Who Are The Forces Of Evil In The Cannabis Referendum Debate?

Now that the cannabis referendum question has been announced, the real battlelines have finally been drawn. Every decent person understands that the forces of evil are lined up against the Cannabis Legalisation And Control Bill, but the question remains: who are they? Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, describes the opponents to cannabis law reform in New Zealand.

The easy way to tell who is for and who is against cannabis is by looking at the correlations between various demographics and their support for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in the 2017 General Election.

This can be done by importing the demographic data from the Electoral Profiles on the Parliamentary website into a statistics program such as Statistica, and then calculating a correlation matrix. Such an approach was the basis of my analysis in Understanding New Zealand, in which I calculated the correlations between all demographics and voting preferences and every other.

The strongest correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and being in any demographic is the one between voting ALCP in 2017 and being Maori. This was a gigantic 0.91, which suggests that the vast bulk of Maori people are in favour of cannabis law reform. The strength of this relationship can be seen from looking at the ALCP vote in the Maori electorates, which is around twice as high as the ALCP vote in general electorates.

Maoris are strong supporters of cannabis law reform for several reasons. The primary reason is because cannabis suits them better than alcohol, to which they have little genetic resistance. The fact that white people have thousands of years of genetic resistance to alcohol, and Maoris don’t, mean that the normalisation of alcohol culture is grossly unfair.

The other super-powerful correlation with voting ALCP in 2017 was with regular tobacco smokers. This was 0.89, suggesting that if a person is a regular tobacco smoker they are all but certain to be a supporter of cannabis law reform.

The reason for this correlation is that it’s mostly only people with mental problems who smoke tobacco, and these same people smoke cannabis for its medicinal effects. If a person has PTSD or anxiety, it’s often the case that tobacco and cannabis both have a similar medicinal effect.

One less strong, but still powerful, correlation was between supporting the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and being New Zealand born – this was 0.73. It will come as a surprise to many, but cannabis use is an implicit part of the New Zealand identity. It’s as much a part of who we are as rugby, beaches, barbeques and ethnic confusion. Therefore, people who are born and raised in New Zealand are much more likely to support cannabis law reform than those born elsewhere.

These correlations suggest that the average cannabis user is the salt-of-the-earth working-class Kiwi. This is proven by the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and being employed in working-class professions, such as community or personal service worker (0.77), labourer (0.71), machinery operators and drivers (0.70) or technicians and trades workers (0.43).

The pro-cannabis forces, then, are basically the people who are at the coal face of the tough jobs in New Zealand. People who work repetitive jobs or jobs with heavy social contact are the ones who tend to have the strongest need to destress at the end of the day, and it’s for them that cannabis law reform would be the most beneficial.

This gives us a good idea of who the forces of evil are.

Many of the opponents to cannabis law reform are old people. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and median age was -0.57. It’s necessary to note, however, that the correlation between voting ALCP and being on the pension was only -0.18, i.e. not statistically significant. This means that the relation to age and support for cannabis law reform is not linear – it rebounds among pensioners.

This replicates a pattern seen overseas. People tend to be anti-cannabis the older they are, up until the point where they are so old that their life starts to revolve around medicines and doctors. At this point it’s common for people to get exposed to cannabis and to come to appreciate its medicinal effects. So the brainwashing only lasts until there’s an element of personal interest in it, at which point it’s discarded.

Christians make up another strong anti-cannabis bloc. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and being Christian was -0.37. Christians have always hated cannabis users, in particular because cannabis is the natural spiritual sacrament of the Eurasian people. This is why Bob McCoskrie, funded by Church money, is taking the leading role in the anti-cannabis campaign.

Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists are all significantly opposed to cannabis law reform as well. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and belonging to any of these religious groups was at least -0.30. As mentioned above, this is because cannabis is a spiritual sacrament, and therefore its use is directly against the interests of organised religion.

Predictably, then, there is a strong negative correlation between voting National and voting ALCP. Interestingly, the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and voting National in 2017 (-0.70) is more strongly negative than the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and voting Conservative in 2017 (-0.40). This underlines the degree to which National voters are not motivated by conservatism so much as actual malice.

The forces of evil, then, in the cannabis law reform debate are the same old, religious bigots who have opposed every other attempt at making society better. They’re essentially the same people who opposed homosexual, smacking and prostitution law reform, and they’ll oppose everything in the future too, because any change makes them piss their pants.

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The Cannabis Legalisation And Control Bill: A Weak But Realistic Compromise

The Government released news this week about the exact form of the cannabis referendum question at next year’s General Election. The Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill, currently in draft form, will serve as the basis for next year’s referendum question. Long-time cannabis law reform campaigner Vince McLeod, author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, gives his thoughts on the proposal.

The proposed law is weak, but it’s a realistic compromise with the forces of evil.

Most importantly, it makes the possession of up to 14 grams of cannabis, a small homegrow and licensed retail cannabis sales all legal. As far as the cannabis-using community is concerned, this achieves most of the long-stated goals of cannabis legalisation. It’s broadly in line with what other states and territories in North America have introduced.

Section 18 of the Cannabis Control Bill will allow up to 14 grams of cannabis to be possessed in a public place, and for cannabis to be smoked at home. People are allowed to possess more than this if they are transporting it from one person’s home to another. There appears to be no limit on how much cannabis one is allowed to possess at home.

