The Dim-Post

April 27, 2010

Join the dots

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 8:57 pm

Three seemingly unrelated stories published on Stuff today:

Government rejects liquor tax hike

Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said alcohol was being sold at “pocket-money prices”.

“A can of beer or an RTD can be bought for one or two dollars in many retail outlets. This is less than we pay for bottled water,” Sir Geoffrey said.

“One of the consequences of alcohol being promoted and sold at pocket-money prices is that we risk losing sight of its status as a legal drug, capable of causing serious harm to others.”

Undercover cops bust huge cannabis growing ring

A massive undercover cannabis operation netting more than 250 suspects on 750 charges will break the cornerstone of the industry, police say.

Police this morning swooped on 35 businesses and numerous residential addresses throughout the country as search warrants were executed as part of ‘Operation Lime’.

The two year operation targeted businesses and individuals responsible for the commercial sale of equipment used in the growing of cannabis.

Those arrested have appeared in district courts around the country today, police said.

Police Minister Judith Collins has tonight congratulated police.

Mrs Collins said today’s arrests would send a strong message to those who tried to produce drugs in New Zealand that they would be caught.

“The message to those who manufacture and sell drugs in our community is that the Government and the police are determined to shut down your activities, and will use every tool at their disposal to do so,” she said.

Sir Douglas ‘richer than the Queen’

Sir Douglas Myers may have cashed up from brewing years ago, but the wealthiest Britain-based Kiwi is now even richer than the Queen of England.

Sir Douglas, who now spends much of his time in London, had his fortune valued at £332 million ($713m) in the latest Sunday Times Rich List, making him the 203rd richest person in Britain, a rise of 12 places over 2009.

Part of a brewing dynasty, Sir Douglas sold his stake in Lion Nathan to Japan’s Kirin Breweries in 1998 and is now semi-retired.

He was knighted in the latest New Year Honours.

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37 Comments »

  1. So … legalise weed?

    Comment by Matt Nolan — April 27, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  2. Magnificent Danyl.

    Comment by garethw — April 27, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

  3. down with (our competitor’s) drugs!! down with drugs (that can be grown at home and thus generate no profits for our multinational brewery)!!

    Comment by nommopilot — April 27, 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  4. Sir Doug’s moves to gain control of his brewery empire caused parliament to
    rewrite the Companies Act so it could not be done again.

    What do we do? Honour the prick.

    GREED RULES.

    The meek shall inherit the earth.

    Gerry Brownlee will own some of the mining rights.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — April 27, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  5. No! I do not think Gerry will allow cannabis plantations on
    what is left of the mined conservation estate.

    Mind you there could be revenue in this.

    So yeah maybe what is lost in excise tax (and gst) on alcohol could be made up by allowing
    cannabis sales. Sourced only from plantations grown ex mined conservation land.

    If the green product is sold at pocket money prices
    Gerry is on a winner.

    Sigh

    Comment by peterlepaysan — April 27, 2010 @ 11:38 pm

  6. Legalize the fucking herb FFS…

    Comment by Rangi — April 28, 2010 @ 2:00 am

  7. Was he knighted for being rich and having the right opinions? Can’t be for anything else. He hates it here, that’s why he ran off.

    Legalisation is a slam dunk, but it’s as likely to happen as a sensible criminal justice policy. It’s all about protecting the chillun’ you see.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — April 28, 2010 @ 5:04 am

  8. Danyl: Brilliant!

    Guy, if alcohol already creates such great problems, do we really want to add more? I’m not sure if you really believe cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, but it isn’t. Also, do we want to legalise herbs traffic police can’t easily pick up? If you legalise it, you get more users. And looking at a country which has done the legalisation, they’re pulling back.

    And my reason to reject legalisation is simply this: with socialised medicine, I pay for the habits of people, so I want to control the allowed habits.

    Comment by Berend de Boer — April 28, 2010 @ 6:29 am

  9. The timing of the marijuana bust was exquisite – you have to wonder if the Commissioner has a sense of humour.

    I particularly enjoyed this from Sir Wowser: “A can of beer or an RTD can be bought for one or two dollars in many retail outlets. This is less than we pay for bottled water,” Sir Geoffrey said.

    Er, Geoff – in this country bottled water is an expensive drink for people with far more money than sense. Of course it costs more than beer, which is a cheap refreshing drink for proletarians. Have you considered drinking the water that comes out of the tap and is already paid for through your rates?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — April 28, 2010 @ 6:56 am

  10. I want to control the allowed habits.

    How’s that working out for you?

