Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Helen Clark, Drugs and Conversations we are not having.

While I, and others, applaud the logic of an R18 partial prohibition (Helen Clark commenced that conversation over thirty years ago), media and commentators, like Clark, are remiss in pointing out two important things.

1. Cannabis, the widely used drug of choice' despite its illicit status, and its obvious ethical clash surrounding medicinal use, has a safety profile orders of magnitude less than alcohol and tobacco.  Whom so ever may need treatment, from an industry that while it desperately needs some funding it is ever ready to crank up the appearance of a problem so that it seems relevant.... despite little evidence that it delivers much at all.

2. That we are starting a conversation from a base line of zero.  We are not. Indeed it was Helen Clark's Caucus in conjunction with the late Jim Anderton that passed the worlds best drug laws in 2008 that became known as Class D of which visiting Professor of Neurology, David Nutt described as "I wish I had thought of them myself".

Now let the conversation begin....

Blair Anderson
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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Time for a real Hui!

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).  

I went on to celebrate, with Senator Goodman, along with Mason Tvert of SAFER.ORG, the adoption by the local territorial authority of the former gold mining town and highly popular ski resort, Breckenridge (Co) of their defacto depenalisation.  (,_Colorado )

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!  

Blair Anderson
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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Fears loves a Moloch those who sell ambulances, love disaster.

Blair Anderson
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Sunday, February 19, 2017

What happened to J-Day and the MMM?

Someone asked on Facebook where is the information regarding the J-Day / Mayday events for Christchurch.The reason there is no ChCh info is one that has plagued the cannabis movement - factionalism and failure to honour that when good folk initiate action, there is a both a sense of ownership AND responsibility that accompanies that, a duty of care to foster it well, to promote and encourage, to enable and embrace. So when that 'works' (and it did) others who have said, felt,  for whatever reason, that 'that person's initiative' is unwelcome... is not entitled to, or isn't doing what 'they want' them too, then they pile the shit on. So good folk are discouraged, walk away or lose interest. The networks, knowledge, skills, and history are lost too. [This is not just the domain of activists, this happens inside of academia and policy makers as well]

Twenty plus odd years ago, NORML (NZ) wanted nothing to do with the Million Marijuana March as it was seen is irrelevant to them... (it was originally started by friend's of mine in the NY based yippie movement at #9 Blecker St, subsequently fostered by Cannabis Culture and Marc Emery) and it added Christchurch right into the mix as 'kicking' the global event off. That 'status' gave it legs. Prior to that, Christchurch had a number of sigificant 'High Noon' J-Day is May Day protest events that would attract to Cathedral Square, some 700+ attendees (1996) thanks to the exemplar work of the likes of Richard Arachnid, Warren Bryson and others. [Being downwind was a joy.....] the day coincided with the "Cures not Wars" meme, and was supported by spectacular posters that soon carried the major events in NZ message to a global audience of some 300 cities... inclusive of NORML as organisers in those other local kiwi events etc.

[Actually, only Auckland University's AUNorml was ever affiliated to its US namesake. Organisers of the weekly campus smokeins and the largest membership 'club' within the nations uni's, Graeme Watson (RIP) and Kevin Cairns, were both honorary MildGreens and contributing supporters of the Christchurch reform movement, inc ALCP]

The "MildGreens" even brought out to NZ a NORML (USA) exec, board member (Clifford Wallace Thornton) who greatly helped to put some glue between the respective initiatives. (As we also did with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP))

Media took this stuff seriously.... (NORML didnt, until they saw how well it was working)

It is with some chagrin, I can say that the MP who would have likely lead the cannabis reform (having successfully moved prostitution in from the cold), Tim Barnett, who said 'the hotbed of cannabis reform was in Christchurch"....

For me.... As I have done every year bar one (I did it in Wgn) since those early days.... I take personal responsibility to launch the "Cures Not Wars" Global Marijuana March in Cathedral Square before 'marching' to the other square of ChCh, "Latimer" so selected for its connection to beliefs and commitment... (google "Oxford Martyrs")

Missy Griggs : I think J-Day in NZ was so named well before the Jay Day Stazter / NY tie in, but, either way, it is none the less yet another interesting coincidence / zen moment in the never ending story I walk in.

Most any poster I have made regarding J-day has always had the Cures Not Wars embedded.