This will mean that it will no longer matter if a Police officer smells cannabis on you in public or while during a visit to your house. Evidence of cannabis will no longer, by itself, be a sufficient cause for the Police to attack you. Even if the case of smoking cannabis in public, which will still be illegal, the punishment is only a $200 infringement fee.

Section 15 of the Bill will allow for two plants to be grown at home per person, and up to four plants to be grown per household.

Two plants is not a lot. However, if you grew four plants in a small grow tent under a 600W light you could get ten or twelve ounces per grow. Assuming that you’re able to get hold of clones, this would mean ten or twelve ounces every eight to ten weeks. In other words, a household could meet its demands for recreational cannabis easily enough by growing it themselves.

Moreover, there is no proposed restriction on the size of the two plants, as has been the case in some North American jurisdictions. This suggests that people will be allowed to put down a couple of honking sativas in an outdoors greenhouse and get them both up to ten feet tall. Such an arrangement would make it legal to grow a year’s worth of cannabis in one season, sparing the need for the environmentally-unfriendly grow tents.

Section 19 of the Bill allows for recreational cannabis sales. Purchases will be limited to 14 grams per day, but this is at least two weeks’ worth by any reasonable measure. Aside from this, it appears the proposed model will be fairly similar to the cannabis cafe model that has existed in the Netherlands since the 1970s.

In other words, it appears that the proposed model is intended to allow for recreational cannabis sales in cafes in a similar fashion to how alcohol is already sold in pubs. Section 49 of the Bill makes reference to “consumption licences” which will allow certain premises to allow people to consume cannabis in public. Such premises will not be allowed to also sell alcohol, and will therefore follow closely to the Daktory model that Dakta Green has already established in New Zealand.

Despite these major wins, the Bill has a number of flaws from the perspective of the average member of the cannabis-using community.

Nowhere in the Bill has provision been made for running a mother plant that clones can be taken from. If one household can only have four plants, it makes having a mother plant that one can take clones off difficult. Against this criticism, however, is that it appears the Bill will allow for retail sale of feminised seeds.

It’s also a mistake to set the legal limit at 20. For one thing, it implies that cannabis is more dangerous than alcohol, which is entirely false. For another, it means two years where young Kiwis will be legally allowed to drink booze but not smoke weed, which will mean two years of exposure to the more destructive of the two drugs. Legal cannabis has been shown to lower rates of alcohol use overseas, and the sooner an alternative to alcohol was available the better.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Bill doesn’t address our right to use cannabis for spiritual purposes. Absolutely zero acknowledgement is made of the fact that cannabis is a spiritual sacrament, but this is not unexpected if one considers that New Zealand has been ruled by completely godless people since the turn of the century, and that for their sort spirituality is mental illness.

Also predictably, there is no provision for an official Government apology for conducting a war against them without their consent. The War on Drugs has been the worst human rights violation to occur in the West since World War II. The Government’s role in this war has involved decades of lying to the public about the effects of cannabis and putting people who defy them in cages. Their conduct has been obscene, and an apology should be part of legalisation – but it won’t be.

Perhaps worst of all, the Government is still committed to minimising cannabis use from the standpoint of cannabis use being inherently harmful. It’s possible that they have calculated that legalising cannabis would make it possible to strangle cannabis culture through ever-increasing taxes and red tape, as they have almost successfully done for tobacco. More likely, however, is that they have shifted thinking so that cannabis is now (rightly) grouped with alcohol and tobacco and not heroin and methamphetamine.

There are many possible criticisms of the Bill, but ultimately it is definitely worth supporting. All of the legitimate criticisms relate to aspects of cannabis law that could best be fine-tuned after the referendum has been passed.

Realistically, what the proposed Cannabis Leglisation And Control Bill means is an end to the fear. It would be taking away that dark, nauseating feeling that comes with being marked as a criminal. People smoking or growing cannabis at home will no longer have to fear saying the wrong thing or inviting the wrong person to their house, and the net result will be a reduction in the suffering of the New Zealand people.

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Next Year’s Referendums Will Pit The Church Against The People Of New Zealand

At the time of next year’s General Election, there will be at least two referendums. One will relate to cannabis law reform, the other to euthanasia. Both of them are likely to be fairly divisive, pitting large sections of the New Zealand population against each other. One of these conflicts, as this essay will examine, will be the Church against the people of New Zealand.

The Church is commonly perceived to be conservative. This is a mistake. People make this mistake because the Church opposes all kinds of social reform. But they don’t oppose all social reform – the Church is happy to open the borders to masses of illiterate Third Worlders who cannot be integrated. They only oppose some social reform, and there is a pattern to it.

The common thread to all the Church’s actions is that they all increase the power of the Church by increasing the suffering of the New Zealand people.

Christianity has always preyed on desperation. The more desperate a person is, the more willing they will be to subject themselves to the predation of the local vicar or priest. The more pitiful and wretched the man, the more likely they are to find salvation in a book of fairy tales about a magical Jewish carpenter. And when they do, they tend to write the Church into their wills.

