cannabis law reform instead of making money.

But I then had a bit of a flash of insight, does being sexually abused, raped or continually harassed for sex mean that you are labelled promiscuous when you are just unable to say no, as past experience has lead to violence?

The research suggests that many sex workers did experience sexual abuse as a child. Again does being violated damage your power or ability to say no?

Rape victims often feel some how responsible that a man raped them and they are pressured not to take him to court or worse send him to jail!
Many victims feel a sense of shame at being raped. Sometimes this is enough to stop them from reporting the rape to the police. Most people know that the process for investigating rape is as invasive if not more invasive than the actual rape itself.

Having sex with a really drunk girl seems to be ok, with many young men.
Telling a girl you will break up with her if she doesn't do it with you is coercive. so is saying another girl will take her place if she doesn't do it.

The Roast buster boys were not unique, just cocky youth with a sense of entitlement.
The men in the media and radio especially seem to belong in past decades with their inane comments about the girls and another prominent spokesperson making fun out of sexual harassment.

 He has daughters I wonder will he set them up for abuse with his stupid comments or be a man and help protect them.

If you are a man and think New Zealand does not have a rape culture, talk to any man who played team sport in the 80's and what went on.
And if you still don't get it, ask a women you know well if she has even being raped or was pressured into sex she didn't want.

That is, if you can handle it.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

My life has had some truly disastrous relationships.

This is not made up and to those who things"did not work out " it was me not you.

I am single at 48 and I think I will be single for a while yet.

It is true I have lost faith in relationships and hope of finding the right one.

I guess the reality and certainty of this hit me on the morning of  September 2010 at 4.35 am when i thought my house was being assaulted by a train and shaken by a giant. It was the first Canterbury earthquake. I was alone with my children , scared and afraid. I didn't have a partner or lover who cared enough to call and I felt for the first time in my life truly unloved. It was time to hug ya self and move on . I couldn't go back to bed, I couldn't sleep and yet I was in slight shock . I made muffins at 5 am as I didn't know how to calm down and relax or stop shaking.

My previous relationship was suddenly ended, in 2008, when I returned from a school-shoe shopping trip on a Sunday afternoon and my live-in boyfriend had disappeared. I mean really disappeared. I waited for a call from him to say he was ok. but it never came. I have not heard from him since. I was so worried and anxious at work that I called the police and asked what do you do, when you  don't know. Has he hurt himself? "Unlikely", the Police officer said.

With greater caution I decided to wait a while before going trough the pain of rejection or loss.

I'm still waiting.

My most recent relationship of sorts was with a very pleasant gentleman from the South Island who I meet in Fiji. It started of with a boozy session and a tropical island and it continued with visits to Auckland and occasional visits South. it sort of ended badly with an argument about cannabis vs alcohol after too much of both.

Why is it that the kiwi male needs to drink so much?
Ok not all, but the fun chaps, who are single, do seem to consume way more alcohol than I want to.

And of course, block your ears  or eyes if you are sqeamish, but at a certain age women and men respond differently to sex than we did in our 20's. Some men seem to want, to never grow any older, (or learn anything new) and tend to resort to little blue pills. So in effect the woody is not just for young men.

It is true though, I did invite a nice fella over, builder, strong and capable all that, and again, too much booze and performance anxiety. Now I want to give up!

I have also being quite aware that there is a P problem in this country and in Particular all the places that start with P, Panmure, Papakura , Ponsonby, Pakaranga etc,  you can find P for sale. This may be urban rumour cos I have also been told it's on the North Shore and out West. I am just pretty mindful that most people will not reveal this sort of thing to you right away. And am watching out .

I have been listening to a play on the radio about some pretty loose relationships, a young women bonking two friends and one is married. I could not be that type of person. sex is not sport but I guess, and am realising it's not love either.

But the thing is, having regular sex with a person can lead to falling in love, even if you don't want to.

