If Politicians Don’t Like Binge Drinking, They Need To Legalise The Cannabis Alternative

Smoking cannabis is safer than drinking a crate, but if we’re not allowed cannabis then we’ll drink the crate

Another Crate Day, another opportunity for self-righteous old wowsers to stand up and condemn partying and having a good time. Unfortunately, New Zealand is full of these useless old bastards, and they’re as stupid as they are pompous. If our political class had any clue, they would legalise cannabis immediately so that there was a recreational alternative to alcohol.

Jonathan Coleman, the former National Health Minister who presided over the gutting of the New Zealand mental health system and the subsequent highest teen suicide rate in the world, is currently one of the most prominent. Coleman slashed funding to rape crisis centres and community crisis teams for the sake of tax cuts for the wealthy, driving many poor families into a desperation that was frequently fatal, and this week he was in the news criticising Crate Day.

Coleman said that Kiwi patterns of heavy alcohol use are “part of a past New Zealand should be leaving behind”. Binge drinking is, indeed, a remnant of the sleazy and vulgar New Zealand that many of us want to leave behind, but the political class gets the Police to put us in cages if we use any alternative to alcohol.

The vast majority of us know that cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol, and we have been trying to tell the ruling class this ever since it was made medicinally legal in California in 1996. So why didn’t the National Party legalise it when they were in power?

There is plenty of evidence that shows that rates of binge drinking decrease when cannabis is legalised. The reasons why are obvious to anyone who thinks about it honestly: people have recreational needs that must be met otherwise mental illness will result, and getting fucked up can be one of those needs (of course the old wowsers and control freaks will never admit this).

Given a choice of different ways to get fucked up, most people will choose the healthiest way, unless they have a death wish, and this is why rates of cannabis use continue to increase in the West. When alcohol is the only option, it will have to do.

Robin Room, an Australian professor, has himself claimed that legalising cannabis is the right thing to do because there are fewer social harms associated with it than with alcohol. Pointing out something that has been long known to knowledgeable people, Professor Room has stated that the association between alcohol and violence makes it more dangerous than using cannabis ever realistically could be.

There is already ample evidence that legalising cannabis is the right thing to do from the perspective of decreasing human suffering, and if our political class had any sense they would get onto it immediately.

Coleman said “Crate Day is something, in modern New Zealand, we can do without.” What New Zealand could really do without is ignorant, arrogant, stubborn old pricks like Jonathan Coleman, who refuse to do the decent thing and admit that cannabis prohibition is an offence against the New Zealand people.

In New Zealand, Growing Cannabis is Worse Than Raping Children With No Remorse

This month, Brian Borland (pictured) received a longer prison sentence for growing cannabis than Noel Edward Thomas Williams did for raping children and blackmailing their family

New Zealanders generally like to believe that they live in a fair society. We like to believe that those tasked with maintaining justice, like our District Court judges, act fairly and with compassion. But this is no longer possible if you look at how the New Zealand court system treated a man who grew an illicit medicine, compared to a literal child rapist, this month.

Brian Borland, of Daktory fame, was sentenced to four years and nine months prison for four cannabis charges earlier this month, while a few weeks later a Noel Edward Thomas Williams was sentenced to only four years in prison for literally raping a child and showing no remorse.

No Kiwi can fail to be disgusted by the absolute failure of our “justice” system to deliver anything like justice this November. Edwards was found guilty of raping a girl aged between 12 and 16 and indecently assaulting a child under 12, showed no remorse at any point and despite the judge saying “for a child this is the last thing that is wanted,” – in other words, this was the most evil thing that a man could ever do to an innocent child – he got less prison than a cannabis grower.

What’s wrong with our country when you can rape some children and blackmail them for decades, destroying them psychologically and showing no remorse even after being caught like an utter psychopath, and get less of a prison sentence than someone growing a medicinal plant?

Are You Trapped At Stage 4 of Kohlberg’s Scale of Moral Reasoning?

The majority of people can’t get past the idea that the law is the law and must be obeyed without question – which makes things hard for people who need medicinal cannabis

American psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg had a lifelong obsession with morality and moral reasoning, and the best-known result of his research was his six-point scale of moral reasoning. A continuation of the child development studies of Jean Piaget, the theory suggests that people develop through discrete stages of moral reasoning, with each stage more sophisticated, effective and enlightened than the previous ones. This article discusses the tremendous number of people trapped at stage 4 of the scale.