It has always been a maxim of Abrahamism that misery will cause people to turn to the God of Abraham out of desperation. Happy people don’t need the God of Abraham – ample evidence comes from the declining rates of Christianity among the wealthy nations of Europe over the past hundred years.

If you’re the Church, happiness is bad for business. Therefore, the more misery they can create, the more powerful they grow.

In the same way the Church opposed the anti-smacking law (because they know child abuse leads to suffering) and they opposed homosexual law reform (because they know persecution of homosexuals leads to suffering), so too will they oppose cannabis law reform and euthanasia law reform. Their desire is to force New Zealanders to suffer, in the hope that our suffering causes us to give up on the material world and turn to Jesus.

The Church has never liked cannabis, for multiple reasons. This is strange if one considers that the Christian Bible states that God put cannabis here for our benefit (see Genesis 1:29). It’s not strange, however, if one understands that the Church is really a political entity and not really a spiritual one. Their primary objective is to grow in Earthly power, not to alleviate the spiritual suffering of New Zealanders.

One reason the Church has always supported the persecution of cannabis users is because cannabis is a spiritual sacrament that connects people to God, and the Church can’t earn money if people are connected to God by their own actions. The Church can only earn money by acting as an intermediary, and to that end they foster the need for an intermediary. This is why they have made such an effort, historically, to destroy all genuine spiritual and magical traditions.

Another reason is because cannabis is a medicine. As mentioned above, the Church gains power from people’s suffering and misery. Opposing cannabis law reform is the same thing as promoting anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress. All of those things create the kind of desperation that drives people into the arms of the Church or a particular congregation.

It’s for these reasons that cannabis is opposed by the Church and by Christians such as Bob McCoskrie.

The Church has never liked euthanasia either, as evidenced by the upset shown by Christian fundamentalist Alfred Ngaro at New Zealand First’s unwillingness to block the referendum on the issue. They have always known that the immense suffering that usually precedes death makes the dying person vulnerable to all kinds of trickery – in particular, a person is most likely to change their will to bequeath something to the Church when dying.

From the Church’s perspective, then, it’s best for the suffering of dying people to be drawn out as long as possible.

Fundamentally, what the Church wants is control. They don’t want us to have control over our lives – they want themselves to have control over our lives. They want to decide what we’re allowed to call a spiritual sacrament and when we’re allowed to die, much like they used to decide who we were allowed to love and when we were allowed to drink alcohol.

To this end, they will oppose both referendums because both offer to return control back to the people of New Zealand.

It’s clear to every thinking New Zealander that there would be less suffering if we had legal cannabis and euthanasia. Therefore, the Church is promoting the misery of the New Zealand people. They’re not doing it out of conservatism, or backwardness – they’re doing it because the Abrahamic cults are predatory ideologies of hate that gorge themselves on human misery.

Make no mistake – the Church is the enemy of the New Zealand people. They consider our suffering to be to their benefit, knowing that it will turn some of us, in desperation, to their arms. Anyone who opposes the evil that is Abrahamic religion and the political interference that the Abrahamic cults make in our lives is all but obliged to stick it to them next year.

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The Government Should Legalise Cannabis For The Rugby World Cup

Kiwis are rejoicing at the news that our owners have permitted us extended hours to drink alcohol on licensed premises while Rugby World Cup games are on this Spring. It’s true that anything that facilitates New Zealanders coming together in a spirit of goodwill is a good thing, and VJM Publishing applauds this move for the sake of the nation’s mental health. The really great move, however, would be to legalise cannabis for the Rugby World Cup.

A famous half-truth about New Zealand culture is that rates of domestic violence spike every time the All Blacks lose. The full truth is that domestic violence rates spike when the All Blacks win, too, because every time the All Blacks play, men get together and drink alcohol. When they do this, a certain proportion of them will end up bashing their wives and girlfriends (or kids, parents, brothers/sisters etc.).

Alcohol is great fun, and the value it has in facilitating socialisation and enjoyment of life cannot be measured. It’s impossible to quantify the quality of life improvements that follow having a really excellent time partying with alcohol, or the warm memories that come from having a great time drinking with friends, or the value of the friendships made because alcohol broke the ice.

On balance, alcohol is a good thing – but the negatives of it are considerable nonetheless.

As mentioned in Chapter 12 of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, alcohol is present in an estimated 30% of domestic violence incidents that the Police attend, and is believed to be responsible for 3.9% of all deaths in New Zealand. Including sicknesses caused by it and lost work days to hangovers or other alcohol-related conditions, the monetary cost of alcohol use runs into the billions.

Again, in no way is this to make the argument that alcohol is bad or should be further restricted. The problem is that there is no recreational alternative to it. You’re not allowed to go into town and watch the All Blacks at a cannabis cafe, and you’re not allowed to sit in a town square and watch a public big screen while smoking a joint. You’ll get arrested and put in a cage.

If you want to socialise with other people this Rugby World Cup, you get the same deal as at all other times. Drink alcohol or just fuck off back home.

Imagine a Rugby World Cup where Kiwis could come together without being pressured into consuming alcohol in order to socialise. This would finally mean that there was a recreational alternative for all those people who knew that they weren’t good on alcohol (arguably some 20% of the population).

