David Simpson, the Republican state representative who wants to repeal marijuana prohibition in Texas, is a radical. I mean that in a good way. The bill he introduced on Monday would not merely allow specified marijuana-related activities—the approach taken by every state that has legalized marijuana so far. Instead Simpson, who is in his third term representing an East Texas district that includes Gregg and Upshur counties, aims to eliminate all references to marijuana from the state’s criminal code. In an essay published by The Texas Tribune’s online opinion section, he explains why, laying out “The Christian Case for Drug Law Reform”:
As a Christian, I recognize the innate goodness of everything God made and humanity’s charge to be stewards of the same.
In fact, it’s for this reason that I’m especially cautious when it comes to laws banning plants. I don’t believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that government needs to fix.
New York Times editorial writer Lawrence Downes likes what Simpson has to say. “I don’t think I’ve read a more concise and persuasive conservative argument for rethinking marijuana laws,” Downes writes. But Simpson’s goal is more ambitious than that:
In the name of protecting the public, certain substances have been declared evil and contraband. So evil are these substances that state and federal agents are empowered to enforce laws with little or no regard for constitutional protections of individual rights, the sanctity of one’s home or the right to travel freely….
Our current “war on drugs” policies [are] spurring a proliferation of ever-changing exotic designer drugs and a disregard for contitutional protections in the name of eliminating drugs at any cost. Just think of no-knock warrants, stop-and-frisk, civil asset forfeiture and billionaire drug lords.
The time has come for a thoughtful discussion of the prudence of the prohibition approach to drug abuse, the impact of prohibition enforcement on constitutionally protected liberties and the responsibilities that individuals must take for their own actions….
Should we be concerned for our friends and neighbors who abuse a substance or activity? Yes, we should help them through sincere and voluntary engagement, but not with force and violence.
Is there a place for prohibition? Yes, a prohibition of aggression (Romans 13). Our laws should prohibit and penalize violent acts. This is the jurisdiction of the magistrates under the new covenant—harm to one’s neighbor.
Civil government should value everything God made and leave people alone unless they meddle with their neighbor.
This is not just a brief against marijuana prohibition, or even the war on drugs in general. It is a brief against using force to stop peaceful, consensual activity. Simpson, who calls himself a “constitutional conservative,” elaborates on that libertarian theme in his campaign biography:
Man’s actions which harm other men must be checked by force to preserve human life and liberty. I believe that this is the legitimate role of civil government—to do justice and to protect individual rights of life, liberty and property. This consists of enforcing the rules between individuals (contracts), punishing the wrongdoer who harms his neighbor here at home, and defending us from our enemies abroad. Civil government, otherwise, should leave us alone and free.
We need more Republicans like David Simpson.
The irrefutable pattern continues…. not just in Mexico…. not just in Chicago….But the world over… including New Zealand.
Read the latest news…
‘NZ criminals shift to bigger guns’.
Underworld figures are now packing machineguns in what has been identified as a “culture” shift toward heavier arming among criminals, an intelligence report warns.
But police say the big guns are mostly for show, and that their use rarely reaches beyond the closed doors of the criminal world.
A summary of the report, which notes the growing frequency and increasing sophistication of weapons featuring particularly among gangsters’ drugs crime activity, has been released under the Official Information Act.
Assistant police commissioner Malcolm Burgess would not comment on the sources of the information.
He said criminals, not the public, were most at risk of encountering gun crime. “They are more likely to use these firearms in situations involving other criminals, rather than against the general population.”
A summary of the July 2014 report, briefing police officers and entitled “Firearms and Organised Crime: Illicit Supply, Possession and Use”, notes a shift in New Zealand criminals’ attitudes to bearing arms.
“It is likely (the event will probably occur in most circumstances) there has been and continues to be an erosion of the traditional culture of firearms non-usage by New Zealand organised crime group members,” it says.
Read Full article >>>Here<<<
Police raiding a central Wellington apartment found the occupants lying in wait with high-powered rifles.
Raids across the region in June last year netted guns, drugs and samurai swords and about $20,000 worth of methamphetamine, as well as cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and cannabis. The 21 people arrested remain before the courts and the swords were returned to their original owner.
Asked where such weapons come from, Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said most were sourced via thefts from licensed firearms holders.