I got married, in 1986, my Mother-in-law reckons I was an hour late. I don't think so , but it is true I did not want to get married that day. I was 20. I had a beautiful wedding and my groom had already been married before. I tried to reason with him during the honeymoon that this was not for me , but he told me it was nerves and we would be fine. I did truly love him and the marriage lasted some years and we had a daughter.

It was like wild horse , wearing a heavy bit, and being riden by a very hard rider.
We moved 14 times in seven years, and lived in three countries and in the USA four different States. I was so homesick.

 My boyfriend before this had a IV drug habit and rooted a friend at my first flat warming party, or so i was told.

Another  incredibly unique man used to tell me to settle down
Ha, that's is the worse , I mean the very worst thing he could say to me.
I won't bow down and I don't settle.

I am unsettled by nature I guess.
To settle , to me, means accepting a lesser version of the desire or dream. It means to accept and not to strive.

It rubs me.

I entered another relationship and that was violent. There were fights and drinking and I ran away , again after a number of years. I damaged myself and my daughter by staying. I should have quit the relationship at the first threatening behaviour.

I have been sexually assaulted twice.
Police, not helpful.
Worst betrayal by a female friend ever who said the guy was rapey, after the date, while she baby sat for me. Did she warn me??? NO.
 Did she offer to drive me to the police? NO!
Is she a friend ? NO.

Now I am very careful.

There are some wonderful men out there. I know, they are called husbands and they are the ones who don't have addiction issues. They don't lie or not work. They take the responsibility of having a wife and family and care for them and make them safe.

They are taken and they are valued.

I am no longer really looking for a soul mate, lover, or life partner. I am very busy and am raising a little boy about what it means to be a good man.
That is very fulfilling and without a relationship at this time I am free to be with where and with who ever I want.
I don't have any time for this as I have a very busy life, but this is what I tell myself daily.

I am surrounded by men at work .
I did consider a women , briefly but I am not sure that is for me.
I say love is love and meeting my next companion could be years away or tomorrow.

but I am not unhappy.
 But reflecting on the bad moments clouds the good times. The good and great times are why, I know i will Love Again.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

New Zealand is the best country in the world! Yeah right!

I guess New Zealand is the best place in the world to live if you don't actually live here. It is of course the land of the long white cloud. It is clean and green and beautiful and the air is free. For now. Yes we do live on a postcard perfect island but there is trouble in paradise and scratch the surface you will find anger. That our freedom of speech and personal rights are among the best in the world is very nice, and taken for granted mostly but our health, nutrition and medical care isn't ranked very high at all.

In fact I thought that the front page of the Herald was really rather pollyannaish given that the rest of the Nations news papers skipped this feel good story today to focus on some truthful issues. Marilyn Waring was interviewed on the morning radio news show and she pointed out that statistics can say anything. These sets of statistics excluded many indicators that would show a far lower rating. NZ treatment and access for disabled people is very poor. Does this show figures for women separate to men. The poverty and wealth distribution takes a different form.

What does socially advanced mean ? Gay Marriage and new cell phones? Everyone on Facebook , twitter or the internet? I listened to the Washington Based Think-Tank Social Progress Imperative tell us we are number one for Freedom. Hmm well it does seem that actually our freedoms are fast eroding. The GCSB bill made sure no one has total privacy or secrecy and we are all part of meta data. So we value these things more than health as our rating of 28th is alarming to me. More so when one of our low achievement is maternal death during childbirth. Seriously ? My god! If you are not a mother reading this , has death during childbirth ever been a concern to me? I gave birth unaided in a bathroom and I guess the possibility of either of us dying was high. An ambulance was despatched and we were both given what we needed although no one ever put socks on my freezing feet as it was 22 June and they were frozen.

I think health should be more preventative and less cost and treatments to the elderly. To live a healthy life we need to eat well, sleep well and exercise. If these basics were attended to we would be a more healthy population over all. I mean this is horrible but our suicide rate is really bad, so what is the value of these social advances when we are not dealing well with preventing suicide or obesity for that matter. Right near the bottom.

