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.