Drug Law Reform
Please note: The question of whether the party should adopt a number of non-core policies for the 2014 election needs to discussed in its own thread. Let's use this one to start exploring what a Pirates drug policy might be, if and when we decide to adopt one.
I've yet to meet a Pirate Party member, supporter, or potential voter, who doesn't support radical reform of the Misuse of Drugs Act. However, some Pirates think the party should avoid adopting policies not directly related to the internet, to avoid 'brand dilution'. This has recently been discussed on PPNZ (about half-way down this thread):
As a TL;DR policy summary, I suggest:
“the Pirates support an immediate end to all arrests for non-violent drug offences, whether for possession, retailing, or production. Since this would allow people to run businesses producing or selling drugs which are currently illegal, these businesses would need public oversight and regulation, along the lines of the systems we use to regulate the alcohol and tobacco industries. Drugs should not be advertised or marketed in any way that might encourage people to use them in ways they otherwise would not have”.
Evidence base for our drug policy:
- Development of a rational scale to assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse
David Nutt, Leslie A King, William Saulsbury, Colin Blakemore,
Published in the Lancet
An analysis of a thorough survey on the harms (personal and social) of all recreational drugs, both legal and illegal.
Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife
Madeline H. Meiera et al
Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science
An analysis of the effects of cannabis use on 1037 people from Dunedin, suggesting a drop in IQ among long-term users. Other researchers, including Ole Røgeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo have pointed out that many other explanations could account for the correlation they identified (eg there is evidence that stress lowers IQ and the threat of being arrested for having cannabis in a constant stress in user's lives):
Andrew Reitemeyer Mon 16 Dec 2013 7:30PM
I would like to see this as part of a wider commitment to evidence based policy.
As for the research needed to back up such a policy we should look at including the work of Professor Nutt
David Peterson Tue 17 Dec 2013 1:14PM
Do you think PPNZ should also have a position on Global Warming and Abortion? Plus all the other thousands of very very important but controversial issues?
No, of course not because it is waaay outside the core scope of PPNZ, it would dilute us down from our core focus, brand us as something else than what we are at our core thus weakening our core proposition for the voters, promote infighting, drive many people away, and all in all make it much harder to work towards the core goals of PPNZ (which I assume is why we all joined up in the first place!! Not because we want to see reform with GlobalWarming/Abortion/marijuana/whatever).
Danyl Strype Tue 17 Dec 2013 10:32PM
+1 on David Nutt:
also in the UK are Transform:
There are also local experts like Geoff Noller who are pro-reform:
Danyl Strype Tue 17 Dec 2013 10:52PM
There is evidence that a significant majority of kiwis now support drug law reform:
Note: unlike the Cannabis Party, I think the argument against prohibition needs to be taken to its logical conclusion and applied to all drugs. In the case of users, it's a health issue, not a criminal justice issue; it doesn't make any more sense to arrest someone for using heroin than for smoking cannabis.
In the case of supply, the kind of production and distribution allowed should be based on objective criteria for assessing how dangerous each drug is:
Unless we're going to regulate alcohol more tightly, anything less dangerous than alcohol should be quality-controlled, and available for sale in an R18 licensed premises. For drugs more dangerous than alcohol, I'd support the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition proposal for the government to manufacture the drugs, and give addicts a prescription, so nobody is making money out of their addiction.
I'd also say that no advertising of drugs or drug-based businesses should be allowed. If people choose to take drugs, that's fine, but allowing business to encourage people to take them creates perverse incentives.
Rob Ueberfeldt Fri 10 Jan 2014 1:29AM
I like the idea of PP championing drug law reform. Personally I would go with legalising all drugs for personal use, but keep sanctions (albeit reduced from the current) on dealers. I have no fear of "brand dilution" as such. We have a narrow focus which is in keeping with a small membership, for us to grow our policies will have to be expanded. It's not a case of cart before the horse or vice versa, instead it is something that needs to occur simultaneously IE membership needs to increase as our policies expand.
Andrew Reitemeyer Fri 10 Jan 2014 5:56PM
I agree with that Rob. I am keen to get new members but it is difficult to engage people with a party that is not and will not be in the near future, relevant to their concerns. We need a broad base of support - all ages, genders, professions and political persuasion. If we support true democracy then we should potentially appeal to the vast majority.
Danyl Strype Fri 17 Jan 2014 5:05AM
Rob, so you would basically go with the Portugal model? Have you seen the documentary Breaking the Taboo? Users of some drugs (ie not alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine) still get harassed and arrested in Portugal, they just don't get a conviction. Instead they get sent to a Drug Court which patronizes them about their choice of drug. Not enough of an improvement in my opinion.
Andrew, thanks for your comment, but like David's it seems more relevant to a thread about expanding/ not expanding the PP's policy platform. This thread is about drug law reform.
Rob Ueberfeldt Sun 19 Jan 2014 10:47PM
Probably something closer to the Dutch model. Or any model that doesn't marginalise users further than the Dutch one. As I said legalise all personal drug use. Dealers that carry over the limit need to be weary. Possibly no ideal situation will arise but NZ can improve a lot.
Danyl Strype Wed 5 Feb 2014 1:09AM
I guess there's two questions here. 1) What's the ideal situation, the one which fits with our principles and the facts? 2) What's the biggest step towards that ideal which is politically realistic? To me, the first is a question of Policy, while the second is a question of Strategy.
I think when agreeing on Policy or Positions we should be writing them as if we intend to be the government after the next election and have the power to make them happen. Otherwise we confuse ourselves trying to read the minds of other parties, and find a compromise position, before we've even clarified what we think as the Pirates and why.
Danyl Strype Wed 5 Feb 2014 2:34AM
So do we have an agreement in principle that all personal drug use should be decriminalized, not just "dissuaded" as it is in Portugal?
The Dutch model is that cannabis is still as illegal on the books as it is here, but that law is selectively enforced. I think we can do better. I don't see why I shouldn't be able to run a responsible small business serving cannabis to my friends, the same way I can if serve caffeine or alcohol. One model I've thought about is the "grow-op" model, where cannabis can only be sold by non-profit trusts, which can employ people at market rates, but all profits (after tax) are given to the community as grants. A bit like the pokie charities model.
