Twice in one week now I’ve had to say something nice about people in government1, 2. But when Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse says …
it is time to decriminalise natural cannabis because it is safer than the synthetic versions that were banned last week.
… then it is time to give some praise.
The veteran councillor and former industrial laboratory technician said she had always opposed decriminalisation, but changed her mind after reading scientific papers about the dangers of synthetic cannabis. …
Ms Hulse said she was speaking as "someone from a scientific background" with "a deep and abiding passion for science". She personally loathed cannabis. …
But toxicologists had shown that natural cannabis contained several compounds with an anti-psychotic effect to balance the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), so it was less dangerous than synthetic products designed to match exactly receptors in the brain.
She’s right, you know.
Ms Hulse said she was worried the council could no longer reach some of the young people using synthetic highs and stop them taking the drugs in the first place, or support them to come off them.
"We're really concerned that this has now pushed the entire issue underground, for the time being," she said. "At least we had a window of trying to work with our community to prevent drug use ... we now don't have that opportunity."
She said the Government was on the right track trying to manage the legal highs industry.
"The bit we're missing now is people think the issue has disappeared, it certainly hasn't, it's gone underground," she said.
"People will continue to find ways of finding something to get them stoned."
Ms Hulse said the issue needed to be brought back into the daylight, and the community could have a reasoned conversation about how to deal with it.
- Legalised cannabis 'may be safer' – RADIO NZ
- Accept cannabis use, says Auckland deputy mayor – NZ HERALD
1. First time obviously I was praising the Minister of Finance for, finally, after five damn years, managing to produce a surplus. Mind you, I might have been a bit hasty. Turns out the surplus isn’t one he will produce in this financial year, but one he will promise for next year. (“The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”)
2. And let’s not get too hasty about “hints”being given by John Key about tax cuts. Because the last time John Key promised tax cuts in an election year he reneged on them as soon as he achieved office. So let’s believe them them if we ever see them, eh.