    Enjoying paying for your futile war on some habits?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — April 28, 2010 @ 7:09 am

  11. I’m not sure if you really believe cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, but it isn’t.

    It is a harmful drug (particularly if smoked, the smoke is a lot hotter than tobacco), but its not as harmful as alcohol.

    So … legalise weed?

    I’d legalise most of the drugs that are now illegal – if kids could take ecstacy or LSD on a friday night it’d be a lot cheaper, safer and more fun for them.

    Comment by danylmc — April 28, 2010 @ 7:16 am

  12. “I’m not sure if you really believe cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, but it isn’t.”

    Care to elaborate on this point?

    Comment by Hamish Winn — April 28, 2010 @ 7:20 am

  13. with socialised medicine, I pay for the habits of people, so I want to control the allowed habits.

    Can I have olivio spread on my toast this morning please, not as much marmite as yesterday you spread it a bit thick. Thanks.

    Berend is against government intervention in his life except when he is for it!

    Comment by andy (the other one) — April 28, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  14. The harm in smoking weed can be drastically minimised with the use of good equipment, i.e. a vapouriser. Still not great for your lungs, but much better.

    Comment by Tidge — April 28, 2010 @ 7:41 am

  15. “I’d legalise most of the drugs that are now illegal – if kids could take ecstacy or LSD on a friday night it’d be a lot cheaper, safer and more fun for them.”

    A man after my own heart.

    Comment by Matt Nolan — April 28, 2010 @ 7:56 am

  16. “…if kids could take ecstacy or LSD on a friday night it’d be a lot cheaper, safer and more fun for them….”

    I would legalise these types of drugs as well but possibly as R20, because my observation is that taking illegal drugs before you are that age seriously fucks with your personality as you get older. Legalising what is currently illegal, setting the age for them at 18-20 and strenuously tryting to stop 12-18/20 year olds taking or smoking them would do a power of good for overall public health in this land.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 28, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  17. Firstly uterly brillant.

    Now in response to Boer totaly bs comment “Also, do we want to legalise herbs traffic police can’t easily pick up? If you legalise it, you get more users. And looking at a country which has done the legalisation, they’re pulling back”

    Firstly there is no stastical correlation between the legalisation and increased consumption. NONE. The Netherlands as you most probably know has fairly laxed laws (although still absurd as you cannot legally produce – so the proceeds still go in a large part to organised crime) in respect of drugs, however their local consumption rate is significantly lower than the UK and US who have the most stringent laws and have a rate which is about the middle of the road compared to the rest of Europe.

    So yeah total bs.

    Comment by Jeff R — April 28, 2010 @ 8:47 am

  18. I licked one of the dots an hour ago and it didn’t do nothing.

    Comment by CnrJoe — April 28, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  19. I’d go with legalising it. We’ve tried everything else with little result and a lot of expense.
    With careful planning and a little luck we’d screw the gangs’ major source of income.
    Then we could reduce our expensive police force (no chasing gangs and no drug raids).
    Spend the saved money on convincing people not to use the stuff.

    Comment by Roger Parkinson — April 28, 2010 @ 9:20 am

  20. now, I’m a nanny-statist – I believe the government should actually be intervening to reduce the amount of alcohol-related violence. And one good way of doing this would be to legalise ecstasy, because ecstasy doesn’t make people violent, and it reduces demand for alcohol because you can’t use both of them together.

    Comment by kahikatea — April 28, 2010 @ 9:53 am

  21. “you can’t use both of them together.”

    Can’t or shouldn’t?

    Comment by StephenR — April 28, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  22. This post made me laugh out loud, then I got depressed and stared out the window for several minutes.

    Comment by José Barbosa — April 28, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  23. I’m not sure if you really believe cannabis is a relatively harmless drug, but it isn’t.

    The harm index created for the British government, the most comprehensive attempt to define relative harm, found cannabis to be relatively less harmful than both alcohol and tobacco, but more harmful than LSD or ecstasy. Not that anyone is expecting evidence to translate in policy in this case.

    Also, do we want to legalise herbs traffic police can’t easily pick up? If you legalise it, you get more users. And looking at a country which has done the legalisation, they’re pulling back.