Kohlberg’s scale suggests that moral sophistication develops over the course of a person’s life, with entry into each new stage marked by a brand new perspective which is different to the old one but still a derivative of it, in the sense that the individual holding it has “grown up” and become more of a functioning adult.

Essentially, most people start out with a similar level of moral reasoning to that of a wild animal. Kohlberg euphemistically referred to this stage as “Pre-conventional” and it consists of the wretches who do nothing but try to avoid punishment in stage 1, and the narcissists and psychopaths who are only interested in personal advantage in stage 2.

Conventional reasoning is where most people are. In this stage, moral decisions are justified with reference to what other people in society do or believe. Stage 3 of this involves an effort to display good intentions as defined by social approval, and a person here tries to be good and be thought of as good, wanting to earn a pat on the head.

In stage 4, a person comes to appreciate the value of the law. In this stage it becomes possible for a person to reason to themselves the need to follow a law or social convention despite that the people around them are not doing so. Someone here is capable of overcoming being induced by peer pressure into doing something immoral or criminal.

This is not the most sophisticated stage of moral reasoning, but in the same way that most people are intellectually unremarkable they are also morally unremarkable. In other words, most people just follow the herd and are neither vicious nor Buddha-like, and so they develop to here and no further.

It is speculated that most people never reach stages 5 and 6 of moral reasoning – collectively known as “Post-conventional” reasoning – on account of that they have neither the courage to stand out from the herd nor the intelligence to determine when it might be correct to do so. At these stages a person is willing to break the law if doing so would uphold a higher moral principle.

Kohlberg used to test the participants in his studies with something called the Heinz dilemma. This is a thought experiment in which the participants are invited to ask themselves if they might consider it morally permissible to steal a medicine if this was necessary to afford the medical treatment of a loved one.

New Zealanders often find themselves faced with something that we might call the Renton dilemma, after Rose and Alex Renton, who faced it. The Renton dilemma could be described as whether or not to act in order to help a sick person get hold of medicinal cannabis despite that the medicine has been prohibited by whatever local ruling power has claimed the authority to do so.

If a person was stuck at stage 4 of Kohlberg’s scale of moral reasoning, at which point they put the importance of the law above everything else, they would argue that Rose Renton should not have tried to get hold of medicinal cannabis without the relevant government approval, because laws like this must be obeyed for the sake of social cohesion.

The reason why this is dilemma is because a person who follows the law would not help a sick person get hold of medicinal cannabis, ergo they would let a sick person suffer needlessly for the sake of upholding the law.

A person at stage 5 of Kohlberg’s scale might not reason in such a manner, perhaps deciding instead that acting to reduce the sum total of human suffering in the world was more important than mindless obedience to a law that the people never consented to, and which was forced upon them on false pretenses and supported by lies.

Anyone who can’t get their head around the idea that the law can be wrong is likely stuck at stage 4 of Kohlberg’s moral reasoning scale, and it’s on issues at the forefront of cultural change, like cannabis law reform, where they get the most confused. Unfortunately, these people are by far the majority and the herd rules under the laws of democracy.

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Vince McLeod is the author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

Defending Human Rights Begins At Home

There’s no point in Jacinda Ardern’s Government fighting for the rights of “refugees” in Australia when it is committing human rights abuses against the New Zealand people by denying us medicinal cannabis

Watching Jacinda Ardern virtue signal about the need for New Zealand to take in country-shopping refugees from Manus Island is disgusting when she is representing a Government that is currently committing human rights abuses against its own people. The fact is that if the Sixth Labour Government wants to get a reputation for being on the correct side of human rights issues, it needs to start at home with a repeal of cannabis prohibition.

Putting a sick person in a cage for growing the medicine they need to alleviate their suffering is a human rights abuse. No reasonable person doubts this anymore, despite the 80 years of propaganda seeking to demonise the plant. There is ample evidence that cannabis is medicinal and should never have been made illegal.

Plenty of unreasonable people once argued otherwise, and unfortunately our law still reflects the conclusions drawn by those unreasonable people in the form of the Misuse of Drugs Act. But much like prohibiting women from voting, or to putting gay men in cages like animals, reasonable people have kept the pressure on to get the law changed to something reflecting basic human compassion.

