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.