The Dim-Post

July 23, 2016

When stupidity, cruelty and political logic collide

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:37 am

Stuff has an overview of the various legal options around cannabis – medical use, full legalisation etc – along with Bill English ruling out any reform whatsoever. I’ve been convinced for a while that the only barrier to medical use (we have medicinal heroin, after all) is perceived brand damage. Any politician or government signing off on any kind of cannabis reform dooms themselves to be depicted as stoned pot-smoking hippies in every political cartoonist, pontificating talk-back host and lazy political editors’ sights yea unto the end of days. Imagine, for example, John Key’s frequent and amazingly convenient brain fades and memory lapses seen through the prism of someone who legalised medicinal pot. Not pretty, so it ain’t happening.

33 Comments »

  1. ” Imagine, for example, John Key’s frequent and amazingly convenient brain fades and memory lapses seen through the prism of someone who legalised medicinal pot.”

    Amusing idea, but the people who leap to the ‘stoned out hippy’ stereotype are the commentators who are staunchly in favour of Key. If he did it, it would be visionary modernisation and reaching for the center in a way that Labour are incapable of and all the usual boilerplate pro-Key hosannas.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 23, 2016 @ 8:53 am

  2. …dooms themselves to be depicted as stoned pot-smoking hippies in every political cartoonist…

    That’s what deservedly happened with Don Brash, when he raised the issue of cannabis law reform in the same goofy-hypothetical phoney issue manner that Jamie Whyte later did with incest. Thanks largely to the efforts of Helen Kelly, having real skin in the game has made it a whole different matter. Only a semi-brain dead cartoonist pandering to the lowest common denominator would be likely to give the issue the stereotypical stoned hippie treatment. The last I looked, only the Chch Press still bothers to cultivate one of those.

    Comment by Joe W — July 23, 2016 @ 9:08 am

  3. I suspect you are completely right here. Labour won’t touch this either for the same reason. Still it’ll be a point of difference for the Greens, and if it is a vote winner then the Greens get that glory.

    Comment by artcroft — July 23, 2016 @ 9:32 am

  4. Actually, the Greens are the victims of the most vacuous sort of lazy framing Danyl is talking about.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 23, 2016 @ 10:09 am

  5. I read this morning of Helen Kelly talking about her battle with health and with the cannabis law. She thinks it so wrong that one man should have the say so. Wonder if she was thinking of English or Dunne?
    (Helen said her death is imminent as the cancer has eaten through her spine.)

    Comment by ianmac40 — July 23, 2016 @ 12:06 pm

  6. Imagine, for example, John Key’s frequent and amazingly convenient brain fades and memory lapses seen through the prism of someone who… runs the country.

    Comment by Neil Miller — July 23, 2016 @ 12:59 pm

  7. @ianmac40, I haven’t read the recent stuff, but in past interviews I recall she’s been very specifically annoyed at the system requiring that Peter Dunne make ultimate decisions on medical things. I’m sure she doesn’t have any particular sympathy for Bill English’s role in all of this either, though.

    Comment by izogi — July 23, 2016 @ 1:35 pm

  8. “I’ve been convinced for a while that the only barrier to medical use (we have medicinal heroin, after all) is perceived brand damage” The evidence is overwhelming for diamorphine ( or heroin) as a medicine, the evidence for marijuana very limited. So chuck away the ideas of the capitalists plots and stick to real information.
    “The scientific and clinical evidence to support the medical use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products is still limited. Much of the research to date has been with very small patient groups, used different cannabis products at different doses and/or has not compared the new cannabis treatment against standard treatment.”
    NZ Drug Foundation

    Comment by duker — July 23, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

  9. I think it has actually got to the point where public opinion has turned so far away from prohibition, that any cartoonist/talkback host/ political editor would run a bigger risk of looking out of touch with such a caricature.

    Comment by awbraae — July 23, 2016 @ 5:12 pm

  10. No time to read this, it’s Saturday and I’m off out to purchase a box of Cody’s and some Jager. I might just pick up a bottle of 180 proof Absynth while I’m there.

    Comment by Eltalstro — July 23, 2016 @ 5:46 pm

  11. “She thinks it so wrong that one man should have the say so.”