Poll Created Wed 5 Feb 2014 2:38AM
We should allow people to run profitable businesses off any drug less dangerous than alcohol Closed Wed 19 Feb 2014 3:10AM
I'd like to get people's opinion on whether we support allowing people to run profitable businesses off any drug less dangerous than alcohol. If not, for the sake of consistency, we should be campaigning for alcohol profits to be returned to the community like pokie profits are.
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
||Agree||50.0%||5||DU TF BK|
|Undecided||0%||10||KT PA DU|
10 of 20 people have voted (50%)
Thu 6 Feb 2014 8:24AM
Agree with the decision text (in principle), not the discussion context text
Fri 7 Feb 2014 5:25AM
Regardless of my position towards giving alternative policies priority, I don't agree with the current proposal.
Sat 8 Feb 2014 6:15PM
I believe that the real problem with illegal drugs is with the illegal dealers, if we legalise then we can follow the example of washington & colorado states .
Sat 8 Feb 2014 9:04PM
I will not support a party that wants to enable retail like this. If anything, I want retail of alcohol suppressed.
Sun 9 Feb 2014 11:22PM
I don't think anyone should make a profit from the distribution of recreational drugs, including alcohol. I would support a pokies Trust style model, where all surplus income (after overheads and wages) goes into funding community groups.
Mon 10 Feb 2014 1:30AM
On second thoughts, I was too soft towards this. This is a serious major decision that would cripple PPNZ's future, at this point in time it deserves a block without a doubt.
Thu 13 Feb 2014 6:51AM
The reason I disagree to this, is that a for profit model could and probably would have much wider effects then intended.
I am more inclined to a serious review of the criminal nature of current drug policy.
Mon 17 Feb 2014 6:59AM
Proposal goes further than I want. It goes further than what I think is possible politically and goes further than what I think the party can accomplish.
David Peterson Wed 5 Feb 2014 7:03AM
Are we the pirate party, or are we something else?
As a minor party we have very very limited resources/air-time, and we will be defined by those which make the press.
I'm all for legalising all drugs, but this is neither the right time or vehicle for that.
Rob Ueberfeldt Wed 5 Feb 2014 7:49AM
David your remarks are off subject. If you would like to start a thread for slowing down policy spread please do so. People trying to do some work here.
Craig Magee Wed 5 Feb 2014 8:07AM
I support decriminalization for personal use charges. It reduces harm to society caused by courts while also reducing wasted efforts to more concerning matters.
I don't want to see something like the US, where places legalised for medical use are dotted with stores peddling to anyone that's 'having trouble sleeping'.
Bruce Kingsbury Wed 5 Feb 2014 12:52PM
I am completely OPPOSED to 'decriminalisation' and in support only of 'legalisation'
The reason for this; decriminalising possession of drugs while providing no legal source for them does not solve the problems we have where criminal groups supply the market in an unregulated way and make huge tax-free profits.
Decriminalisation is just an excuse, a move that is guaranteed to fail if not make the problem worse, whereby politicians can point to the failure and claim that they tried a lesser stance, that drugs are inherently evil, and that only stronger penalties can solve the problem.
Let's propose legalisation, not 'decriminalisation' please ...
Bruce Kingsbury Wed 5 Feb 2014 1:08PM
I'm not sure about harder drugs, but I think perhaps a single policy for all drugs might be appropriate; that they're all in some sense 'legal' but with an appropriate level of regulation and control proportional to how potentially addictive the drug is, and an appropriate level of tax to compensate for the level of harm to society.
The assessment of 'addictiveness' and 'harm' should be consistent for all drugs and according to established scientific principles. According to information I have, TCH is one of the least addictive and least harmful drugs and should be restricted and taxed at a level lower than Alcohol or even coffee.
Craig Magee Wed 5 Feb 2014 3:37PM
If you think the telling all those Hamiltron East business owners you support the legal highs shop will advance the party and improve your election charges, be my guest.
Danyl Strype Wed 5 Feb 2014 4:44PM
Craig, like David's, your comments are off-topic. There is a thread for discussing the pros and cons of having "non-core" policies, please focus comments on that topic there.
As it happens though, I think a huge number of the 800,000 people who didn't bother to vote last election, as well as those who turned 18 in the last 3 years, would be strongly encouraged to vote Pirates if we had a publicly-stated position (at least) on drug law reform. I think we would be cowardly and unprincipled not to, and to be honest, I'm not sure I would vote for the party. I would probably go back to voting Greens.
Craig Magee Wed 5 Feb 2014 5:04PM
In what way is expressing my opinion and proving my point in a discussion about Drug Law Reform, where the current decision on the table is ‘We should allow people to run profitable businesses off any drug less dangerous than alcohol’?, off topic?
If you want to make a policy about drugs, create a party position about Pharmac.
Rob Ueberfeldt Wed 5 Feb 2014 7:54PM
I'm sure we can do better than the Dutch model though I don't think that it is transferable or if any model is.
I would love to see it legal to carry personal use for all drugs. I won't support dealing larger amounts in any way until we do this first. I think psychedelics (cannabis included) are a detriment to society this includes MDMA, all the amphetamines cocaine, heroin and LSD. I'm happy to shut down our legal high business, it should never have been started in the first place and things could have been much better if we hadn't criminalised the users of uncategorised drugs (illegal highs). There are huge benefits to these drugs medically and I think they should be licensed for doctors and psychiatrists to administer. If someone is caught with them without a licence, no problem just don't go around dispensing them willy nilly as the legal high industry seems keen to do.
David Peterson Thu 6 Feb 2014 5:46AM
My comments are directly on topic, as I too have an opinion on what PPNZ's drug policy should be.
You can not deny nothing as an option too.
David Peterson Thu 6 Feb 2014 5:49AM
“I think we would be cowardly and unprincipled not to”
I see it as highly unprincipled to strive so hard towards quickly moving the Pirate Party into being a “Not Pirate Party”, which is what I see would quickly be a direct result if these radical non-core policies took hold.
Rob Ueberfeldt Fri 7 Feb 2014 2:32AM
I think you have stated your position on 'non core policy' and timing David. You are quite right to see nothing as an option. I do want people to be able to develop policy so I hope now that you have stated your position that you will let people go about doing so. Occasional reminders of your position are fair enough but I hope it won't get too full on as I would hate to give the impression that this discussion is forbidden territory.