Blair Anderson
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Monday, February 13, 2017

Informed Consent Informs Pot Policy

So why is it that I can choose  a process some might regard as crucial to health best practice - "informed consent" and reject chemo, radiation, immunology, statins, even Aspro. I can do this and still have the support of my GP. SO why do I need to go begging to a busy, expensive specialist who must then interface with a Health official for something that is (a) intrinsically safe, (b) low cost, (c) supported in science (d) and MY CHOICE?
Indeed when it comes to informed consent, why should I need to do anything just because a Doctor says, or doesn't say....
Ipso facto, what I do, or choose not too is a matter between me and my Doctor. (cf: Rolleston Method)

What if I am sensitive about my health status, for ACC or Health Insurance? Or just because, well, just because, OK!   (see )

Someone needs to read the Ottawa Charter
Blair Anderson
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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Heavy use of Cannabis, How much is too much?

English: Cannabis
English: Cannabis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It would be useful, and instructive to the public who have reservations about cannabis consumption that the parameters of low, moderate and heavy use were indicated.
There are some who believe bogarting a joint is 'too much' ;-) as it indicates a propensity to need to smoke more than socially 'fair', there are some who will smoke in private away from that 'communal' setting we all know so well.... again indicating a need or propensity 'for more'. This moves through the set and setting spectrum where illegal status means consumption 'to dispose of evidence' through to levels where heavy use is defined as 'more than' ten thousand joints over five years as the threshold under which consumption is just moderate.
Each has its own parameters... ranging from 'getting out to lunch' occasionally or more, to occasional in social (and often safe) settings or for some 'topping up' moderately throughout the day.
I suspect the peredontal downside is deserving of more research around the mode of use and set and setting. The gold standard NZ studies (there are two, one longitudinal and one multidisciplinary) are conducted in a context of a heavily enforced prohibition against which four out of five childbearing age adults in the study have used cannabis illegally more than five times.
The illegal status itself leads to significant downsides in outcomes, both mentally, socially and physically. Clearly, there is more to be learned but to discuss health outcomes from this body of research without stating that this research is from a cohort that endures a social set that fosters paranoia, overt and covert prejudice, penalisation, corruption and mistrust is disingenuous if not perverse.
I, along with other researchers (and consumers) argue that whatever downsides do exist they are offset by displacement of other more harmful activities/ingestable's.
Alcohol manufacturers, distributors, marketers and oversight bodies such as ALAC know this. The medical professions reservations about cannabis are at odds with the social burden Alcohol alone contributes.
for more info see

Blair Anderson
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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The re-shuffle, Key, Labour and Pot.

fRoss Bell is right, it was a knee jerk response.. Andrew Little is wrong, he too is locked into the prohibition paradigm. This is not about synthetics (already a name carrying baggage, Aspro is synthetic, and going by these standards discussed here so too is alcohol. ).

New Zealand Labour Party leader is seemingly bereft of short term memory for it was the 'right solution' when LABOUR passed in 2008, an order in council creating an additional class "D" amending the Misuse of Drugs Act, in which to place drugs (primarily used recreationally) that were less harmful than alcohol. [it was the last thing Helen Clark did]

I have cause and reason to believe the impact of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition delegates, Eddie Ellison and Jack Cole made on Health Minister in charge of Drug Policy, Jim Anderton in 2004 and Anderton's following day announcement (on Good Friday  ) of a pending "Class D" initiatives consistent with the pro forma proposal of the MildGreens to the respective Select Committees (some 16 presentations) the most important being our presentation 'how to do this.. by Order in Council' - that was the game changer.

The "Restricted Substances Regulations" were heralded by Professor David Nutt as the best drug laws in the world. Somewhat ironically, Christchurch's sister city Seattle (Washington State) that later passed a a state wide recreational cannabis model lead by then Senator Roger Goodman (who said of our Labour Party lead reg's, they were 'erudite, concise, and workable'). Goodman headed up the King County Bar Association 'health and safety' drug policy advocacy that saw in the Washington State "cannabis Law Reform' with the multifaceted purpose of community safety, wellbeing and protecting young people'. Roger Goodman invited the writer to present "Class D" to the US based annual Volunteer Committee of Lawyers (or VCL) get together in Alberquerque, New Mexico. [VCL was the legislative instrument that famously overturned alcohol prohibition in the USA]

What was more instructive to the Washington harm reduction initiative and informs us where we need to go.... is who was involved!