It’s not a secret that the participants in most of those 30% of domestic violence incidents will be people who already know that sometimes they don’t behave well on alcohol. Imagine if these people were able to use a recreational substance that allowed them to be part of the festivities but which did not have the side effect of inducing them to get violent or aggressive. Many of them would take it – to everyone’s benefit.

Liberalising drinking hours for the duration of the Rugby World Cup might lead to more violence, sexual assaults and people killed in car wrecks, but it need not do so. If the purpose of liberalising such laws is to create a festival atmosphere for the duration of the tournament (and nothing can bring the country together like a Rugby World Cup), then it is possible for us to have our cake and eat it.

The way to achieve this is to legalise cannabis for the duration of the Rugby World Cup.

This would not mean a repeal of cannabis prohibition, at least not yet. What it would mean is a moratorium on arrests for public outdoors cannabis use for the duration of the tournament (or at least for as long as the All Blacks are still in it). We could pass a law that said, while the World Cup was in progress, Police would ignore public possession, use and personal trading of cannabis (although commercial enterprises would still be illegal).

This would mean that people could smoke cannabis in public as they can now smoke tobacco. They could meet in bonds of love, and share good cheer with a smile and a laugh, as alcohol users are permitted to do.

One can confidently predict the result of such a move, because one can observe how people behave in places where cannabis is already legal. Making cannabis legal for the duration of the Rugby World Cup would serve to create a relaxed, convivial, celebratory atmosphere for what is arguably the Kiwi nation’s most cherished quadrennial religious festival. It would create many good memories.

This will have several benefits over and above creating a festive atmosphere. It would also show New Zealanders that they don’t necessarily have to shit and piss their pants in fear at the thought of cannabis law reform. If cannabis users were given the opportunity to show that their behaviour was preferable to drunks they would probably take it. It would allow for a much better-informed cannabis referendum debate.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2018 from Amazon for Kindle or Amazon for CreateSpace (for international readers), or TradeMe (for Kiwis). A compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 is also available.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Does Not Serve The Good of Society

Cannabis prohibitionists have a fallback position when none of the usual rhetoric succeeds. It’s a vague appeal to some kind of “good of society”. This argument encompasses a variety of different sentiments, most of them fear-based. As this article will examine, this argument is no more true than any of the others.

At the time this article was being composed, it was in the news that a Dunedin man named Harley Brown had just been sentenced to two years and three months in prison for growing over a hundred cannabis plants. Meanwhile, another man named John-Boy Rakete had been sentenced, two weeks previously, to two years and two months in prison for bashing a man into a coma from which he is expected to never recover.

Imagine going to prison for growing a medicinal flower at the same time as a gang member who beat someone into a vegetable state, and seeing that gang member get out of prison before you. It sounds like something out of a Kafka novel, but it’s the reality of our current legal approach to cannabis. Can it fairly be argued that this arrangement serves the good of society?

It’s hard to see where the benefit to society is in this arrangement. Brown will be incarcerated at the cost of $100,000 per year, which is greater than the total value of the cannabis plants he had, even if this value is calculated using Police maths. As a result of his incarceration, a number of people will be made to suffer without the medicine they would otherwise have had.

How does this serve the good of society?

Rather than serving the good of society, prohibition puts us at each other’s throats. The friends and family of Harley Brown will probably have contempt for the system for the rest of their lives. Most people who compare the two cases above and their respective sentences will conclude that something is fundamentally rotten with our justice system, which appears to dish out punishments with no consideration given to how much suffering the perpetrator may have caused.

The good of society is served by alleviating the suffering of the people in that society. Education is a public good because ignorance causes suffering. Healthcare is a public good because disease causes suffering. Infrastructure is a public good because mobility restrictions cause suffering. Anything that is genuinely a public good alleviates suffering somewhere.

Prohibition serves no such good. As has been demonstrated in the previous chapters of this book, it doesn’t prevent suffering, but, to the contrary, it causes suffering. There is no social good served by arresting people who aren’t harming any one. Neither is any good served by imprisoning these people. Least of all is any good served by lying about how cannabis causes harm to the community.

The ultimate reason why cannabis prohibition does not serve the good of society is that the people will never accept not being allowed to use cannabis. The people will always intuitively feel that they have the right to use cannabis, because it alleviates suffering, because it’s a social tonic and because it can connect people to God. Because of this, prohibition can only ever cause conflict between the people and those tasked with enforcing it.

The idea that people will eventually “come to their senses”, realise that cannabis is a dangerous drug, and stop using it, is nonsense. Cannabis prohibitionists have gone all-in on this puritanical delusion, and they have lost. It’s time to admit that reality does not reflect the idea that cannabis is dangerous, or that the harms of cannabis are in any way ameliorated by making it illegal.

The good of society is best served by honesty. Honesty is one of the most fundamental virtues, because it’s only through honest discussion that we can come to see the world accurately. Without being able to see the world accurately, we will make mistakes that lead to conflict.

This honesty would cause us to have a look at Colorado, where they legalised cannabis in 2012. In Colorado, none of the terrible things that the prohibitionists predicted came to pass. There wasn’t an outbreak of violence or other crimes, there wasn’t an epidemic of cannabis addiction and it didn’t become easier for young people to get. Everything continued the same as normal, only there was much more money on account of it no longer being wasted on enforcing prohibition.