Our health crisis is coming and more prevention programmes are needed. More education and more active lifestyles are needed. What I think has happened is with life being lived 24/7 too many people are not getting enough sleep, are eating takeaway junk foods and never exercising.  Night shift workers have long been noted for having health problems , insomnia and gastric problems due to not being in sync with the rest of the day night world.  Yes we may be the first on the stock exchange floor when it opens in New York because it is the end of our trading day but should life not be lived at a more enjoyable pace with the emphasis on balance.

It comes down to reflecting the values of the think-tank as their core goal is Social Progress. Sadly if social progress means a mass global culture that means corporatisation of food we are only going to get less healthy. I hope that New Zealanders do reflect on this top rating for a moment to form our own opinion of what makes New Zealand our top choice as we are living here. What do we like the most and what do we want to retain as New Zealanders? What are the core values of being a KIWI and what things are non-negotiable?  Does the TPPA deal make you feel happy and safe with their plans?
 That is perhaps the question to ask ourselves.
Most people don't know what is in it.

But when I read of a survey overseas boasting how we are top in the world here in New Zealand I wonder how that headline looks, when this paper is used for a blanket, on the homeless man asleep on the bench in Avondale.
Thousands drive by every day.

And finally access to electricity  at 100% doesn't really correlate that well with the thousands of customers cut off . So figures and stats are funny things .

Monday, 31 March 2014

Now Peter Dunne has brain fade also.

Peter Dunne has recently returned from some pretty high level talks in Vienna about drug policy and reform. It seems there was a lot of progress made and some countries were even willing to adopt the position that drug use is not a criminal issue , it is a health issue. Actually it's good use of tax payer money to save all that money in the courts. And the other piece of new policy and agreement from Vienna was that the death penalty is wrong for drug offences. There is a big shift away from this. Phew, thank Goodness.

When asked about the other big shift in marijuana law reform in America Peter Dunne was quietly dismissive and when asked about the longer and far greater reforms such as Portugal and Uruguay Mr Dunne defended his position by saying they were at the extreme edge of the spectrum.

When discussing the latest Psychoactive bill on Radio NZ National, he was again rather dismissive of answering any question about the relaxing of the laws affecting cannabis or granting of exemptions under medical advice, seemed to be easily defeated by, his reply, not yet . No.
 Its not likely cannabis will meet the the threshold for low risk , I believe is what Mr Dunne actually said.

How unbelievable that Mr Peter Dunne , (while not a doctor I admit) , has not seen or been able read a single piece of over 20,000 published documents in medical Journals . Has ignored any number of requests from people for help with obtaining cannabis a medicine used for over 2,000 years. I am astounded.

I don't know how to explain to any person I see as a counsellor, or as a person who has obtained cannabis in order to treat a specific illness, generally after consulting with doctor , That it is Legal for You to obtain synthetic cannabis such as K2 kronic or pineapple haze but not a specific strain of cannabis known for centuries to aid sleep or increase appetite.I find it perplexing.

I'm not against the Psychoactive Bill and I am most certainly not against new psychoactive substances being tested but lets start first with the ones of known value, that have extensive existing research such as LSD . The first off the mark and out of the Misuse of drugs act and not into, Pyschoactive Substances bill but it's own Cannabis bill, would be cannabis.

 For two reasons. one it has great medical value and implications.  And it is widespread in America. One of the binding UN agreements doesn't seem to apply anymore. So why pretend any more?

Recreational use of cannabis being legalised and regulated would eradicate many of the substances currently available. If cannabis use was decriminalised. at least for the same amount of time as the Psychoactive bill is allowed to bed in 5 years would seem only fair. Otherwise it seems a grave injustice against the medical users of cannabis who didn't have the means to write a formally and legally worded bill.I wonder who sitting in Parliament took the time to read it from cover to cover?