=================== snip ======================
Professional and Civic Coalition for Drug Policy Reform

The King County Bar Association has strengthened links with other organizations in the professional and civic communities. Nowhere else in the nation has such a coalition of groups been activated on drug policy reform issues to this extent. Among our partners:

King County Bar Association
Church Council of Greater Seattle
King County Medical Society
League of Women Voters of Washington
Loren Miller Bar Association
Municipal League of King County
National Alliance on Mental Illness of Washington
Seattle League of Women Voters
Washington Academy of Family Physicians
Washington Osteopathic Medical Association
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington Society of Addiction Medicine
Washington State Bar Association
Washington State Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics
Washington State Medical Association
Washington State Pharmacy Association
Washington State Psychiatric Association
Washington State Psychological Association
Washington State Public Health Association
The Washington State Bar and Medical Associations, with encouragement and guidance from the KCBA, adopted their own resolutions in 2001 stating official positions on drug policy.

For more information on projects like this at other bar associations, or to start a similar project or committee at your bar association, please visit the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers' website at
=================== ends ==========================

They did this for the kids.....

Look who jumped up for the re-shuffle... Minister of Police, Minister of Corrections, Minister of Health, and Minister of Social Welfare. (tell me that's not the POLitics of POT) I think I should run against the Courts and Justice Minister, Hon. Amy Adams! It might help her speak her mind!

Blair Anderson 
Social Ecologist 'at large'
Christchurch, New Zealand
ph nz  (643) 389 4065   nz cell 027 265 7219
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Kiwi's overwhelming support for herbal therapeutic Cannabis

English: NORML members protest in Lafayette Pa...
English: NORML members protest in Lafayette Park during the annual July 4th "Smoke-In." (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: 'Mary Jane the Cannabus', the vehicle...
English: 'Mary Jane the Cannabus', the vehicle of a NORML cannabis activism group, seen in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New UMR poll shows overwhelming support for medical cannabis law change, says NORML

A new poll conducted for cannabis campaigners shows New Zealanders want the law changed now, says NORML.
“What may be surprising to some is that most people want herbal cannabis sold at health food stores for therapeutic purposes, alongside the Marjoram,” said Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML NZ Inc).
The poll was conducted by UMR for Start the Conversation from 29th July to 17th August 2016.

The poll will be used by the group, which includes representatives of NORML, to decide whether to proceed with organising a cannabis law reform referendum to coincide with next year’s general election.


76 per cent agreed when asked “Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that patients have safe legal access to affordable medicinal cannabisand cannabis products when prescribed by a licensed doctor?”
Only 12 per cent were opposed to this law change – including just 15% of National Party voters – with a further 12 per cent undecided.
URM’s previous cannabis poll in March 2016 reported that 72% of respondents agreed with “the use of marijuana being allowed for medical purposes”.


In the latest poll, respondents were also asked “Should Parliament change the laws of New Zealand so that natural cannabis and medicinal cannabis products are treated as herbal remedies when used therapeutically?”

This was supported by 61 per cent of respondents, opposed by 24 per cent, with 15 per cent undecided.

“Support for medicinal cannabis does not collapse when the proposed model treats medicinal cannabis like a herbal remedy rather than a pharmaceutical,” Chris Fowlie noted. “Four out of five supporters of a strict approach that requires a doctor’s prescription would also support having medicinal cannabis sold as a herbal remedy at health food stores.”
Mr Fowlie had a hand in formulating the questions, and says the two variations where chosen to test support for medicinal cannabis law reform and to see what would be supported in a referendum.

Mr Fowlie says he was “not surprised” there was such strong support for an approach that would classify natural medicinal cannabis as a herbal remedy, allowing it to be obtained from health food stores, as this was the sort of thing he was hearing on the street and in social media.

“This depth of support was also shown in the recent NZ Drug Foundation Curia pollwhere support for medicinal cannabis when limited to patients with a terminal illness was 82 per cent, and only dropped three per cent if it was allowed for “any medical condition””, added Mr Fowlie.

“The recent Curia poll revealed 65 per cent want cannabis either decriminalised or made legal. This new UMR poll shows a healthy majority want natural cannabis treated as a herbal remedy, and made easily available at health food stores, when it is used therapeutically.”

“John Key thinks cannabis law reform sends the wrong messageyet NORML’s message is getting through. Most New Zealanders now know cannabis is not only safer than alcohol but is also an effective remedy for a variety of conditions, and they want the law to change.” “The message John Key needs to hear is that very few people support the status quo, including National Party voters, and he ignores them at his own peril,” said Mr Fowlie.
  • Chris Fowlie is NORML’s spokesperson and a candidate for the Waitakere Licensing Trust in this year’s local body elections. He is running on a ticket of “Regulate Cannabis Like Alcohol”, and says under the current law the Trust could run Cannabis Social Clubs for medicinal and/or research purposes. As with West Auckland liquor sales, any profits would be returned to the community.
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