    Many countries have rolled back prohibitions on personal use of cannabis, but the test case is Portugal, which decriminalised all drugs for personal use. There has subsequently been a small increase in usage rates (although Portugal has hardly been alone in that), but a significant decrease in drug-related fatalities and other harms. Sweden, which has tightened prohibitions, has seen a small decrease in use, but a significant increase in drug deaths and drug-related crime.

    It all depends what you’re after, I guess.

    Comment by Russell Brown — April 28, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  24. The most significant harm from cannabis use is damage to your lungs that comes from breathing in hot smoke. This can easily be avoided by other methods of consumption.

    Evidence suggests a weak link to schizophrenia – among those members of the population who are already at increased risk for schizophrenia, regular cannabis use can slightly increase the chances of developing it.

    Cannabis use does not significantly impair driving ability. Smoking a few will cause you to be roughly as impaired as someone who is at half the youth blood alcohol limit. IIRC, increased consumption does not result in greater impairment, though I could be wrong on that point.

    Comment by derp de derp — April 28, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  25. “Cannabis use does not significantly impair driving ability.”

    I think that depends entirely on how much you smoke. Given that the most likely outcome if you smoke pot beyond your tolerance is falling asleep, that’s hardly a good thing to happen to you when you’re behind the wheel of a car.

    It’s impairing, that’s for sure. The real questions are “How impairing”, and “How could it be measured”? As you say “smoking a few” doesn’t take you past how bad you can get whilst still under the limit. But “a few” what? Puffs? Nuggets? Joints? Ounces? Of what? Weak outdoor homegrown, or some carefully bred hydro fed superweed?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — April 28, 2010 @ 11:48 am

  26. The most significant harm from cannabis use is damage to your lungs that comes from breathing in hot smoke. This can easily be avoided by other methods of consumption.

    And so too for tobacco. I would have thought the best way to reduce harm from tobacco consumption would be to promote alternative forms of consumption. People could then enjoy their nicotine with relatively low-harm. But then, I’m not a public health expert, and there are probably good reasons why this is a bad idea. I just haven’t heard them yet.

    Comment by George D — April 28, 2010 @ 12:59 pm

  27. George, the conspiracy theorists would probably suggest that low-harm tobacco research has been discouraged because the industry has been denying *any harm* forever.

    My own opinion is that alternatives would not be popular, because the cigarette really is the most convenient way ever invented to get your quick hit, and a big part of the point of it is “I’m the kind of person that doesn’t give a shit if it’s harmful”. Which appeals to the target unsold demographic, kids, and once hooked, they’ve got them for life.

    Also, nicotine is actually highly poisonous. I’m not sure there would actually be a safer way to take it – you could probably kill yourself with a vaporizer, or eating it, because the dosage is really hard to judge. That’s one of the attractions of the cigarette – it’s self limiting – you get your hit fast, and you know when you’ve had enough (personally, in my case it causes violent vomiting).

    Comment by Ben Wilson — April 28, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  28. Also, nicotine is actually highly poisonous. I’m not sure there would actually be a safer way to take it – you could probably kill yourself with a vaporizer, or eating it, because the dosage is really hard to judge. That’s one of the attractions of the cigarette – it’s self limiting – you get your hit fast, and you know when you’ve had enough (personally, in my case it causes violent vomiting).

    I developed a mild addiction to nicotine once, when I was stuck in the back-blocks of Golden Bay with a friend who’d quit smoking and had a large store of gum. It wasn’t particularly pleasant, and I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Poisoning is certainly possible at rather high doses, but that doesn’t stop us from selling alcohol to anyone and everyone without restriction.

    On balance it doesn’t seem like a good idea in the current environment. Maybe if things were to change in subsequent decades.

    Comment by George D — April 28, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  29. Wow, who knows where ACT would be rating right now if they had sold their souls to Garth McVicar and the talkback taliban…

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 28, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  30. HADN’T

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 28, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  31. The dosing of alcohol is clearly understood though, the chemistry is quite simple. And there is a requirement on commercial products to be accurate about the alcohol content. Nicotine doesn’t have any of that.