Hubat McJuhes Fri 7 Feb 2014 8:26AM
The term 'profitable businesses' in the text is unnecessarily provocative, but not wrong.
It is imperative to improve health by gaining control over the quality of the handed out drugs. It must be done.
It also opens up opportunities to seek help for those who consume drugs not (anymore) as a lifestyle choice, but as addicts. There are people around who got into the drug cycle to avoid facing the more than difficult situation they where in, which certainly made their lives harder and harder. These people could freely talk about their condition and their difficulties instead of taking the risk to expose themselves as criminals.
I would like to see an additional proposal to use the funds gained from licensing to support people who want to move away from drugs.
Treating the addiction alone is near to useless if not enough support can be offered in solving the underlying difficulties.
Such a policy would add +1 to Equality and Participation.
Craig Magee Sat 8 Feb 2014 9:02PM
Decriminalization for personal use removes the need illegal distribution and retail, while still keeping commercial scale production, distribution, and distribution illegal.
Hubat McJuhes Sat 8 Feb 2014 9:43PM
@Craig: blocking the proposal is a pretty harsh thing to do. If you choose to use this option, I think we are entitled to a more comprehensive explanation of your objection.
The 'Pro people' have provided a number of links to scientific and statistic material supporting some of the arguments.
I would be able to add some regarding
- the health issues stemming mainly from the cheap and toxic supplements to the actual potent drug in uncontrolled illegal drugs (this is about 'classic' substances. I expect that pretty much everything synthetic will be considered too dangerous anyway).
- the impact of drug abuse to social life stems mainly from being sucked into a criminal scene once one becomes a regular user of criminal drugs.
This will cost me a bit of time, though, and some of my sources will be in German language.
I would like to see some proper foundation provided by the 'Cons' side as well, please. And I sure regard this a necessity for anybody blocking.
Hubat McJuhes Sat 8 Feb 2014 9:50PM
BTW: The reason why I find the term ‘profitable businesses’ in the text unnecessarily provocative is that I would assume that the adequate place to sell those drugs would be pharmacies and pharmacies alone. These do ‘profitable business', yes, but using this term in the first sentence of the text let's you more think about dutch coffee houses or cellar door sales at the local cannabis farms.
But I would regard this detail as an issue to be discussed and voted separately after the current proposal.
Craig Magee Sat 8 Feb 2014 11:23PM
Of all the polices to start with, did opening stores to sell highs really have to be one of the first?
I'm blocking it because it's bullshit, and to represent just how polarizing this would be before people even get a look in over the core issues.
The details are not a separate discussion and vote, they are this one here and now. Details of any regulation need to be discussed, or the question needs to be rephrased to 'Should we discuss the regulated production and distribution of drugs less dangerous than alcohol'.
Hubat McJuhes Sun 9 Feb 2014 10:42AM
@craigmagee My understanding of how loomeo works is that you start a discussion (on the left hand side) and while things are discussed you may run a 'current decision' on the right hand side. While one decision is to be made, there cannot be another one at the same time. Once it is closed, you can start a new one.
With this workflow it is obvious that the first decisions to be made should be more abstract, less concrete, more indicative and the details should be decided on in the follow up decisions one by one.
By no means do we agree to the proposed text in the context description if we agree to the first called out decision.
The alternative would be to drop a running decision early when the discussion advances in favour of an alternative fully detailed decision text, which will probably be dropped shortly after as well, which sounds like a very inefficient and frustrating way to do things.
So you are right in that the first decision text should have been more vague and ‘Should we propose the regulated production and distribution of drugs less dangerous than alcohol’ would have been a much better text.
But since we have the current text to decide on, I have decided to read it as vaguely as it can be interpreted and expressed my wishes for detailing things out in the discussion. Others did the same.
@strypey, et al: if I am totally wrong with the above, please let me know. In this case I would change my position and disagree and request a new decision with the wording: ‘Should we propose the regulated/controlled production and distribution of drugs less dangerous than alcohol?’
Hubat McJuhes Sun 9 Feb 2014 10:45AM
@craigmagee I fail miserably in trying to relate the comic to the discussion we have here in any meaningful way.
I would still like to have more details about what we could gain from the retail of alcohol being suppressed.
Hubat McJuhes Sun 9 Feb 2014 10:48AM
@craigmagee If you are concerned about not enough core issues being discussed, then I would ask you to kick off those discussions, please. I am sure there is a lot we can agree upon way before we will be completely through this one.
Danyl Strype Sun 9 Feb 2014 11:21PM
@hubatmcjuhes description of how Loomio works is accurate. From the discussion, it seemed we had a clear consensus on ending criminalization of personal use (even @davidpeterson who objects to having a policy at all), so I felt putting that up as a proposal would have been pointless.
The US criminalized the production and sale of alcohol. The counter-productive results spoke for themselves and the policy was abandoned decades ago. For this reason, I would object to a policy to criminalize production and sale of alcohol. If society allows sale of alcohol, it seems hypocritical and unjust to criminalize the sale of less dangerous drugs like LSD, MDMA and cannabis (see the link to Nutt et al further up for evidence for this claim).
That said, allowing production and sale of drugs (incl. alcohol) doesn't require that we let this be done by for-profit organisations. The pokies Trusts model could be applied to alcohol and all drugs less dangerous than alcohol, where all profits (income after overheads and wages) go into funding for community groups.
Craig Magee Sun 9 Feb 2014 11:35PM
At what point do decisions stop being vague outliers to being policy proposals or even policy?
This discussion indicates a general direction, but the question is 'We should allow people to run profitable businesses off any drug less dangerous than alcohol'. You either agree to it or you don't. Agreeing to it with conditions is still agreeing with it irrespectively, there may not be another vote related to your conditions or such a vote may not pass; don't vote to agree on something if you actually don't.
Danyl Strype Mon 10 Feb 2014 12:51AM
At what point do decisions stop being vague outliers to being policy proposals or even policy?
