Back in 2009, I presented the NZ ‘restricted substances regulations’ as a case study of what good drug laws actually look like ‘beyond prohibition’ to the US based Volunteer Committee of Lawyers (VCL) at the time headed up by the King County Bar Association lead lawyer for their drug policy initiative (and Washington State Democrat Senator) Roger Goodman. It was through the KCBA and Roger Goodman that Alison Holcomb was able to move the 2009 state decriminalisation initiative. ($100.00 fine for possession).
What struck me about the recent visit to New Zealand of both Canada’s Ann McLellan and Alison Holcomb (ACLU) from the Washington initiative is the highly memorable observation of both the Canadians and Washingtonians how “erudite, concise and workable” these regulations were and how suitable they were for the management of cannabis (Prof David Nutt).
(And yes I submitted the MildGreen Hypothesis to the Canadian Senate Inquiry led by Senator Claude Pierre Nolan and further to Trudeau’s more recent cannabis policy committee headed up by McLellan via the writers association as a founding director of Educators for Sensible Drug Policy, EFSDP.ORG )
Note: McLellan, as former deputy PM, was also Justice and Health Minister for the time the medicinal cannabis laws were found to be dysfunctional, obsfucational and unworkable AND found three times by Canadian courts to be contrary to human rights and worse, such the Judge rules the laws were without force and effect. Good Lord, they even tried growing cannabis down a damn tin mine…. Now, McLellan is a law adviser to a legal practice that serves multiple big medical cannabis companies. That said, it was refreshing to hear her say on RadioNZ that the existing growers, distributors and vendors must be brought in from the cold ‘with their expertise’.
So why was a symposium held in Wellington at all, when it appears even to the most lay of reformers, the meeting (at participants expense, being $420) it was reduced to a prepared policy announcement by the anointed drug czar of New Zealand that Portugal had the kiwi solution, and the Drug Foundation stepping up and roundly endorsing it as best practice as if magically what Portugal had done (keeping cannabis illegal) was a good idea.
There is a significant number of people who think what happened in Wellington’s Legislative Chamber was outstandingly good. Well I say, bah humbug….
It was a contrived attempt to embed systemic failure, and to have a cannabis solution based on ‘it still being illegal’ so it feeds the treatment industry, fuels endless legal wrangling, impedes health promotion while pretending to do exactly the opposite, and embeds strangulation by over regulation of something so safe that slippers are more dangerous.
For unless Cannabis remains some sort of threat to all and sundry we can keep pretending the Ross Bell’s, Peter Dunne’s and Bob McCrostie’s of this world are arbiters we can have faith in.
New Zealand must come to its senses and arrive at a model that is ours and ours alone. We are not on the drug spillage routes, nor are we adjacent to a market the size of the EU, North,Central or South America or Asia, nor are we bound by what others are restricted by federal laws or proximity to the anal policies of the DEA.
Our solution must be sovereign and not beholden to covenants and treaty that are past their used by date.
What we need here are champions of OUR cause, our needs and our culture….
Sadly, they and who they represent are left standing outside the tent.
Time for a real Hui!