So all I'm asking, is that we don't settle for less than we deserve. If you do settle for this piece of legislation that is so bad and woolly Ron Mark says you can drive a tractor through it.
I don't want to do that, I just want to swing the pendulum of change back towards cannabis. Perhaps the communities disgust at the legal highs being sold will prompt some more people from the medical profession to speak out. perhaps Miracles will occur and they will get behind cannabis legalisation!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Why I am opposed to over regulation of cannabis

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a drug and alcohol counsellor and I am opposed to over regulation of cannabis. I don't want to see cannabis being a commodity like tobacco and alcohol. As you know the restrictions on tobacco are that individuals are not allowed to grow for sale and the seeds for tobacco are not readily on sale although you can buy them from specialist seed banks like Kings.
Take alcohol, we are allowed to make beer and wine ourselves but not allowed to sell spirits that we make ourselves.
I don't want the lovely cannabis plant becoming another commodity that becomes hands off for the normal kiwi person and the corporations take over.
I don't want to buy my cannabis in pre-rolled packets.
I dont want Pall Mall or Rothmans type of packaging.

I don't want to see cannabis being regulated and commodified like tobacco.

I speak for myself but I have never wanted to purchase any of the existing legal highs for sale because as a drug and alcohol counsellor I am not comfortable with a product that has a number and not a name.

Perhaps it comes down to being open and transparent or the opposite of being closed secretive and exclusive. It seems the legal high market has done a great job in getting a sale of psychoactive substances bill through Parliament with the Minister of Health, the Hon Peter Dunne. But is it great for cannabis?

As far as I know there has never been a single death from cannabis in the entire world. as a counsellor that makes it safe enough for me to approve. I approve it's use both recreationally and medicinally. I think the problem in New Zealand is that the although we state drug use as a medical and health related problem, the average medical person or doctor is not trained in drugs or drug use. That area of medicine is a speciality area and part of  mental health area which has meagre funds and resources. Drug and alcohol treatment is not a sexy area of medicine like cancer or cardiology. We don't get MIR machines. We deal with difficult people with frequent relapses.

 As a result people with drug abuse issues and addiction problems do not see their GP and have the matter dealt with at the doctors.  Our medical model puts those people out of the mainstream and treats them at centres designed for drug treatment. CADS or community alcohol and drugs services. It has stigma attached.

I am not against drug use, hell I know most of New Zealand isn't.  Over 80% of us drank alcohol last year Alcohol is a drug but again labeling makes a big difference when alcohol the social lubricant has not been deemed a drug of addiction but we accept those poor old alcoholics and don't seem to make the connection.  Misuse of alcohol and a genetic component can turn any person an alcoholic.

So my point is that cannabis is low risk , do we need 30 pages of jargon to tell us that?
I want the cannabis industry to be developed by those already in and not a bunch of politicians. I want the money and the control to remain in the hands of individuals and not one.

I think the worst thing that could happen is for cannabis to made legal and illegal to grow sell or trade apart from those licenced outlets. Because as we have seen, this means white men in expensive suits and the rest of us over looked.
Just look at the other big Pharma and tobacco and alcohol cos this may be where we are headed. Its not where I want to go.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Cunliffe and the C word.

Oh Dear despite his confident appearance and new policy for children, (new babies allowance) it seems that David Cunliffe's tradition to be tricky and divisive is on the rise again.

Does he not realise he needs a good coalition partner in Government?
Does he not realise he is sitting in the seat less than a kilometre from west Aucklands former forary in grand scale cannabis shop sales aka the Daktory?

I can't wrap my head around a person who wants to be the leader of this country and yet  who is so so clearly out of touch with the ordinary person and grasping at what he thinks people may want.