Good question. You’re right that we need a clear set of rules and processes around how this works. I’ll open a new thread to discuss this:
My assumption is that any consensus we come to in the Policy Group would have to be put to the full membership in the Main group before they are considered a Loomio decision, and at this stage, any Loomio decisions needs to be put to the Board and/or MMORPG before they formally become Party decisions.
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 10 Feb 2014 1:18AM
"The US criminalized the production and sale of alcohol. The counter-productive results spoke for themselves and the
policy was abandoned decades ago."
They also criminalised possession and personal use.
It would have been interesting if they had done the former without the latter. As Norway and Finland experimented with leaving was room for homebrewers.
I totally support legal personal use, medical prescriptions and medical experiments though I get hazy around the models that allow for commercial shops and even worse for me advertising of recreational drugs. I'll let coffee and tea slide...
Sorry if I repeated myself from earlier.
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 10 Feb 2014 2:18AM
Sad to see blocks being used on something still in the discussion stage. It looks like it's not the motion being blocked but general development of policy. Looks incredibly bad for the party and the future of the party.
Craig Magee Mon 10 Feb 2014 2:41AM
Nothing is being blocked beyond the current proposal. You can create another proposal that gets more support and/or less opposition.
My block, which clearly states my line in the sand, is a valid protest.
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 10 Feb 2014 3:04AM
Would this as a proposal be more palatable?
That PPNZ supports harm minimisation as guiding principle towards drug law reform.
This to me at its most basic would encompass the removal of all criminal sanctions against people using or possessing any drugs for personal use.
NZ has recently adopted the psychoactive drugs bill, which regulated the sale of novel recreational drugs whilst criminalising the users of unregulated novel substances. The former I can appreciate the second is abhorrent.
Danyl Strype Mon 10 Feb 2014 3:31AM
David, the purpose of the Policy Group discussions is not to create public policy for the Party. It is to see what our internal consensus is on whatever issue members see fit to raise, in this case drug policy. Anything we find consensus on here would then feed into another discussion, open to the whole membership, on whether the Party should offer a position or policy publicly. The exact processes, checks, and balances for doing this are being discussed in this thread:
If you choose to participate in this discussion, please do so by sharing your views and evidence and taking positions on proposals appropriately. If you can't do that, I'd ask you not to participate. Your grandstanding behaviour here is obstructive, and increasingly irritating to those of us taking this discussion seriously.
Hubat McJuhes Mon 10 Feb 2014 9:29AM
So, @strypey, do you really say that when I have a special enough occasion to go to a restaurant, I cannot have a wine with my fabulous meal?
Danyl Strype Mon 10 Feb 2014 12:32PM
No @hubatmcjuhes I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that the restaurant should give any profits from sales of wine (or any other alcohol) to a non-profit Trust, to go back into the community. The same would apply to any drug less dangerous than alcohol.
Actually @robueberfeldt I would include caffeine in this too. Caffeine is almost as physically addictive as heroin, and like most stimulants, can lead to heart disease and other illnesses. I would argue it's more dangerous than cannabis.
Hubat McJuhes Mon 10 Feb 2014 8:19PM
How is are winegrowers or boutique brewers supposed to survive?
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 10 Feb 2014 9:08PM
My take on drug policy is that we have to take on the reality of our culture. One reason it is vital cannabis laws need to be revisited is the massive use of the substance in NZ. Similarly tea, coffee and alcohol have a place in our culture, I don't really intend to change the alcohol laws though I would prefer to have it on a less commercial footing. The main jist of drug reform should be on substances that have criminal penalties for personal use as that is what makes them unique.
Danyl Strype Tue 11 Feb 2014 2:27AM
Under my proposal, winegrowers or boutique brewers would be able to receive a wage or salary for their work. They would just need to constitute their operation as a not-for-profit trust or society, or perhaps a co-operative company, or alternatively, run their accounts through a larger not-for-profit entity that covers a number of people in their situation, and shares the admin costs.
I'm not particularly attached to this proposal however. I'm just arguing for consistency based on evidence. If for-profit sale of alcohol and caffeine is to be allowed, then the same should be true for less dangerous drugs like cannabis.
Bruce Kingsbury Tue 11 Feb 2014 10:23AM
I'm quite confused now. I'd like a more graduated policy I think, put "alcohol" somewhere in the middle and keep policy around it about the same. I'm pretty sure tobacco is more addictive and more harmful, so without outright banning it we want some legislation to prevent advertising of it, and tax is very highly so that the profit in selling it is minimal and the tax revenue pays for some or all of the cost to society (cancer care, etc).
I'm trying to figure out if my view of alcohol is reasonably unbiased or not, because I happen to like the occasional beer and/or spirits. I don't want them to be any less available or more expensive.
Craig Magee Tue 11 Feb 2014 10:43AM
Alcohol causes a massive amount of harm to our society.
The availability of bulk alcohol perpetuates the destructive culture around it. Wholesale store numbers need to be reduced and store-front advertising removed.
[deactivated account] Tue 11 Feb 2014 12:19PM
I would suggest that only liquor shops be allowed to sell alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.
Supermarkets and dairies selling harmful substances must be recognised for the harm they cause.
Danyl Strype Tue 11 Feb 2014 10:58PM
Bruce, according to Nutt et al, there are only four drugs more dangerous than alcohol; heroin, cocaine, barbituates, and street methadone. If we want a policy based on evidence, not prejudice, then either we need to propose the tightening of restrictions on alcohol, or the loosening of restrictions on all drugs except those four.
Danyl Strype Tue 11 Feb 2014 11:00PM
I don't support liquor shops selling tobacco or cannabis. I think shops should have to choose whether to be a liquor shop, a tobacconist, or a cannabis shop. That avoids any potential "gateway" effects of people going to buy one thing and being attracted to buying something else.
Rob Ueberfeldt Wed 12 Feb 2014 9:46PM
I agree to loosening restrictions and the eventual set up of medical cannabis clubs which can work on a commercial footing as they have done in the US. I think planning for commercial outlets at this stage is too advanced for NZ and for our party. Legalising personal use would be a huge step for NZ to make, allowing commercial sales wouldn't be accepted by the public as an initial move though may come later.
Adam Bullen Thu 13 Feb 2014 6:53AM
@strypey could you link to the original study where the above graph comes from.
I would be interested in reading the findings of the authors.