    I hate to break it to Helen but laws are actually decided by Parliament, not by one guy (be it Dunne, English, Key, Clayton Cosgrove or whomever)

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 23, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

  12. Well, yeah. And Parliament made a law which requires that Peter Dunne (as Minister) make individual case-by-case final decisions on the import of (in Helen Kelly’s case) cannibis oil for her medicinal use. Instead of, y’know, an actual doctor or someone else with relevant qualifications. Here’s one of the places where she expressed her frustration at the system which purports to make these things possible yet only does so with endless frustration for people who are already near death. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/72923212/Helen-Kelly-says-Government-needs-to-get-real-about-medicinal-cannabis

    Comment by izogi — July 23, 2016 @ 7:13 pm

  13. To Duker @ 9.
    Scientific and clinical “evidence” is irrelevant to dying people in agony. The drug foundation needs to butt out.
    I have sat by several close friends and relatives as they died from cancer. It is not pretty.

    The so called pain killers (killers in their own right) do nothing to alleviarte the transition to death (but do they contribute profits? You betch

    Comment by peterlepaysan — July 23, 2016 @ 8:24 pm

  14. “Instead of, y’know, an actual doctor or someone else with relevant qualifications.”

    Ministers are advised in these decisions by people with the relevant technical expertise. Dunne, who lord knows I’m no fan of, isn’t just googling ‘medical marijuana’ and making his mind up based on that. Helen has concerns about the outcome – she wants access to medical marijuana – but she is phrasing it in terms of concerns about the process to make herself seem more sympathetic.

    If the decision was made by medical technocrats she would be complaining about how it was undemocratic, there was no oversight over these people, doctors can’t speak for ordinary people, where are the politicians, etc etc.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 23, 2016 @ 10:18 pm

  15. The alcohol industry will fight it tooth and nail – above ground but also undercover.

    Comment by Robert — July 23, 2016 @ 10:59 pm

  16. Someone is dying in agony, the only possible relief can come from govt sanctioned (ineffectual) prescription poisons?
    Profits are more important than a dying person’s agony.

    This is the brighter future we were promised?

    Wall Street Traders and their cronies have no morality except greed.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — July 23, 2016 @ 11:25 pm

  17. Why isn’t she actually in jail? I mean she is breaking the law openly, she has confessed, why aren’t the police acting? It’s the most obvious case in NZ right now. Have they ceased prosecuting pot cases altogether, or is she untouchable as a public figure with public sympathies given her condition while other less public poor sods move through the courts as usual? Do the police use their discretion here to save their own brand damage if they prosecuted her? (which would tend to undercut Danyl’s point if true, and link to #10’s above). While it would be horrific for Helen to be in jail or under arrest in a hospice at this time (not sure what happens to prisoners who are dying), it would put a rocket under the issue – heck she’d basically die as a quasi political prisoner. Maybe I’m answering my own question as I think aloud – she cannot be arrested, the law cannot be enforced here … because then the law would undoubtedly be changed, and then it couldn’t be enforced, and the industrial-correctional complex we have would provide a few less jobs. The hypocrisy and calculation!

    Comment by Joe-90 — July 24, 2016 @ 9:45 am

  18. “The hypocrisy and calculation!”

    Next time just skip straight to the moral outrage and spare us your internal thought process. God put the thoughts -inside- your head for a reason.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 24, 2016 @ 10:17 am

  19. “God put the thoughts -inside- your head for a reason”

    Wonderful. .

    Comment by Tinakori — July 24, 2016 @ 4:22 pm

  20. Ortvin Sarapuu’s point may indeed be wonderful – but Joe 90’s point is more wonderful.

    Comment by jonothan8Jonothan Cullinane — July 24, 2016 @ 6:38 pm

  21. Ortvin Sarapuu’s point may indeed be wonderful – but Joe 90s is even more wonderful.

    Comment by jonothan8 — July 24, 2016 @ 6:40 pm

  22. … in fact, so wonderful it demanded to be commented on twice.

    Comment by jonothan8 — July 24, 2016 @ 6:52 pm

  23. The only reason Dunne needs to approve individual cases is that there is no drug company that has created a pill, gone through the proper medical trials and provided scientific evidence, then gone through Pharmac. It would be perfectly legal – just as medical heroin is.

    Comment by Gster — July 25, 2016 @ 8:29 am

  24. God-botherers on the dim post – what next!

    Comment by rodaigh — July 25, 2016 @ 8:34 am

  25. @Gstar
    Sativex is a pharmaceutical grade, medicinal cannabis drug which has gone through pharmac and is available by sign-off from the Ministry of Health (not Peter Dunne). Peter Dunne can sign off on non-pharmaceutical grade medicinal cannabis but our Parliament didn’t decide that’s the way it should happen, it was imposed on us when NZ signed up to the three UN conventions on drugs. If you want further reading try
    Boister NB. Decriminalizing the Personal Use of Cannabis in New Zealand: the Problems and Possibilities of International law. Yearbook of New Zealand Jurisprudence, 3, 55-88.

