Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Legalise It. Not.

The Greens are proposing to legalise cannabis decriminalise cannabis fine people for using cannabis. This is somewhat of a backdown from previous positions on the freedom to put into your own body what you choose yourself. I look forward to hearing Nandor re-recording Peter Tosh's legalisation anthem under a new title, 'Fine It'!

I look forward too to seeing the Greens at some stage saying something about poor Schapelle Corby, whose appeal against her life sentence begins shortly. As I've said before, their silence on Corby is a clear indication they've lost the freedom mojo. So too is their call for fining cannabis users. Shame.


  1. Peter, I'm all for full legalisation and ideological purity, but we have to face the reality that legalisation is not politically possible at the moment. While we can argue for all or nothing in the 'blogosphere', this is real life politic , and we have to pick our battles. I believe this battle can be won. Moreover, to deride it as you have in your post is disingenous - Nandor's bill will have help reduce the power of the state in people's lives, deal a huge blow to the War on Drugs, and shift the debate to set the stage for further liberalisation and, evenutally, full legalisation at a later date.

  2. I was going to say much the same as the first two sentences of anonymous' comment above. Though it is certainly not where I would like the law on cannabis to *end up* it seems like a step in the right direction at least, and the only politically viable one at this point, doesn't it? As they say: baby steps, baby steps.

  3. Keeping the supply chain in (mostly) criminal hands doesn't do anything about otherwise honest people (like ex-rugby players, TV personalities, etc.) having a positive relationship with organised crime and a negative one with the cops.

  4. Instant Fines have been a disaster in South Australia (and the GREENS know this ). It has resluted in the perverse outcome of net shrinkage, lowering the standard of evidence required by Polie to search and thus finding (and fining) more people. That these people are mostly (a) young, (b) male and (c) unemployed elevates one of the worst characteristics of drug prohibition. Th eproblme with instant fines is that these are the very people who for the greater part cannot afford to meet the 'expiation notice' payment deadline and become court sanctioned criminals anyway. This occurs without any lessening of the criminal networks grip on the trade and cultivations.

    The figures are appalling. From round 7000 convictions per annum before expiations, to 21,000 pa with 14,000 become 'criminal.

    The evidential based Canadian Senate Inquiry on Drugs reported in 2003 that instant fines was the 'worst possible scenario' - Chair, Pierre Claud Nolin has on record said Instant Fines was 'worse than the current model' because it would entrench policy failure for years to come.

    Nandor has been at pains to suggest that 'search and seizure' powers would be reduced. Yeah right!

    The UK adopted a 'progressive' softly softly approach that required NO LEGISLATIVE change. Quite simply Police were instructed to deal with cannabis by means other than arrest...

    While this is a defacto rule (and not the most desirable model either) it has given kudos and credence to 'a third way' of managing the drug problem beyond blanket prohibitions which the public (bar a few vested interests) has largely bought into.

    Cheers and Beers....

  5. Broddz said,
    Stick Instant Fines in the Garbage...
    Vow to ...

    Currently NZ prisons are bulging at the seams,
    a popular mass movement resisting ANYONE paying cannabis fines would quickly get cannabis prohibition recognised as unenforceable...

    Would you allow your name to be published on a poster full of people opposing and resisting cannabis fines?


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