Has he been to the New Lynn police station to discuss the Daktory. The Daktory is now closed but it did provide a very valuable service in west Auckland where the old prohibition era remains in such we cant buy alcohol at a supermarket and clearly don't deserve a venue that could meet the needs of both music and alcohol. You know grown adult entertainment. We have the portage licencing trust and I wonder if it's time they considered issuing cannabis licences .

Had the Daktory been sanctioned by higher members of the community I am sure it would still be running today. What it provided was a adult chill space where young and old could come to socialise and NOT DRINK!!!! Why not encourage a pilot scheme?

That is one of the reasons for the legalsisation of cannabis in Denver Colorado. Mason Tvert ran a widely publicised campaign that. Cannabis is safer than alcohol. It is ! Alcohol is the cause of many of the weekend and late night admittances to the emergency room. Alcohol plays a role in many car accidents and death. Alcohol plays a role in sexual assaults and rape.
Alcohol can lead to depression. Yes it makes you feel happy when you are drinking but it has the same low mood later as alcohol is a depressant. It switches off parts of your active brain. Unfortunately this over a long term can lead to seizures and death should alcohol use be stopped suddenly.

I can state that. as an drug and alcohol counsellor,  in my 31 years of exposure to the cannabis scene in New Zealand I have yet to see the type of health issues or crimes associated with other drugs. Alcohol can make many people violent or at least belligerent. I have had clients that i have counselled over a range of issues, the most common being cigarettes and alcohol but also P users , BZP users and other drugs as well. Very few people come to me with problems associated with their cannabis use that are not directly related to the law. The loss of their job, the use being exposed, fear of the police ,and shame are more the types of problems people report. Many have had serious side effects from the legal synthetic cannabis though.

Our pointy heads in the Ministry of health and Parliament voted for fake legal drugs. Um excuse me but how does that solve the cannabis issue. I say issue and not problem because the problem with cannabis in New Zealand is the law. What we want, is what America has.

Safe Access to cannabis.

Safe access for medical or recreational is irrelevant to me because as a drug an alcohol counsellor I can tell you many many prescriptions are also used for recreational purposes. The sale of prescription drugs is nothing new. All substance use is to feel better, improve mood, diminish anxiety or relieve pain. Recreational or medical I'm not the one to state the difference.

One person who also extremely irritates the snot out of me is OLD Prof. Fergusson.
 Please retire! You base your scientific evidence on one survey of a group of while middle class folk from ChCh.I have also heard you say this is the only job you have had for the past 30 years. Looking right into your set of data and proclaiming a TRUTH". Well I suspect that things are slightly different where people are not from chch and also not used to 30 years of being questioned about their life. Your cohort have become rather stale and dated , erm a bit like yourself.

What made me the most angry was the cannabis lowers IQ points. Phew thanks god then, cos some of those really clever people I have met at university and enjoyed a smoke with may have had IQ's off the chart were it not for your causal explanation that cannabis lowers your IQ by 8 points or so! This is nonsense.

On the other side of prof. David Fergusson's magic mirror is the real story, places like America and Portugal, the Netherlands and Uruguay who all see the benefits in legal safe access to cannabis for adults only instead of living in the shadows feeling like freaks and creeps who use the dirty demon weed and  we are discriminated for using a sacred plant.

C'mon Cunliffe get some education and see the world . Liberate the West Auckland from the tyranny of oppression. Let the plant and economy prosper. I'm not after a rockstar economy but wouldn't mind  You could be a leader but I suspect you are yet another also ran.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

2014 the year of the Consumer, Cannabis that is!

I am so happy that Colorado is leading the way with cannabis law reform. The natural progression from Medical Marijuana outlets or dispensaries to the legal sale of recreational cannabis makes perfect sense. As a grandmother and former youth worker at Odyssey house (alcohol and drug counsellor) I would prefer that my mokopuna waited till 18 or older before drinking or smoking or trying any of the mind altering substances. As a researcher of cannabis and cannabis activist I would be happier to see my children with a joint in their hand than a can of beer or glass of wine.