Legalisation would serve the good of society much better than prohibition. A system of legal cannabis would not only increase social cohesion by removing one of the major wedges that drives us apart, but it would also increase the respect that the average person has for the Police, the Justice System and the Government. Not least of all, it would save us a ton of money.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Is Cruel

There are a lot of differing political philosophies in the world, and they disagree on a great many matters. The closest we’ve been able to get to a universally agreed-upon value is that the Government ought to act to minimise human suffering. This article will make the argument that prohibition ought to be relaxed because it is cruel.

Cruelty is a malicious disregard for the suffering of other sentient beings. It was cruel to perform electroshock therapy on people without their consent. It is cruel not to summon medical help when one encounters a person in distress. It was cruel to not allow homosexuals to express their genuine regard for each other. Cannabis prohibition falls into the same category.

Some people will argue that not being allowed to use cannabis doesn’t constitute cruelty because it’s not really a big deal. There are many other things that we’re not allowed to do, so what does it matter if cannabis is another one of those things?

But that’s looking at it around the wrong way. People naturally live, and part of life is to explore what comes your way. People will naturally use cannabis, because others will offer it to them. Some of those people will find they really like it, perhaps even enough to use it daily. Punishing people for an act that they do naturally – especially when that act harms no-one – is an act of cruelty.

It’s cruel to cage a bird, or keep a cat inside, because it’s a violation of their natural instincts to be free. The natural instincts of a human being is to explore consciousness. Isn’t it, then, an act of cruelty to prevent them? Preventing a human from exploring their consciousness is as unnecessarily restrictive as keeping a cat or dog in a small cage for their whole life.

Forcing people to follow arbitrary laws and dictates is cruel, because it makes those people feel like they are of less value than those imposing the rules. Putting someone in a cage where they suffer intensely from being in close physical contact with extremely dangerous people, just because they don’t follow those arbitrary decrees, is beyond cruel. Yet, that is what our system does in the pursuit of enforcing cannabis prohibition.

Perhaps the worst cruelty is that done to the family members of those who are incarcerated for cannabis offences. For a family member who is relying on certain other members of their family for income or support, it seems almost egregious for the state to incarcerate those others on account of a cannabis offence.

It’s unlikely that many cannabis prohibitionists would like to explain to a small child how the supposed dangers of cannabis are so great that it necessitates putting their parent in jail. They would much rather prefer that social workers and Police officers explained that to the children of parents imprisoned for cannabis offences. This cowardice exposes that cannabis prohibition is underpinned by an absence of compassion.

Some people ought to think about what sort of world they want to live in, because the compassion or cruelty of the laws under which we live have an impact on whether people act to ameliorate each other’s suffering or not. The legal system, whether we like it or not, sets the standard for whether we are compassionate or harsh towards those who really crash out.

Passing a law that says a person has to go in a cage if they grow a medicinal plant sets a precedent for what the appropriate level of compassion in our society is. And it’s a low one. Locking people up for using medicinal flowers shows that we are a brutal people. It shows that even if a person can provide a fair reason for using a medicinal substance, the Government can just bulldoze through and imprison them anyway.

Some of the older prohibitionists might like to consider that they themselves will soon be in need of compassion, because their bodies will continue to decline towards death. In a person’s final few years, they are just as dependent on the goodwill of others as they are in their first few years. If one is old, therefore, it’s to one’s own benefit to normalise compassion and empathy.

Even if the argument is made that the point of the cannabis laws is to prevent suffering (by way of preventing addiction and mental illness), the reality is that there are hundreds of millions of cannabis users who are happy to tell you that their use of cannabis prevents suffering. It’s cruel not to listen to these people, to tell them that their claims of being helped by cannabis are delusions and that they should be in a cage for their own good.

Ultimately, this argument asserts that there’s enough cruelty in the world, and that we don’t need any more. Cannabis should be legalised because it’s cruel to punish people for using a medicinal flower that doesn’t harm anyone. This would contribute to a world with less suffering in it – something that we all benefit from.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Effectiveness of The Prison System

One of the major problems with cannabis prohibition is that it makes other parts of society function sub-optimally. In the same way that prohibition makes policing more difficult, and makes a mockery of the justice system, it also makes a mockery of the prison system. This article looks at the argument for cannabis law reform from the point of view of the prison system.

The prison system, in practice, serves a wide variety of objectives. Ideally speaking, however, it needs to fulfill one primary and one secondary objective. The primary objective is to keep society safe from the predations of criminals. The secondary objective is to rehabilitate those criminals so that they don’t come back.

Cannabis prohibition is in direct conflict with this primary objective. The idea of keeping society safe from someone who grew a medicinal flower doesn’t make any sense, because growing medicinal flowers helps people and doesn’t harm them. In fact, doing so makes society more dangerous, for a number of reasons.

The most obvious harm is caused by taking a person who probably wasn’t malicious (a cannabis user), and putting them in close contact with genuinely dangerous people, who are apt to teach that cannabis user how to become dangerous themselves. Prisons serve as a university of crime, because crime is the one thing that anyone in a prison can count on having in common with other people in a prison.