Police found 22 firearms in raids around Whangarei in December last year which resulted in 38 Headhunters gang members' arrests and $4 million in methamphetamine being seized. Several of the guns seized are alleged to be part of a large cache stolen from a Bucklands Beach, Auckland, gun collector last June.
Hunting rifles found rolled up in a mattress at a Plimmerton house in July last year where gang members were living were traced back allegedly to burglaries in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa. Two people were arrested on methamphetamine, LSD, MDMA and cannabis supply charges.
Customs intercepted 1880 firearms and 3393 parts at the border in 2013-14.
- The Dominion Post
Now to any Prohibitionist reading this….there is no point getting upset that your methods are worse than a failure… that your Tyranny is making society much less safe…
When will you admit defeat?
When will you stop calling for Blood on the streets?
Instead, take a look at what is going on in Colorado USA, and how Ending Cannabis prohibition is having a massive effect on reducing violent crimes, and is hurting the Mexican Cartels…
Or get yourself a copy of Don Brash’s book ‘Incredible Luck’ in which he dedicates a chapter as to why he supports the discrimination of Cannabis in New Zealand.
He is virtually Giving them away… about $7 per copy *postage included*.
You can contact/ private message Don >>>Here<<<
Ending the war on drugs will be the greatest step towards more justice, and public safety that is possible with the stroke of a pen!
Our Jails will empty... Respect for the Law will increase.
Add to that the 100s of millions of Tax $$$ Savings which are currently wasted on enforcement of the failed policies of prohibition.
Add to that the benifits of having a Legal Cannabis industry.
We will stop Jailing peaceful people like Dakta Green!
If you have not met this great man.... why not?
We are about to stick him and several of his comrades in jail again... for being brave enough to resist the Evils of Cannabis prohibition, and pushing for legal safe dispensaries.
I am having trouble finding an up-to-date article on Dakta’s latest predicament…. I will remedy this when I can…. yet >>>here is a blogpost<<<< I wrote about his earlier civil disobedience.
*****There will be an all night Vigil before the Sentencing for the Daktory 3 on April 22 at Auckland District Court. If you want to stand up for your rights, be there if you can.*****
Hamilton J day 2014
William Mckee, Gary Chiles, Dakta Green, and Tim Wikiriwhi.
Read my speech >>>Here<<< and find more Eternal vigilance posts on Ending the Drug war.
Friend and admirer of Dakta Green and company.
Today is a global day of action for groups around the world campaigning for drug law reform.
Really? It’s the first I heard of “a global day of action for groups around the world campaigning for drug law reform.” I belong to (at least) a couple of groups in New Zealand campaigning for DLR. I’m the Vice President of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis and a member (and former board member) of drug law reform umbrella group NORML. I’ve been a drug law reform activist for more than a decade. While it’s entirely possible that I was told about it but was paying no attention, I don’t recall ever hearing of a global day of DLR action on a Thursday. At the end of June. I spoke to a couple of other DLR activists and they hadn’t heard of it either.
(The global day of action for groups around the world campaigning for drug law reform is, in fact, the first Saturday in May. In New Zealand, we celebrate J Day. In Nimbin, Australia they celebrate the Nimbin Mardi Grass. Elsewhere, the Global Marijuana March is held in cities around the world.)
In New Zealand, advocacy group the Star Trust has released research it says shows that the Psychoactive Substances Act was working, before synthetic high products were pulled from the shelves.
I’m not sure what Grant Hall means by “working”. The Psychoactive Substances Act was supposed to ban all new psychoactive substances not already banned by the Misuse of Drugs Act, with the exception of products containing psychoactive substances that had been shown to pose only a low risk of harm after being submitted to a battery of scientific tests, which products would then be approved for regulated, legal sale. That was its stated intent. While all new psychoactive substances have now been banned, none has yet passed the scientific tests. The Ministry of Health, in charge of implementing the Act, has yet even to tell us what the scientific tests that NPS must pass actually are. I don’t call that “working”. I call that prohibition. (As for the fiasco that was the so-called “interim” period, during which untested, unsafe NPS were temporarily approved for sale, don’t get me started.)
The trust’s Grant Hall says they would like a “compassionate” approach to dealing with drug harm, instead of the current “punitive” regime.
What does a “compassionate” approach to legal highs retailers look like?
