Please read the DISCLAIMER first.
Okay, so that was full of nothing. 🙂
The reason I’m endorsing Grant Keinzley for Taranaki-King Country is because he co-authored (with Tim Kibblewhite) a Review of New Zealand’s Drug Policy. It’s an Internet Party draft policy document. And it’s good.
Here are the document’s seven policy proposals.
Oh, wait … looks like someone pressed the history eraser button. 🙁 Subsection 4.2 and all of section 5 (containing the policy proposals) seem to have mysteriously disappeared! What were they?
Lucky that I saved a previous edit of the document. 🙂
5.1 Implement a Rehabilitative Approach towards Drug Addiction
The Internet Party will focus on viewing drug addiction as a health issue and not a criminal issue. The Internet Party will support legislation that reflects this. Part of this approach will be the implementation of drug courts to deal with possession issues.
5.2 Decriminalise the Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes
The Internet Party will propose legislation to decriminalise the possession, cultivation and personal use of prescribed small amounts of natural cannabis for medicinal uses. Large-scale (to be determined) cultivation, possession and sale of natural cannabis will remain illegal. Details of the new law will be drafted following research into global best practice and the study of successful models in Europe and the US.
5.3 Set up an Office for Medicinal Cannabis
Following decriminalisation, an office for medicinal cannabis will be set up along the lines of that operating in the Netherlands, with the objective of controlling and maintaining high standards for the supply and use of natural cannabis for therapeutic purposes.
5.4 Fund Research and Clinical Trials
New Zealand research into the efficacy and safety of medicinal cannabis and cannabis-based therapeutic medicines will be funded with a view to speeding up the availability of proven remedies. Clinical trials to determine the benefits of medicinal cannabis and cannabis-based medicines will be funded, but only if the veracity of clinical trials undertaken overseas cannot be confirmed by New Zealand health authorities.
5.5 Legalise Cannabis for Personal Use
The Internet Party understands that policy and change has to be implemented slowly due to political realities. However, it will be the official opinion of the Internet Party that, due to the evidence and research supported by the scientific community, cannabis should be decriminalised for personal use.
5.6 Decriminalise Possession of Class A, B and C Drugs
The Internet Party will follow the compelling example set in Portugal and decriminalise the possession of other drugs to ensure that rehabilitation and treatment is offered to drug addicts as opposed to jail sentences.
5.7 Remove the Presumption of Supply
Following the recommendations of the Law Commission and the Supreme Court of New Zealand the Internet Party will introduce legislation that is consistent with the Bill of Rights Act 1990 which ensures that there will be no presumption of supply without proven intent.
These are all sensible and modest proposals. I’m particularly impressed that
The Internet Party understands that policy and change has to be implemented slowly due to political realities.
New Zealand already tried rapid implementation of unreal drug law reform, viz., the interim period provisions of the Psychoactive Substances Act. Predictably enough, the PSA’s interim period provisions proved to be a load of abject FAIL. There was a public outcry and the PSA’s evil mastermind, Peter Dunne, pulled the plug on the whole shenanigans. But not until eleven novel, untested research chemicals had been approved for sale to the general public. They were on the shelves for nine months. Just long enough for us to find out if any of these substances cause birth defects in the children of mothers legally addicted to them. The National government is criminally insane.
As per my personal policy statement, one day I hope to see all drugs fully legalised. The sad fact of the matter is that this may never happen. But, if it does, it will occur through a series of tiny steps in the right direction. It will begin with cannabis legalisation.
4.2 Colorado Legalisation of Cannabis
In 2012 there was a referendum in the state of Colorado. This measure would amend Colorado’s constitution and allow state-wide legalisation of cannabis. A similar measure was also passed in Washington State, however, their legalisation was set at a later date and as such less information is available on the success or failure of the plan so Colorado’s model is more applicable for research purposes. The first legal cannabis stores opened in Colorado on January 1st 2014.
The law change has meant that adults over 21 years of age can possess and use cannabis for personal recreational use.
There was a fear that this law would lead to a spike in usage of cannabis. However, in a recent report John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado, reported that “we don’t see a spike in adult use…we don’t think we see a spike in youth consumption.” He also remarked, ‘let’s face it, the War on Drugs was a disaster…it sent millions of kids to prison, gave them felonies – often times when they had no violent crimes.’
In addition to avoiding charges on those who were simply using cannabis for personal use, Colorado has reported that there are significant tax incentives to legalisation of cannabis. The state, which is of roughly comparable population and GDP to New Zealand, has reported that they have collected $25,307,067 in cannabis taxes since January 2014.
Full Colorado-style legalisation of cannabis is the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s policy. 🙂
It’s been all year since Colorado’s bud shops opened their doors. Almost all indicators from Colorado so far are good. But even implementing something along the lines of Colorado’s tightly regulated commercial cannabis market may be too much too soon for the sheeple of New Zealand. Colorado-style legalisation of cannabis would be a tiny step towards a future libertopia. But (I’m guessing) it’s still too big a step, according to the Internet Party’s policy advisors, and that’s why they’ve redacted the subsection above.
So what is the Internet Party’s cannabis policy? They don’t have one. Yet. I’m told by a couple of party insiders that the Internet Party will release its cannabis policy this Sunday 24 August. I hope that policy proposal 5.5 will make the cut. And I’ll be interested to see if their upcoming policy will be to legalise cannabis for personal use (as per the section heading) or merely to decriminalise cannabis possession and cultivation (as per the section body). (It’s worth stating the not as obvious as it should be. Legalisation and decriminalisation are NOT the same thing. Decriminalisation just means less draconian penalties apply.)
Here‘s another reason to vote Keinzley.
His work in Asia included setting up a non-profit China Typhoon Rescue Organisation, helping communities clean up and rebuild after a disaster.
I never really liked politics.
Voters in the Taranaki-King Country electorate, please give your electorate vote to Grant Keinzley and your party vote to the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party!