There’s no overall benefit to putting someone who has grown a cannabis plant in prison with people who are going to teach him how to manufacture methamphetamine, or to embezzle, or to commit other serious crimes. The end result will only be an actual criminal. From the perspective of harm reduction, it’s counter-productive to take a person who wasn’t harming anyone and turn them into a person who does harm people. It’s madness.

Even worse is the harm done to the families of the people incarcerated for cannabis offences. The stress on the partner or parent of someone imprisoned is great, and lasts for at least the time of the sentence. Perhaps the worst of all is the damage done to the children, who, after seeing one of their family members locked up for nothing, inevitably come to see the state as their enemy.

One other consideration is that a person sentenced to prison for a cannabis offence may become embittered. Getting locked in a cage like an animal for an action that caused no harm is not the sort of thing can easily be forgiven. It’s the sort of thing that a person tends to resent for the rest of their lives, making them a nastier person. Everyone loses from this.

In the context of cannabis prohibition, the concept of rehabilitation – the second major objective of the prison system – doesn’t make any sense either.

The idea of rehabilitation involves convincing a criminal that their previous actions caused unwarranted suffering to innocent people, should not have been done, and should not be repeated. If a criminal can learn this, then they can be released into the community and be expected to not commit that crime again. As a result, the community becomes safer.

In the case of a cannabis offence, however, what’s to rehabilitate? How can one go about “rehabilitating” a person who hasn’t caused any harm to anyone? The fact is that it’s all but impossible to convince a normal person that they are a criminal on account of cannabis. It’s impossible to appeal to the harm caused, unlike a genuine crime, because there isn’t any.

Many people who are in prison for cannabis offences grew cannabis to meet other people’s medicinal needs. These people are the opposite of criminals – they are heroes. Although they might not be seen as such by the “Justice” System, they are certainly heroes in the eyes of the people with medical conditions who couldn’t otherwise access an effective medicine.

Every honest person knows that the cannabis laws are an example of illegitimate, unjust dictates, and therefore there’s no “rehabilitating” a person who defies them. The laws make our prison system into a sham by putting non-harmful people there. This causes harm to everyone related to the cannabis user, as well as harm to the average person’s faith in authority.

Legalising cannabis would return our prison system to its primary objective of keeping people free from harm. This would mean that our prisons were only populated by those willing to harm others, and not medicinal flower growers. This would not only make the prison system more effective, but also less cruel.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Doesn’t Work

Although this book is full of arguments for cannabis law reform, all of them are technically forms of one great metaargument. All of the arguments for cannabis law reform, as the reader will discover, explore different facets of the failure of cannabis prohibition. This essay examines the fundamental argument at the core of the case for cannabis law reform – that prohibition doesn’t work.

Although there are a plethora of different kinds of cannabis law reform, all of them are based on the recognition that cannabis prohibition has a number of costs that could be saved. Although it’s denied by many, prohibition does have costs – the cost of law enforcement, the cost of prisons, the cost of faith in the Government, the Police and the medical establishment, among others.

Therefore, in order for this cost to be justified, cannabis prohibition has to do something good. There have to be profits somewhere to make up for all the costs. If there aren’t, then cannabis prohibition is a failed experiment and must be ended.

So let us ask: what is the objective of cannabis prohibition?

If the objective was to prevent people from using cannabis, that has failed. In 2008, 14.6 percent of the New Zealand population had used cannabis within the past 12 months, which is comparable to the prevalence rate of tobacco use. A decade later, cannabis is even more popular than before, and tobacco even less.

No intelligent person seriously believes that the law can override the people’s will to use cannabis. Exactly like alcohol prohibition, which failed to stop people from using alcohol, cannabis prohibition won’t stop people from using cannabis. Not only do people have a will to use it, but they feel that they have the right to do so. They’re going to keep using it forever.

If the objective was to protect people’s mental health, that too has failed. Not only is there no correlation between rates of cannabis use and prevalence of mental illness on the national level, but there is ample scientific evidence that cannabis does not cause psychosis or schizophrenia. The cannabis-psychosis link is best explained by the fact that cannabis is medicinal for many mentally ill people, and so they seek it out.

Instead of protecting people’s mental health, cannabis prohibition leads to the further social isolation of cannabis users by making them unwilling to speak candidly to mental health professionals, or to their friends or workmates. If cannabis is illegal, then confessing to using it is tantamount to confessing to criminal activity, so many mentally ill people who need help would rather just sit in silence.

If the objective was to protect children from psychoactive drugs while their brains are still developing, that too has failed. Because cannabis is on the black market, and therefore sold by criminals, there is nothing in the way of age checks between young people and the cannabis supply. Gang members will happily sell bags of cannabis to 12-year olds if they have the cash.

People often make the “think of the children!” argument when it comes to cannabis law reform, but the simple fact is that prohibition makes it easier for minors to get hold of cannabis. Proof for this is as simple as asking a minor if it’s easier to get hold of alcohol or cannabis. They’ll tell you that it’s harder to get hold of booze because those selling it are serious about keeping their liquor license.

If the objective was to instill respect for authority, that’s completely backfired. Cannabis prohibition is so stupid an idea that the people at large have lost respect for those pushing at and those enforcing it. Although the idea that one’s politicians are stupid and evil is far from new, these sentiments become problematic when they’re applied to other segments of society. Prohibition, however, makes this all but inevitable.