“All of the data during the interim period of the Psychoactive Substances Act… there were two things that came out of it that are really interesting,” he said on Firstline this morning.
“There was a reduction in crime – we saw a 22.7 percent reduction in cannabis-related crime… quite a significant number.”
There is no such thing as cannabis-related crime. Cannabis does not cause crime. So we saw a 22.7% reduction in what? A 22.7% reduction in cannabis use? A 22.7% reduction in arrests for cannabis “offences”? I say that the reason there’s been a 22.7% reduction in “cannabis-related crime” (whatever that is) is because it’s an election year.
Watching the actual interview, Grant Hall indicates that the reduction is in cannabis use. But people smoking less cannabis isn’t a good thing, because what are they smoking instead? Less safe, less fun synthetic cannabinoid products manufactured by the industry for whom Grant Hall is spokesman.
He says only 14 people contacted the Ministry of Health about addiction problems with synthetic highs, out of 11,000 people using them a day.
“We would say that’s a pretty good outcome.”
I’d say that’s a pretty good outcome, too. If only 14 people experienced addiction problems. But it wasn’t only 14 people, it was hundreds of people who became seriously addicted to legal synthetic highs. The 14 people who contacted the Ministry of Health were just the tip of a very large iceberg that advocates of the PSA’s interim period simply don’t want to know about.
I’ve been blogging on the PSA for a couple of years now. Synthetic cannabis addicts would sooner comment on my blog posts than contact the Ministry of Health. I mean, why on earth would someone with an addiction problem even contemplate for a moment calling the Ministry of Health anyway?
Synthetic cannabis addicts are regularly in the headlines. Here‘s a chap who appeared in the MSM the day before Grant Hall’s interview. Did he phone the Ministry of Health in between committing aggravated robberies, I wonder?
A “polite and well-mannered” South Auckland teen with an unblemished record committed two aggravated robberies in four days, driven by his synthetic cannabis addiction.
What the legal highs industry should have done is proactively investigate reports of addiction to their products. They should have front-footed it. But they don’t want to know.
Someone else who doesn’t want to know is Peter Dunne. He doesn’t want to know about the miraculous and thoroughly well-documented healing properties of natural cannabis. Anecdotal reports are not hard science but they do stack up. Here‘s one that’s hard to dismiss.
Christine said the cannabis oil had an immediate and dramatic impact. Ellen’s seizures reduced from hundreds each day down to only a handful, allowing her to return to school for the first time in five years.
“She’s gone from 120 hospital admissions in 2012 to just eight last year. It’s quite amazing. She is still on some pharmaceuticals. We’ve found that combination with the cannabis oil has been hugely beneficial.”
But Peter Dunne dismisses it.
“I have yet to see any evidence that cannabis in any form has contributed in any way to help children, or indeed anyone, recover from serious diseases,” he said.
I know that Grant Hall is a veteran campaigner for medical cannabis. Good on him. I know that Grant Hall wouldn’t dismiss any of the numerous reports of the benefits of medical cannabis as anecdotal. And yet he chooses to ignore the numerous reports of the addictive nature of synthetic cannabis.
In fact, the legal highs industry is well aware of the potentially addictive nature of some of their products. That’s why Matt Bowden was up front. His Stargate products came with appropriate warnings, e.g.
Frequent or daily use is not recommended, users should be aware that development of dependence on this type of product has rarely been reported, and appropriate limitations on use may be required in some individuals.
A report I read about a year ago, of a Nelson man arrested for selling natural cannabis to get the money to feed his synthetic cannabis addiction, should have sounded the alarm with the legal highs industry. That’s when the plot lost them.
Now Hall says people are turning back to hard drugs like P, and that synthetic highs were only banned because of the upcoming election.
Bullshit. We put people who are addicted to opiates on the methadone progamme, because methadone itself is an opiate and it substitutes for other opiates. Methamphetamine (“P”) is a stimulant. Synthetic cannabinoids are not stimulants. If I wanted to find the energy to stay up partying all night or simply do the housework … P would be great … but the last thing I’d do is smoke some synthetic cannabis. It’s not a stimulant and doesn’t substitute for other stimulants. I’d get nothing done at all and then fall asleep.
Speed freaks were taking stimulants before, during and after synthetic cannabis.
[Hall] There was a reduction in crime. So we saw a 22.7% reduction in cannabis-related crime during the interim period, now that’s quite a significant number.