    Comment by mjpledger — July 25, 2016 @ 9:19 am

  26. Wow.

    I can’t believe nobody has mentioned that enormous blue elephant in the room – tobacco lobbying.

    There are TWO Nat MP’s who are former tobacco lobbyists – Chris Bishop and Todd Barclay.
    Both came in as MP’s directly after working for tobacco companies – Phillip Morris Tobacco, in Bishop’s case.

    The tobacco industry does not want to lose market share to legal camnnabis, and has heavily lobbied both Dunne & Key.
    They are also major campaign donors.

    Cannabis, beyond it’s medical applications (well proven overseas, drug trials being done under very careful observation at Otago Uni Med School right now, fwiw, with MS patients & others with muscle spasticity issues), has tranquilising effects far in excess of nicotine, does less lung damage, and is cheaper to produce (grows like a weed! Doesn’t need so much chemical spraying! Easy to harvest & process! Could be contributing $150 million in gst to IRD every year!)

    Helen Kelly isn’t being arrested because she is an establishment figure on the left – it’s purely about privilege, and the Gov’t not wanting to look like arseholes this close to an election, fwiw.
    Many other cancer sufferers have been arrested by overzealous cops with zero compassion. Judges have thrown out some cases, home-d’d others to the care of their wives. Nobody wants to see headlines about mistreated cancer sufferers in Corrections facilities, do they?
    *irony alert*

    Oh, yeah, that happened last weekend, didn’t it, the guy whose cell mate had to clean out the gangrenous tissue from between his toes, because Corrections officers refused to let him have his cancer meds. Yeah, that’s a good look, isn’t it? Crusher is going to wear that well!

    Comment by anarkaytie — July 25, 2016 @ 10:46 am

  27. @mjpledger: No treaty has force in NZ without ratification by Parliament.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — July 25, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

  28. The most important thing here would be to stop wasting police time and resources, so if possession of a certain amount of cannabis was decriminalised, and if it included possession in every circumstance (in a vehicle, at home, on your person), then it would save a lot of time and the police and the courts could do more important work to do with targeting the really hardened criminals. It would still be illegal to be under the influence of this substance, but it would only incur a small fine if you are caught in possession of a joint while driving somewhere, for instance. This small fine would be easily payable, and all the fines would accumulate and this would help the Police budget to remain sustainable year after year, and it would also prevent these cases from going to Court so that the Courts could focus on children who are being abused or having to live in squalor, etc.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — July 27, 2016 @ 11:10 am

  29. “This small fine would be easily payable, and all the fines would accumulate and this would help the Police budget to remain sustainable year after year”

    Do Police retain revenue from fines for anything at the moment, or would this be a precedent?

    Because, for example, there’s quite a lot of effort put in to trying to convince drivers that Police don’t get the revenue of speeding fines in the budget…. for what are hopefully obvious enough reasons.

    Comment by izogi — July 27, 2016 @ 11:32 am

  30. Not directly, but if all these small fines make it into Government coffers instead of money going out of Government coffers in the form of wasted police time and time spent at Court, it stands to reason that the Government will have additional money available to put towards an increased police budget. As Australian officers have always been paid more than their Kiwi counterparts, I think from that perspective that it’s a good idea to decriminalise possession of cannabis so that some of this increased budget can be spent on a pay rise for New Zealand’s police officers. These are the men and women who have been put through training that’s just as rigorous as their Australian counterparts and yet they are paid a lot less and have less weaponry at their disposal. We need more armed officers in New Zealand and we need our officers to be paid for the job they do, not to receive pay based on whatever the Government of the day feels like paying them.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — July 28, 2016 @ 11:58 am

  31. We need more armed officers in New Zealand and we need our officers to be paid for the job they do, not to receive pay based on whatever the Government of the day feels like paying them.

    This is a particularly stupid comment.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 28, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

  32. @ ortvin

    Not quite correct. Ratification is the final stage of the process when papers are exchanged between parties stating that measures to enforce the treaty have been taken. Parliament doesn’t ratify but usually does have to pass legislation to change things like tariffs etc that give the treaty force.

    Comment by insider — July 28, 2016 @ 1:10 pm


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