I fully support evidence based policy making, but with that comes reading the evidence and weighing it on its merit.
I can just about guarantee that there will be conflicting studies.
Bruce Kingsbury Tue 18 Feb 2014 11:45PM
I'd just like to add that drugs like morphine and oxycontin are supplied by 'profitable businesses' but also highly regulated. There's a graduated scale of legal and 'sold for profit' drugs that are only available in a hospital under close supervision, drugs that are available only on prescription, drugs that are available only from a chemist, and drugs that can be bought at a supermarket or dairy.
I agree there should be an appropriate level of taxation on recreational drugs (as there already is for alcohol and tobacco) that compensates for social and health costs and pays for education about responsible use but I don't think that the supply of these drugs should necessarily be completely unprofitable.
Poll Created Fri 21 Feb 2014 9:48PM
That PPNZ supports harm minimisation as guiding principle towards drug law reform. Closed Sun 2 Mar 2014 1:10AM
All Pirates seem to agree on decriminalization of personal use of all drugs, Portugal style, as a minimum policy.
This to me at its most basic would encompass the removal of all criminal sanctions against people using or possessing any drugs for personal use.
NZ has recently adopted the psychoactive drugs bill, which regulated the sale of novel recreational drugs whilst criminalising the users of unregulated novel substances. The former I can appreciate the second is abhorrent.
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
|Undecided||0%||15||TF KT CM BK PA DU|
5 of 20 people have voted (25%)
Sun 23 Feb 2014 9:29AM
I am 100% in agreement with the title of this decision.
And if you, Rob, had made your concrete interpretation your statement when agreeing, I could happily just agreed and pointed out my view. But I don't agree with your specification, so I can't.
Sun 23 Feb 2014 11:54PM
I have to point out that harm minimization necessarily includes providing legally regulated sources of quality-controlled drugs as an alternative to the black market.
Wed 26 Feb 2014 11:04PM
Harm reduction should be based on independent scientific research. Research results that are from commercial or commercially backed organisations should be validated by replication in independent institutions.
Hubat McJuhes Sun 23 Feb 2014 9:56AM
I 100% agree that PPNZ should support harm minimisation as guiding principle towards drug law reform.
In my opinion there is three sources of harm:
- the immediate health issue that stems from the bad quality of unregulated/illegally traded substances.
- the social deterioration that may come with stepping into the cycle of using drugs to escape from an unbearable life situation and in doing so loosing even more control of your own situation to dealers who might be more interested in profit than in your problems, hence having an even harder life and more desire to escape + addiction,... And nobody to talk to, to ask for help, as it is illegal.
- The completely unbalanced and disruptive sanctions when caught with drugs for personal consumption.
Only legalising the personal use of illegal drugs is aiming at only the third aspect completely ignores the other two aspects as if they wouldn't exist or would be acceptable, which clearly is not the case.
My - and others - proposal to aim at gaining control over and regulate:
1st: the substances themselves and enforcing pharmaceutical quality,
2nd: the profits - which are currently mainly going into the pockets of malicious people who do more malicious things with it, but should instead be used to help people dealing with their health issues.
addresses directly the first two aspects and will automatically eradicate the third aspect en passant.
A modern drug law reform should not at all be seen as dealing with a legal issue, but as a health issue. That's the path to cope with the dogmatism that can be found in the public discourse.
Anything below that goal is in my eyes not worth supporting, sorry.
Danyl Strype Mon 24 Feb 2014 12:02AM
@adambullen the study by Nutt et all which that graph comes from is in the Context Box at the top of the discussion. If you can find any other peer-reviewed studies relevant to this policy discussion, by all means, add them to the list.
Danyl Strype Mon 24 Feb 2014 12:22AM
I agree with @brucekingsbury and @hubatmcjuhes that merely decriminalizing use, while leaving production and supply criminalized, solves only half the problem. In the case of cannabis, allowing 'grow-your-own' and maybe 'social dealing' at least addresses the supply issue, but what about LSD or MDMA? These two drugs are much less dangerous than alcohol according to Nutt et al, and cannot (or at least should not) be made at home.
If for-profit businesses selling drugs less dangerous than alcohol are not allowed, then we must have another quality-controlled, legal supply model. I've already put forward non-profit co-operatives as a possible model. There is also the government-run dispensary model recommended by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:
Rob Ueberfeldt Tue 25 Feb 2014 10:38PM
I disagree with Strypey that harm minimisation includes "providing legally regulated sources of quality-controlled drugs".
Though for medical use I agree (with prescription)
My earlier statement.
"I totally support legal personal use, medical prescriptions and medical experiments"
This would cover LSD, MDMA, Amphetamine, Cocaine, Opiates, novel drugs and others which I have forgotten to list.
Cannabis, alcohol and tobacco should be allowed to grown or manufactured at home for personal use. I have no problem with a so called hypocrisy or inconsistency with the harm that some of these drugs do as we need to consider our current culture and climate when making sweeping new rules. I don't see my propositions being the final ones for this country but as the first steps to rationality.
Rob Ueberfeldt Tue 25 Feb 2014 10:42PM
"And if you, Rob, had made your concrete interpretation your statement when agreeing, I could happily just agreed and pointed out my view. But I don't agree with your specification, so I can't."
Sorry not quite sure which bit you disagree with.
To be clear I don't wish to reclassify the legal status of alcohol or cigarettes or change they way they are regulated except to say I support government moves to introduce plain packaging and to control advertising in general.
Rob Ueberfeldt Tue 25 Feb 2014 10:47PM
@Hubat sorry I see, just re-reading your statement under that.
"-the immediate health issue that stems from the bad quality of unregulated/illegally traded substances."
I don't think there is a quality issue in NZ.
"- the social deterioration that may come with stepping into the cycle of using drugs to escape from an unbearable life situation and in doing so loosing even more control of your own situation to dealers who might be more interested in profit than in your problems, hence having an even harder life and more desire to escape + addiction,… And nobody to talk to, to ask for help, as it is illegal."
I think legalising personal use with subsequent education programs addresses this, I don't see how having commercial sales of drugs would help.
Danyl Strype Sat 19 Apr 2014 8:40AM
Has anyone had a look at the Greens drug law reform policy? This is what a policy looks like. What we have so far is a series of fairly vague principles and position statements. No detail. This is what we need to work on.