[3 News] Was that inevitable? Because they’re just going to synthetic highs.
[Hall] Yes, but isn’t that a good thing? That’s a good result, isn’t it? So we’ve transitioned those people away from the black market into the white market where they are controlled …
Transitioning people away from safe, natural black market cannabis to unsafe, synthetic white market cannabis is harm reduction? Not in my book.
Check out what Grant Hall has to say about “congestion issues” and “restricted retail environments”. Weasel words! They had congestion issues and a restricted retail environment in Colorado in early January, and nothing bad happened. (Except that the cannabis ran out, obviously.)
As for the claim that “synthetic highs were only banned because of the upcoming election.” Actually, no. Synthetic highs were banned because a group of mothers whose teenage children had become addicted to synthetic cannabinoids or otherwise schizzed out kicked up one hell of a fuss. And then got on Campbell Live.
The reality is that journalists have got more power and influence around this issue than the scientists.
Grant Hall got that much right. It will be John Campbell who legalises cannabis in the end.
The demonisation of cannabis (and other drugs) started in earnest with prohibitionist propaganda campaigns like Reefer Madness in the ’30s. I’d say we reached peak demonisation in the ’70s. 1970 was when Keith Stroup, funded by a $5,000 grant from the Playboy Foundation, founded the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in the U.S. That’s when drug law reformers started in earnest to undo the decades of prohibitionist propaganda damage. It’s taken 40 years of hard slog to counter all the prohibitionist lies and misrepresentations about cannabis.
I’m work shy. So it irks me when anyone, be they prohibitionists or non-prohibitionists, tells lies about and misrepresents the harms (whether by exaggerating or downplaying) of any drug. How are we ever going to have sane, evidence-based drug policy when those making and influencing the policies refuse to face up to the facts? I’m work shy but I’d still much rather spend my time getting the word out to the masses than spending it patiently pointing out to my fellow DLR activists that they’re doing it all wrong.
I’d like to see Grant Hall quit the STAR Trust and return to his roots. I reckon he’d make a great spokesman for GreenCross New Zealand. They could use a level head.
I wasn’t physically present at yesterday’s NORML conference—one of the few usual suspects who wasn’t—but I was there in spirit and by live stream.
The conference went well. Credit where credit’s due and credit is due to Phil Saxby who put in a colossal effort organising the event. Thanks, Phil. Job well done. Also, thanks to Vinny Eastwood and Gary Chiles for setting up the live stream on YouTube.
It’s no secret that I’m at loggerheads with some of the peeps in NORML. There are right ways and wrong ways to go about implementing drug law reform. To hell with the Psychoactive Substances Act! Dissent to be continued …
Here’s the event in two parts, the morning session and the afternoon session, for those interested.
At last, NORML has come to its senses! The befuddling effects of the synthetic cannabinoids they’ve been smoking must be starting to wear off after last week’s ban. 😀
I’m very pleased to see that NORML is now turning away from the failed experiment that was the Psychoactive Substances Act and is now looking to Colorado’s pioneering cannabis law reform efforts as a model for sensible, workable drug law reform. Homegrown is not necessarily better!
The line-up of speakers for the conference is … interesting, to say the least! 😎
Circle the wagons! Early bird registration fee is $35 if paid by Sunday 8 June. See y’all there, folks!
Colorado calling … must be time for some Denver deathgrind! Here’s Cephalic Carnage with a “crazy concoction of truly experimental grindcore, death metal, and jazz”. 🙂
NORML NZ Press Statement for Immediate Release: 24/04/2014
Citizens denied access to public space by Hamilton City Council to celebrate Hamilton J Day
The Hamilton branch of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws’ request to use the Hamilton Lake Domain Stage to hold its annual J Day gathering in Hamilton has been denied by the Hamilton City Council. The Council is claiming the event violates the Hamilton City Smoke-Free Environment Policy.
This event is primarily a political protest, involving activists, supporters, musicians, political party candidates and other speakers, but it is also a rare opportunity for the community to come together and discuss evidence based health and justice policies and to connect with others in their community that share their views.