I have watched with interest how America is sorting itself out and ending the prohibition of cannabis and I firmly believe it has mostly been a consumer lead law. By consumer I mean user of cannabis. I make little distinction between medical use and non-medical or recreational use as I believe we use cannabis to feel better= happier relieved relaxed and this in my mind is what medicines do. Marijuana or cannabis has a therapeutic effect for many people.
Many people say it puts them to sleep. Exactly , that is one of the most common uses.

Imagine the drop in prescriptions if this was common knowledge. Zoplicone and other sleeping drugs are addictive and dangerous and can cause death. Cannabis can be used safely in small amounts over very long periods of times. There are hundreds if not thousands of doctors in America writing medical user cards for normal people all across America. The people that use cannabis for any reason are just like you and me.

Marijuana use in New Zealand is widespread and mainstream. Despite there being a dearth of real evidence, studies etc detailing cannabis use in New Zealand nice people use cannabis. The only real depiction of the cannabis user is on TV shows like Police Ten 7 and drugs bust. We only see one side of cannabis users in New Zealand and it is a negative depiction.

I have been to court for cannabis possession and my story isn't likely to be told by the media anytime soon because I plead guilty to possession and was discharged without conviction.  The police want to present the view to the public that a cannabis user is something to fear. A cannabis user is a criminal and breaking the law which the Police are duty bound to maintain.

The judge saw that as a cannabis law reformer I had the need of a passport to travel and research what is happening in other places like Denver and Portugal. This year I would like to go to Amsterdam where cannabis has been discretely sold from coffee shops for 40 years. Uruguay has also passed laws legalising sales of cannabis. How amazing! And where is the harm? What is the danger of cannabis? What do the people fear? Well the users fear the police and the non-users fear the unknown.

That is why I think that 2014 should be the year for the consumer to do a little cannabis education on the others and break down barriers. The truth is, cannabis smokers, eaters or drinkers are no different to anyone else. We tend to be of every age. It is a myth that people mature out of cannabis use. Many many older senior citizens use cannabis daily for aches and pains and just the enjoyment. I have seen a 72 year MD pull on a pipe and know many pension aged cannabis users. Most are the lively and interesting people you meet in daily life, out cycling or swimming. Walking a well loved dog or driving a car listening to a great stereo.

For many people including those that say they don't use cannabis, like the defense force and Government people, all types of people enjoy cannabis for some social purposes and enjoyment of music art or activity. We know what we like and who we are and we need to have a personal uprising as cannabis consumers. I have been over this many times in my head and fail to see one single reason why I should not enjoy a little plant rolled in a paper and passed to friend while watching a perfect sunset. Or to start a day in a well adjusted and happy space instead of my slightly depressive and negative frames of mind in the morning. It sort of goes with the paper and a nice cup of tea.

This is a campaign of strength and individuality. I am not saying rush out and out yourself as a cannabis consumer but stop feeling so bad. I smoke cannabis, so what!

It is not all I am, it is not the only thing I do.
I am sick of people being defined by their use of cannabis and even angered as the frequent depiction of a cannabis user is a no-hoper and criminal type. I am willing to bet that university students are still one of the biggest groups that consume cannabis and no one would be calling that bunch of "young academia" stupid for trying cannabis, except someone even dumber.

 I parent and cook and run a business and garden and read books and watch tv and walk on bushy tracks and paint in acrylics and make chocolates and cup cakes and move house frequently.I enjoy art and going to galleries and I enjoy travel , warm beaches and swimming.
 I have been to school and taught and been to university and learnt.I have been a wife and am still a mother and now Nana. Any person who has ever smoked and enjoyed the experience is unlikely to have been harmed by the experience.

So I am continuing my personal revolution to legalise cannabis and show the people, that nice people use cannabis. I hope everyone who enjoys cannabis can stand tall knowing they are using a safer alternative to alcohol. Safer for your body and safer for society. The biggest harm and the biggest fear , I don't have one anymore.