Many New Zealanders have now come to feel that the Police are their enemy, because Police officers have shown themselves willing to confiscate people’s medicine and to imprison them for using it. Far from being the trusted community servants that they are seen as in places like Holland, they’re seen as enemy soldiers waging an immoral war against an innocent people. To a great extent, this is the fault of cannabis prohibition.

All of these arguments (among others) are discussed at length in the various chapters of this book, but they all support the central thesis – that cannabis prohibition doesn’t work. It doesn’t achieve its stated aim of reducing the sum total of human suffering, and if it doesn’t achieve its stated aims, then it isn’t justified to continue with it any longer.

The men who pushed cannabis prohibition on a naive and unsuspecting public almost a century ago are now dead. Whether they knew they were speaking falsehoods or whether they were genuinely misled is no longer material. The right thing for us to do is to assess reality accurately, so that we can move forward in the correct direction.

If we look around the world honestly, it’s obvious that prohibition has failed. Not only is cannabis culture thriving, even in the most unlikely places, but support for cannabis law reform is rising almost universally, across all nations and demographics. The most striking sign is the ever-increasing number of states, territories or countries that have recently liberalised their cannabis laws.

The cynic might say that this is an example of the bandwagon fallacy, but that is not an accurate criticism. The reason why so many countries are changing their cannabis laws is because the evidence against cannabis prohibition has now mounted so high that it can no longer be ignored. There are now many countries liberalising their cannabis laws for the simple reason that the evidence suggests that it’s a better approach.

Cannabis prohibition simply doesn’t work. There is nowhere in the world that has prohibited cannabis and observed any result other than more poverty, distrust, misery and hatred. It’s fundamentally for this reason that the cannabis laws ought to be reformed.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: Cannabis Does Not Make People Violent

As ridiculous as it may sound to many, the public opinion of cannabis and its effects have been informed by images like the murder scene from Reefer Madness. In the minds of a large section of the voting-age population, using cannabis leads directly to a desire to murder other people just for the thrill of it, or at least to an meth or alcohol-like aggression. This article looks at the truth.

Anyone who has been part of a cannabis-using scene knows that the supposed link between cannabis and violence is bullshit. It’s simple enough to just contrast the results of cannabis cafes in Amsterdam, or cannabis festivals, with bars and pubs just about anywhere else. Cannabis, by itself, makes people mellow in the vast majority of cases.

The myth that cannabis makes people violent was proven false as far back as 1977. A review published that year in the Psychological Bulletin stated that “The consensus is that marihuana does not precipitate violence in the majority of those using it sporadically or chronically.” All of the further research since then backs up this point.

Interestingly, that article cites the importance of set and setting, which is something that any responsible person would emphasise if they wanted to reduce harms (more on this below).

The presence of a scientific consensus that there is no causal link between cannabis use and violence doesn’t stop prohibitionists from cherry-picking data and research to create the impression that such a link exists. After all, there are correlations between all kinds of things, but (as any honest scientist knows) these correlations are often best explained by underlying third factors.

There is certainly a correlation between violence and cannabis, as there is between violence and everything on the black market. This is inevitable, because anything on the black market is all but guaranteed to be sold by someone who won’t go to the Police if they are ripped off, stood over or killed. Cases like the example of Marlborough man Colin Farrell, who was robbed of his cannabis plants in a home invasion, only happen because of prohibition.

It’s true of everything that if only criminals use it, it will have an association with crime. It’s also true that if something is illegal, then only criminals will use it. Therefore, anything that’s illegal will have an association with crime. This, by itself, explains most of the link between cannabis and violence.

Another reason why an association exists between cannabis and violence is that some people use cannabis as part of a pattern of polydrug usage during nihilistic benders. There are a lot of meth benders that end up with a person smoking cannabis to try and calm themselves down and get to sleep, only to find it not quite working, at which point something really out of order often happens. The same is true of alcohol benders.

This is why the headlines proclaiming things like “Cannabis Crash Tragedy Kills Five” inevitably lead into an article that describes how the driver was also drunk, and/or on meth and/or on prescription sleeping pills. The mainstream media is happy to play up the cannabis angle to these stories, partly because drink driving fatalities are not news and partly because it pleases the alcohol manufacturers who spend millions advertising in that same media.

Logical thinking tells us that, just because a person smoked cannabis and became violent later doesn’t mean that the cannabis caused the violence. This is an example of the informal logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc, or “after this, therefore because of this.” This is because people who smoke cannabis and become violent have usually been drinking alcohol or doing methamphetamine at the same time, or haven’t slept for days.

Logical thinking would ask: “Where are the cases of murders and violent crimes being committed by people who were only on cannabis and nothing else?”

Of course, there are few or none – even making an Internet search for examples comes up with little. This is because the people who are using cannabis without also using alcohol or methamphetamine are almost always just quietly using it at home, to relax, in a similar manner to how many responsible people drink alcohol daily.

Much like alcohol, the emphasis ought to go on educating people about the real effects of the substance. Absurd lies like the Reefer Madness story have to be consigned to history, where they belong alongside witch hunts, virgin sacrifices and the persecution of left-handers as embarrassing examples of human superstition, cowardice and stupidity.