“None of the event information provided to the Council by NORML, or any of NORML’s materials promoting this event, make any mention of an intention to violate a smoking prohibition, and we made it clear that we had offered to help with extra Council signage and include constant announcements to remind attendees that the Council has a smoking prohibition in all City parks to be fully in compliance with their smoke free policy,” said event organiser and Hamilton NORML member Gary Chiles.
NORML has said that it considers the action of the Council to be a direct violation of the organisation and its supporters’ democratic rights to gather and protest against the injustice of New Zealand’s cannabis prohibition, and also an unreasonable assumption on the part of the Council that an event clearly promoted as a law reform protest is promoting behaviour inconsistent with their smoke-free policy.
NORML invites all Hamilton supporters of cannabis law reform to gather peacefully to celebrate J Day at the Lake Domain Stage Saturday 3rd May at 12:00 as planned.
We have a democratic right to protest and a right to freedom of speech under the Bill of Rights Act, and we have every intention of exercising those rights.
A group feeding Hamilton’s needy say the council is forcing them out of Garden Place to stop more homeless people coming to the area.
But the council says while they have received complaints about the group feeding the homeless, their primary concern is the fact that those involved don’t have the appropriate permit to operate in a public.
Now they’re denying people the opportunity to gather in a public space and celebrate a wonder plant that God placed on this green earth explicitly for our use!
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.”
Big ups to Hamilton J Day organiser Gary Chiles for standing fast in the face of the Hamilton City Council’s authoritarian tantrums.
It is not for our elected representatives to lord it over those whom they are supposed to serve.
How many have died as a direct result of the lies which underpin Cannabis prohibition????
Cannabis has been a revered medicine for thousands of years… yet the fanatical prohibitionists lied, deceived, murdered, and imprisoned countless numbers of innocent people via their obsessive Drug war.
That this mentality still prevails in western civilisation make a mockery of the idea that the West as being ‘enlightened, Free, and Humane’.
It is extremely tragic to consider that the Lies have been so thoroughly imbibed by the Masses, and the fear it instils in parents as to both it’s safety, and because of the terror involved in what might happen if the State finds out they have administered cannabis to their children…. that many will not be brave enough to get this valuable medicine to their kids…. and many will continue to suffer and die as a result of the lies… and the tyranny.
This is one of the reasons why I am dedicated to Ending Cannabis prohibition and destroying the Myths it has propagated.
I was contemplating reading a white paper on Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies by Glenn Greenwald of the Cato Institute.
On July 1, 2001, a nationwide law in Portugal took effect that decriminalized all drugs, including cocaine and heroin. Under the new legal framework, all drugs were “decriminalized,” not “legalized.” Thus, drug possession for personal use and drug usage itself are still legally prohibited, but violations of those prohibitions are deemed to be exclusively administrative violations and are removed completely from the criminal realm. Drug trafficking continues to be prosecuted as a criminal offense.
Perhaps the Green Party could learn some Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies. Because, let’s face it. Their drug policies so far have been neither fair nor successful.
There is a famous anecdote about a conversation Winston Churchill once had with a woman at a party.
Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds? Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill … Well, I suppose … we would have to discuss terms, of course … Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds? Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?! Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
The moral of the story is obvious. If you sleep with someone for money—any amount of money—then you are a prostitute. Even if that someone is Winston Churchill.
Even though it was Winston Churchill, it was rather a cruel trick he played. But not as cruel as testing recreational drugs on animals. And that brings me to the point of this post.
The government has played a cruel trick on those in the drug law reform movement who give the thumbs up to the Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Government minister: Activist, would you accept significant drug law reform if it meant some limited amount of animal testing? DLR activist: My goodness, Mr. Dunne … Well, I suppose … we would have to make submissions to the Select Committee, of course … Government minister: Would you accept significant drug law reform if it meant that thousands of the nation’s beloved family pets are made to suffer slow, agonising deaths? DLR activist: Mr. Dunne, what kind of drug law reform activist do you think I am?! Government minister: Activist, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the depth of your depravity.
Five pounds or five million pounds? If you accept animal testing—any amount of animal testing—as the price of drug law reform, then you are a sadist. Even if the drugs are really, really good.
Now, I’m not suggesting that any of my friends in the drug law reform movement are sadists. But I am suggesting that they’ve been cruelly tricked. And I am suggesting that they think carefully about how far down this particular slippery slope they’re prepared to slide. And I’m suggesting that after they’ve thought about it they claw their way back up to the moral high ground.