@robueberfeldt we most certainly do have drug quality problems in NZ. We've all heard the rumours about tinny shop buds being sprayed with fly spray to make them stronger. We know that in some cases the cops spray herbicides on crops from helicopters, then the gangsters pull the plants and sell the buds anyway, resulting in people smoking concentrated herbicides.
The problem is even worse when it comes to LSD and MDMA, which are much less harmful than alcohol when pure according to Nutt et al, but people buying them on the black market have no idea what might be in that tablet, powder, liquid, or tab they're buying. R18 legal sales would solve this, not to mention bringing in significant tax revenue.
Rob Ueberfeldt Sat 19 Apr 2014 11:36PM
My views on psychoactive drugs have changed somewhat since a month ago. We live in interesting times and the legal high debate has reared in NZ.
My comments regarding the 1930s US alcohol prohibition were incorrect. Alcohol was actually decriminalised in the USA during the prohibition personal possession and manufacture were legal.
NZ needs to
Repeal the PSA
Allow cannabis cultivation and sales
Legalise all drugs for personal use.
The PSA bought forth several new classes of crime here is incomplete list.
Selling unregulated NPS (novel psychoactive substance), importing unregulated NPS, consuming unregulated NPS, possession for supply of unregulated NPS and possession for personal consumption of unregulated NPS.
The PSA is a deliberate attempt to derail drug law reform and to stop any form of harm minimization being implemented through bureaucratic go slow. Currently the list of NPS that are allowed to be sold have been reduced dramatically down to 41, the testing protocols have been stalled by lack of government input (the go slow). By 2015 all the substances that are sold must have been tested and approved, however if there are no testing protocols then they can't be approved so will become illegal. Currently city councils all over NZ are working out ways of shutting down NPS shops and the ministry of Health is being pressured to remove more substances whilst limiting retail licenses further. This spells further doom for cannabis ever being legal through the PSA as was hoped by some drug law reformers.
Rob Ueberfeldt Sat 19 Apr 2014 11:42PM
Legalise everything for personal use, legalise pot for sale. Novel psychoactives need some level of testing beyond "hey it doesn't seem to be killing anyone" before they are sold.
Hows that for policy!
Hubat McJuhes Tue 22 Apr 2014 8:15AM
While there is a couple of details that I dislike, the overall proposal of the Greens seems very much in line with the consensus areas in our discussions so far.
I wonder if we could agree in simply supporting the Greens proposal?
Andrew Reitemeyer Sat 24 May 2014 7:25PM
We have been concentrating on recreational drugs but we should also consider if harm reduction should also be the guiding principle for physical and cognitive enhancing drugs that are useful to enhance physical activities such as labour or sport and learning and concentration.
The use of drugs in sport is well known but what about at work? What if bosses required the use of steroids or noetic drugs at work. Is the use of learning enhancing drugs or devices cheating?
Danyl Strype Thu 18 Jun 2015 7:32AM
According to this article in the Guardian, 5 US states have now legalized recreational cannabis sales (as well as Washington and Colorado, there is now Oregon, Alaska, and DC), and a new study looking for evidence that teenage cannabis use is increasing in states with medicinal cannabis legalized has found none:
I agree with @robueberfeldt . Remove all laws criminalizing possession and production of any drug for personal use (and non-commercial "social dealing"). Create an R18, regulated market for cannabis similar to that of alcohol (but with no advertising allowed).
[deactivated account] Thu 18 Jun 2015 1:17PM
Paul Quigley a senior Emergency Department doctor at Wellington Hospital, when he is not browsing Linked In, has stated that Ecstasy should be legalised to reduce alcohol admissions to ED.
I move that we adopt a legalise Ecstasy policy also.
Rob Ueberfeldt Thu 18 Jun 2015 10:00PM
My current and ever changing position is that we should regulate cannabis as a 'pharmacy only medicine'. It should be legal to carry up to an ounce, to grow and harvest up 10 plants, my quantities are pretty arbitrary but I feel there needs to be a distinction between personal use and commercial growing for this model to work. The state should issue licenses to supply the pharmacy sales, thereby guaranteeing medical supply. A 'pharmacy only medicine' is less restricted than a 'prescription only medicine' under our current laws and allows people to possess without legal sanction. I feel this a compromise that would work, I dislike using the term decriminlisation, some people use the word for legalisation, though many think that instant fines are OK and use that word to describe that model for law reform, I think instant fines for personal is not OK. Pharmacy only is more legalisation than decriminlisation, though it gives some assurances to the public that it wont be a free for all.
Hubat McJuhes Fri 19 Jun 2015 10:33AM
@andrewmcpherson also see Doctor: Legalisation of pure MDMA should be considered
Hubat McJuhes Sun 21 Jun 2015 12:05AM
@robueberfeldt It is great to see you back.
Personally I am in favour of a more radical approach and lift all restrictions on Cannabis. But I understand that most people would be scared off by such a request. As a democrat I accept that we have to strive for solutions that the majority feels comfortable with. Your suggestions appear to me to very well balance the most urgent need of change with the less justified but very effective fears of many.
I would like to see a PPNZ policy evolve along those lines of yours. Do you have a suggestion for a concrete text to decide upon?
Hubat McJuhes Sun 21 Jun 2015 12:28AM
@robueberfeldt regarding the wording issue: I prefer decriminalisation over legalisation.
Legalisation is about changing an attribute of Cannabis. But most people are not interested in using Cannabis, so why should they care about the legal status of it? They can just happily agree to it being illegal as it doesn't affect their lives at all. No need to think further and look closer into the arguments brought forward.
Decriminalisation is about the users of Cannabis. It is about socially labeling and excluding our mostly young people from society, hence imposing hardship to people for too little a reason. Many people not interested in Cannabis may very sympathise with the faith of our youth if explained carefully.
When talking about our policies I would suggest to use the word restrictions a lot, arguing that we want to destroy a drug market that is currently unregulated (as is the nature of unofficial illegal markets). And we want to regain control over the distribution and quality of the substance so that we able to impose and enforce the restrictions in distribution and use that as a society we see fit. Such a wording may assist in addressing those fears that are around.