    It could have it, though – there are alternatives, but they’re really not that popular. You could stick on patches, or chew the gum, or eat nicotine pills or whatever. But people aren’t smoking for the nicotine, they’re smoking for the ritual and coolness. The nicotine just keeps them doing it. Those other methods are mostly used to get people *off* the stuff.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — April 28, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  32. he Netherlands as you most probably know has fairly laxed laws (although still absurd as you cannot legally produce – so the proceeds still go in a large part to organised crime) in respect of drugs, however their local consumption rate is significantly lower than the UK and US who have the most stringent laws and have a rate which is about the middle of the road compared to the rest of Europe.

    Comment by Jeff R

    People seem to think the laws are lax, but they’re not really – you can still go to jail for it. What’s lax is the enforcement and sentencing if you’re caught. Decriminalisation in the Netherlands has achieved a de facto status, rather than a legislative status. Most countries in Europe who tolerate cannabis use have reached this kind of compromise.

    You can grow up to five plants without penalty in the Netherlands, but you have to give them up if you’re caught. Also, for 99 or less plants the penalties are light – the trend is for commercial growners to grow 99 and take the seizures on the chin. There have also been recent restrictions on coffee shops near the borders, because of the habit of Belgians and Germans to nip over and get the good weed.

    Comment by dontsurf — April 28, 2010 @ 2:05 pm

  33. NB: I got the numbers wrong in my last comment about the relative impairment caused by marijuana as compared to alcohol. Misremembered the figures. My bad.

    The USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (part of the Department of Transport) commissioned a series of studies on the effects of marijuana on driving performance. Hindrik W. J. Robbe was principal researcher on all three. He found that consumption of up to 300 mcg of THC per kg of body mass impaired function to a degree that never exceeded the impairment caused by a blood alcohol content of 80 mcg / 100 ml. An interesting finding was that, while alcohol tended to increase driver confidence (i.e. did not cause people to consider themselves impaired), THC had the opposite effect: drivers were more cautious, invested more effort into driving, and rated their performance worse than it actually was.

    Text of the articles available here, here, and here.

    Comment by derp de derp — April 28, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

  34. Interesting studies. They suggested that smoking up to 3 full cigarette sized doobies (I avoid “joint” because it can be confused with the idea of dope mixed with tobacco) led to no more impairment than our legal limit for blood alcohol. I’m amazed. Seems like a lot of dope.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — April 28, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  35. “In 2000 Douglas was principal donor to the Auckland
    University’s visual and performing arts centre,
    named the Kenneth Myers Centre in memory
    of his father.
    He played a leading role in raising funds for
    the Business School project and his personal
    gift of $1 million in 2002 was noteworthy
    for more than its magnitude. It took the
    fundraising attainment over the $25 million
    mark and allowed the University to draw
    down the full $25 million pledged by the
    government to match private sector donations.
    His encouragement of New Zealanders to
    focus on offshore opportunities has also taken
    the form of Douglas Myers Scholarships, which
    offer outstanding Year 13 Kiwis the chance
    to embark on study at Gonville and Caius
    College at Cambridge University, where he
    himself read History.
    Douglas Myers was conferred with an
    honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2005.”

    Comment by Dianne's mum. — April 28, 2010 @ 3:55 pm

  36. Doug Myers is one our countrys biggest and most sucessful drug pushers.

    His donations would have better directed fixing the ruined lives that his drug pushing has caused.

    Fund the Salvation Army …….. Fund womans shelters … ……….Pay for the extra medical staff required at A&E from paydays through the weekend ……….Pay for the operations and rehabilitation that drunk drivers cause and recieve.

    Who’d want a knighthood if they give them to drug pushers like Myers ??????????

    Comment by nz native — April 28, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  37. On driving stoned:
    My understanding from the relative driving impairment between alcohol and THC is that the effects on one’s motor skills, reaction times etc. are quite similar. The key difference is that whilst alcohol tends to also dampen down judgement, THC makes one paranoid. Thus alcohol magnifies its own negative effects, whilst THC minimises them. If you’re going to be impaired, it’s much better to be crawling down the road at half the speed limit, hunched over the steering wheel, taring stright ahead.

    In terms of other health effect, I’ve also heard that one joint is much worse for your respitory system than one cigarette. However it seems blindingly obvious that users have hugely different patterns of consumption. Moderate cannabis user: 1 or 2 joints per week? (That is certainly reflected in my uni experience. Daily mokers are quite rare.) Moderate smoker: half a pack per day (50-100 cigarettes per week). So cigarette smokers consume much much more of their chosen drug.

    Comment by nic — April 29, 2010 @ 4:44 pm


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