The truth about things like set and setting have to be explained to people, so that they can make intelligent decisions about their cannabis use instead of relying on abstinence-based fearmongering (this is true of alcohol as well as cannabis). Part of this involves only using cannabis in situations where they are safe and where they don’t have to be responsible for anything, and preferably around people they like and who won’t harass them when they are high.

Any correctly informed person who is concerned about violence would support the legalisation of cannabis, because it would replace known violence-causing drugs (in particular alcohol and methamphetamine) with something that causes less violence. In reality, the connection between cannabis and violence is so weak that, far from being an argument for its prohibition, it’s an argument to legalise it.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.

The Case For Cannabis: An Elderly Perspective

The perception that old people are generally anti-cannabis is far from a myth. Although many elderly cannabis enthusiasts have plenty of friends who are pro-cannabis, statistics show a strong negative correlation between being aged 65+ and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017. This essay describes what those enthusiasts already know: that there is a strong case for cannabis law reform from an elderly perspective.

The unpleasant truth about getting old is that it tends to involve a lot more healthcare than being young. Getting old is tantamount to the body crapping out. It’s a miserable truth to acknowledge, but there is a strong correlation between aging and physical suffering.

Because of this elevated degree of physical suffering among the elderly, there is an elevated demand for medicines of all kinds. Everyone knows that old people are always popping pills for some ailment or other. The increased sickness and frailty that comes with aging means that elderly people are interested in all kinds of medicine and, increasingly more nowadays, in cannabis.

One of the areas in which cannabis has shown the most promise for the elderly is an alternative to opiates for the sake of pain relief, particularly in the case of cancer and terminal illness. An article in the European Journal of Internal Medicine describes how cannabis was found to be a safe and effective medicine for the elderly population in this way. Its greatest benefit seems to be found in replacing opiates and thereby avoiding their profound and unpleasant side-effects.

Cannabis has also shown promise in treating a number of conditions that are much more likely to afflict the elderly, such as Parkinson’s, insomnia, some forms of chronic pain, age-related cognitive decline and hypertension. This is only a small sample – cannabis has also shown promise in treating entire classes of illnesses, in particular inflammatory ones.

Despite the attempts by prohibitionist interests to equate cannabis with more harmful substances such as tobacco, the fact is that a vast range of medicinal uses for cannabis are already known. It’s very possible, given the evidence thus far, that further research into cannabis will uncover new ways to alleviate the suffering of the world’s elderly.

Some will make the argument that all of this evidence in favour of medicinal cannabis, which is an entirely separate issue to recreational cannabis. But just because the elderly have plenty of reason to support medicinal cannabis doesn’t mean that they have reason to oppose wider cannabis law reform.

It has been discovered in Canada that freeing up restrictions on recreational cannabis encourages doctors to write prescriptions for it. When “recreational” cannabis is illegal, this normalises the idea that cannabis itself is harmful, and discourages doctors from writing prescriptions for medicinal cannabis. Therefore, the two issues are inseparable.

The fact is, as Edward Bernays might have told us, that the amount of research that gets done into cannabis medicine for the elderly is a direct function of the degree of positive sentiment towards cannabis that exists in the wider society. The more people in general feel that cannabis is helpful and not harmful, the more likely someone is to suggest to research its medicinal qualities, or to agree to fund such research.

So the elderly everywhere have an interest in liberalising restrictions around cannabis, because this will lead to doctors taking an interest in the application of the plant to alleviating the suffering of conditions that afflict the elderly.

All of these things add up to there being good personal reasons for elderly people to support cannabis law reform.

After all, the elderly overseas support cannabis law reform – it has been noted that many of the beneficiaries of cannabis law reform have been elderly. The fastest-growing group of cannabis users in legal jurisdictions are the over-65s. The article linked here, from the Journal of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, states “marijuana use seems normalized among the older populations as more of those who ever used marijuana age.”

The fact that many elderly are against cannabis law reform, despite being the major beneficiaries of it, is not a contradiction. Those generations were the ones exposed to a viciously anti-cannabis mentality that was not above telling lies to demonise the plant. Because of this normalisation of the idea that cannabis is harmful, it’s understandable that someone raised in this era might still believe so.

However, there remains a moral imperative to look honestly at the evidence for and against cannabis before making a decision to support its prohibition. This ties in with one final thing the elderly might like to consider: the question of goodwill. This is a question of what kind of legacy they want to leave for those who come after them.

The Police are unlikely to arrest old people for cannabis offences (although they do). They are much more likely to go after the grandchildren of those old people. When the grandchildren of old people get criminal convictions for using cannabis, they have to live with those for the rest of their lives, and (as argued in another chapter) the effects of a criminal record are disproportionate to the suffering caused by cannabis offences.

The elderly don’t win from their offspring getting criminal records.

Ultimately, the elderly might like to think about cannabis law reform, not just for their sake but for their children and grandchildren. It will be those generations who will be looking after them in the old folks’ homes, and many of the nurses who work there would like to have access to cannabis to unwind after a day of work. The smart thing to do might be to stay on their side.

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This article is an excerpt from The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, compiled by Vince McLeod and due for release by VJM Publishing in the summer of 2018/19.