Rob Ueberfeldt Sun 21 Jun 2015 1:12AM
Decriminalise by making it a 'pharmacy only medicine' which leaves the option to bust people for large scale unlicensed grow ops and large scale unregulated dealing :).
Danyl Strype Tue 23 Jun 2015 3:03PM
 I'm pleased to see you back too Rob :)
I think it makes sense to break drug policy into two quite distinct aspects:
1) use, possession for us, and non-commercial "social dealing" (as defined in the Law Commission's report)
2) commercial growing and sales
1) We previously agreed to a proposal to follow Portugal's example and legalize all non-commercial activity involving drugs. Is this still the consensus for this aspect?
2) Moving on to the commercial aspect, I'm sorry but I fail to see the justification for allowing police to bust people for growing or selling a drug less dangerous than alcohol. 10 years ago, "decriminalisation" (legalise possession for use but not sales or commercial growing) or "med pot only" made sense as a "realistic" step forward. Now, with Uruguay and 5 US states legalising regulated retail, I see no reason not to push for Aotearoa to follow this example. This is the rational policy, the compassionate policy, and the financially sensible policy (sales tax income to the public purse instead of draconian enforcement spending of public money).
See also Jamaican politician planting ganja at a university and announcing that commercial legalisation in on the way:
...and a full legalisation bill presented to the Irish assembly, the Dáil, to be voted on by the end of the year:
[deactivated account] Tue 23 Jun 2015 3:26PM
I agree that we need a legalise marijuana and ecstasy policy given the success of overseas states and nations that have legalised sales.
However I see the @robueberfeldt point to pharmacy sales as being something that could ensure cheap and reliable supply, which is the main point to consumers. We have seen that legal retail pot in Colorado has seen high prices from insufficient supply, so a traditional pharmacy would have more than enough logistical experience in meeting demand.
Also most reasonable pharmacists would be more than happy to be able to supply something that is always in demand year round, and be able to understand interactions with other medications.
Poll Created Tue 23 Jun 2015 3:38PM
That NZPP support doctors being free to prescribe medicinal cannabis Closed Tue 30 Jun 2015 11:07AM
That NZPP support doctors being free to prescribe medicinal cannabis with no requirement for special permission from the Health Minister, just as they are currently free to prescribe much more dangerous and addictive drugs like morphine, oxycontin, or methodone.
Please note that if we have consensus on this, we still need to discuss our policy on the rules around how medicinal grade cannabis is to be supplied, in what forms (herbal for vaporizing? tincture? edibles? pharmaceuticals like Sativex only?), and by whom (grow your own? not-for-profit grow-ops? government grown?).
|Results||Option||% of points||Voters|
|Undecided||0%||16||TF KT CM BK PA DU|
4 of 20 people have voted (20%)
Wed 24 Jun 2015 2:31AM
Doctors shouldn't have to ask a politician to let them prescribe the appropriate medicine for their patient.
Danyl Strype Tue 23 Jun 2015 3:40PM
Good point @andrewmcpherson, medical drugs are a separate aspect of drug policy again, which need their own consensus. I've put up a proposal to test consensus on whether we support the use of cannabis as a medicine. If this passes, we can move on to discussing the implementation details mentioned in the "Please note" section of the proposal.
Hubat McJuhes Wed 24 Jun 2015 9:37PM
I agree with @strypey in what the most reasonable position is. I agree with @robueberfeldt that a policy that leaves some restrictions in place, particularly a licensing regime for all commercial growing and distribution, makes it much easier to communicate and , in consequence, realise effective changes that tackle the harmful current policies of stigmatising and criminalising significant parts of our youth (plus the health issues stemming from uncontrolled harmful by-products of illegally distributed dope).
Once such a more liberal but strictly restricted system is in place, it can be reviewed after some years and if - as we would expect - the findings are that all social effects are just positive and only the restrictive licensing system appears as a poorly justified bureaucratic burden, then it will not raise much opposition to simply drop that. If, on the contrary, for any reasons, the findings are that there are unwanted social side effects, then it will actually be good to have those restrictions in place to deal with the issues at hand before going the next step.
So I would prefer Rob's approach at the present point in time as it is the more politically pragmatic position and, even though not aiming at the perfect implementation, it represents the leap out of the misery cannabis users are in, currently.
Rob Ueberfeldt Thu 25 Jun 2015 12:06AM
"2) Moving on to the commercial aspect, I’m sorry but I fail to see the justification for allowing police to bust people for growing or selling a drug less dangerous than alcohol."
We bust people for selling food when they are unlicenced... We bust people for selling food if they don't pay tax... We bust people for selling food if it is contaminated or just plain unhygienic. My model allows for commercial gain but with oversight. You might consider cannabis less dangerous than alcohol but let's keep a mind as to what it can do and what it is capable of. Cannabis, especially when eaten can seriously affect your mind state, this is not on par with selling a simple food product and I see no reason not to have some regulation around commercial activity. TBH we regulate the sale of almost every product imaginable to some degree depending on its use and possible misuse, I think it would be odd to give a cannabis a free pass, though I will admit the 'pharmacy only' model is a compromise and could bettered in time.
Hubat McJuhes Thu 25 Jun 2015 11:50AM
I don't know about 'Cannabis, especially when eaten can seriously affect your mind state'. A source would be good to have for this statement.
But I do agree that cannabis has an effect and can be dangerous. I remember a friend who once drove his car with his head sticking out of the opened side window because he couldn't see anything through the windscreen - as there where too many demons sitting on the windscreen. Another time his legs vanished - the only way for him to break the car was by using his will-power. He nonetheless considered himself a save driver - even when sober. I don't.
I think to consume cannabis safely you either need a lot of experience or good guidance, better both.
I prefer the uncool packaging with the even more uncool explanatory booklet of a pharmacy product over the joyful and carelessly inviting packaging of a commercial product in the supermarket that makes you think it is just a treat like any other, a bunch of cherries or confect.
I am sure this is not what @strypey has in mind, but again: let us start with the big leap into something incomplete but bearable; and from there let us go the last steps with less pressure.
Danyl Strype Thu 25 Jun 2015 5:08PM
I just reread @robueberfeldt 's comment. My problem with Rob's model is that it fudges together medicinal sales and recreational sales. I think there are three separate aspects here, which need separate policies:
1) non-commercial use and sharing
2) medicinal use and prescription
3) regulated commercial sale,
Particular forms of cannabis are useful as medicine, and as my proposal implies, I think doctors should be able to prescribe the appropriate form for their patients' needs. Keeping in mind that even when the law changes stereotypes and prejudice will persist for a while, I don't think people using cannabis under doctors orders should be lumped in with recreational users. Also, I don't think people who like to smoke recreationally should have to pretend to be self-medicating.
So I think we need to two more pieces of policy here (on top of the legalize personal use one we already agreed on)
* medicinal: a government-run cannabis supply, distributed on prescription from pharmacies or other licensed places (eg Green Cross style grow-ops)
* recreational: licensed commercial sales along the same lines as bars and bottle shops
Rob Ueberfeldt Thu 25 Jun 2015 11:02PM
‘Cannabis, especially when eaten can seriously affect your mind state’. Source Rob Ueberfeldt. It has happened to me a couple of times now :) and I have seen it happen to others.
"My problem with Rob’s model is that it fudges together medicinal sales and recreational sales."
I think that is my models strength, it creates one policy that would work for all people except those who want to grow commercial or deal commercial with no oversight.
Danyl Strype Sun 1 Nov 2015 9:49AM
Some drug law reform activists agreed that it’s come time for a citizens-initiated referendum, and have been discussing the possible timing. It would make sense to have the actual vote at the same time as the next general election, to force the parties in parliament and the mass media to treat it as a serious election issue. That means we would need to start collecting the signatures early next year, and we urgently need to come to a broad agreement about exactly what the question should be.
Considering our high level of support for reform, should Pirates be involved in this, and in what capacity?
Hubat McJuhes Mon 2 Nov 2015 7:57AM
I regard this as an important issue where we need to formulate a strong and liberal stance.
But I think that it is not the right time to campaign on this issue at the present point in time.
The is currently a number of campaigns going on which are of the highest importance. These are about organising the resistance against the TPPA as well as awareness about climate change with the conference happening in December.
We should not divide the attention of people even more and add our share to the governments distraction strategy (i.e. flag referendum).
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 2 Nov 2015 7:57PM
I fully support the concept of a referendum. I have put my suggestions into the debate through some of the groups that exist on FB. My suggestion for a question is still "should cannabis be treated as a pharmacy only medicine?", though I can see that it will probably be closer to "should cannabis be treated like alcohol".
I encourage PP members to have their say and get involved. When the time comes I think a comment from the PP leadership that they support the referendum should be enough to show we are on the right side. I don't think we can do much more, we don't really have the membership or organisation to get involved collecting signatures or actually being part of the organisation. We can acknowledge the referendum on the forums that we are part of.
Rob Ueberfeldt Mon 2 Nov 2015 9:21PM
Hubat McJuhes Sat 14 Nov 2015 4:11AM
@robueberfeldt There cannot be a comment from the PP leadership as there is no PP leadership. The board is abandoned in favour of a working group model. You can ask the membership for a descision and argue for your position, as any member can. If the membership agrees with your proposl, that is te highest authority that you can ever get - and in my eyes much more woth than a comment from some board members.
If you form a working group with 3 or more pirates as members engaging, and this group declares you as the speaker of that group, you are free to speak for that group in the name of the Pirate Party, following the 3-pirates-rules.
I can ensure you my support if you walk into the direction you have outlined. My earlier comment was only trying to add a consideration into the planning, not indicating any objection or resistence.
Rob Ueberfeldt Sat 14 Nov 2015 4:47AM
How do I start a new thread? Basically asking the question, "should the PP support the spirit of a cannabis referendum?". Possibly we need to wait for a referendum to appear as knowing the wording might dictate whether members would like to support it or not.
Hubat McJuhes Sat 14 Nov 2015 5:07AM
To me it would appear natural to not start a new thread for that but to simply request a new decision in this thread.
If you want to start a working group on that matter or more generic a health policy group or anything, you should be able to create a new sub-group in the main group and ask for members to engage.
If you find you have not sufficient rights to do that, then I would suggest to send a mail to [email protected] as this will reach the people who used to be in the board and whould certainly have the rights to grant those rights to you too.
Andrew Reitemeyer Sun 15 Nov 2015 7:07PM
As far as supporting a referendum goes Pirates overwhelmingly support referendums - so long as the question is fairly put and the voters have a chance to educate themselves on the subject. On cannabis Pirates support individual choice.
Once the wording is known PPNZ could adopt a policy that either supports one side of the refer or encourages people to take part.
@robueberfeldt when I look at the loomio list of members for PPNZ you are not present but you are on some of the sub groups. That might be the problem -
try https://www.loomio.org/g/EatD8u7s/pirate-party-of-new-zealand and see if you can ask for an invitation to join
Hubat McJuhes Mon 16 Nov 2015 6:49AM
The Ministry of Health is consulting on the draft update of the New Zealand Health Strategy and accepts submissions until the 4th of December.
Should we and could we prepare a submission in time?
@robueberfeldt : If you are creating a health workgroup, I would propose to make this the first thing to work on. I would also think that forming a workgroup would be the best framework to get something going quickly enough.
I would happy to be part of that group (but may not have plenty of hours to contribute).
@strypey might want to join in as well? If so, we would have the required 3 pirates at hand already :-?
Danyl Strype Sun 22 Nov 2015 10:30AM
I'm juggling a lot of balls right now, which is why I haven't been very active on Loomio for the last few weeks, so I can't really commit to be part of a new working group. Sounds like a great idea though, and thanks for thinking of me.
Danyl Strype · Mon 16 Dec 2013 6:15AM
As a sound-bite summary, I would suggest "the Pirates support an immediate end to all arrests for non-violent drug offences, whether for possession, retailing, or production. Since this would allow people to run businesses producing or selling drugs which are currently illegal, these businesses would need public oversight and regulation, along the lines of the systems we use to regulate the alcohol and tobacco industries".
As for a detailed policy statement and an evidence-base to support it, I would start with a review of the policy work the Greens, Cannabis Party, and Young ACT have done, and create a Pirate fork of it.