The majority of the New Zealand people now believe that the politicians who criminalised growing medicinal cannabis, and the Police officers, judges and bailiffs that enforce this illegal law are human rights abusers. This is because, if people do not have the right to a medicine that takes their suffering away when they get sick, then they don’t have any rights at all.

A law that forces sick people to endure unnecessary suffering when those sick people could themselves be growing a palliative medicine is obscene. It’s more obscene than anything else currently happening in New Zealand, and this is why Ardern needs to begin with a repeal of cannabis prohibition and not by meddling with Australian “refugee” policy.

It’s clear that it’s important to the Sixth Labour Government that they are seen to be doing the right thing. Much of the argument for voting for them in the first place is moral – that a greater redistribution of wealth would alleviate poverty and that we have a moral obligation to reduce poverty because it causes suffering. So they have an obligation to actually make moral decisions.

It’s also clear that the Fifth Labour Government fell, in part, because the public perception was that it was more interested in being seen to do the right thing than actually doing the right thing. They started to appear hollow and dishonest to a jaded electorate, and the public became cynical.

In order to avoid this, Ardern’s Government ought to deliver a meaningful win to the disenfranchised and dejected masses who voted them in, and quickly. It ought to introduce an immediate moratorium on cannabis arrests, effective today, by giving notice to Police Commissioner Mike Bush that it had intent to repeal cannabis prohibition.

If the intent was to look good from taking correct moral actions, this is one that the Fifth Labour Government should have taken 18 years ago, because there was enough evidence for California to make medicinal cannabis legal in 1996. Ardern would do well to make up for the tardy refusal of the New Zealand Government to stay informed; a pig-headedness that has caused so much suffering.

Of course, if Jacinda Ardern had any real integrity, and wasn’t just another of the virtue-signalling hypocrites that Western voters now expect leftist politicians to be, she would make a public Government apology to those impacted by cannabis prohibition, emphasise that the New Zealand Government never had the right to make The People’s Medicine illegal and open discussions about compensation for past criminal convictions. That would be the result of making an objective, honest appraisal about how to put things right.

This is too much to realistically hope for, but we can still call for an immediate moratorium on cannabis arrests on the basis that prohibition will not survive this term of Government.

Why Kiwis Hate the Police II

Many forget that the warrant of a New Zealand Police officer is not to enforce the law but to keep the peace

Consider this thought experiment. You’re driving down a state highway at 100km/h, with some cannabis in your car. Going around a bend, you see a Police car upside-down in a river with no person in sight. Obviously the driver failed to take the corner, and is almost certainly in dire need of immediate medical help. The question is: do you stop and help, or do you just drive on past?

Most Kiwis would argue that the correct answer is clearly to stop and help. After all, it’s a medical emergency, and the Police couldn’t possibly be so unreasonable as to charge a person with a cannabis offence if someone’s life was on the line. Surely discretion would be used in such an instance.

These Kiwis would have more faith in the Police than Caleb Smith, of Greymouth. His story, which hit the news yesterday, has appalled New Zealanders. Smith made a suicide attempt, and part of the Police response was to search his house, discover some cannabis plants, and charge him with a criminal offense. He now has three criminal convictions.

This incident is very enlightening when considered in the context of broader relations between the public and the Police. The reaction of most New Zealand citizens when reading about the conduct of the officers in the Caleb Smith story is horror, disgust and outrage, but that isn’t the worst thing.

The worst thing is the effect stories like this have on public perceptions of New Zealand Police officers.

Stories like Caleb Smith’s tell the reader that the sort of person who becomes a New Zealand Police officer is the sort of person who is willing to go up to another Kiwi at their lowest point – in the midst of a suicide attempt – and kick him in the guts, making his life far more difficult for no benefit to the public good, and without the consent of the New Zealand people. It’s a person willing to be cruel simply for the sake of it, using their uniform as a shield to evade responsibility.

Like a dog, they just do what they’re told without consideration. At least, this is how the Police naturally start to appear in the eyes of the population they are supposed to be keeping safe when that population read about such incidents.

Cries of “They’re just doing their jobs!” don’t change the sentiments that stories like Smith’s make Kiwis start to have towards Police officers. In fact, mindlessly following orders is as contemptible as anything else – and people know this.

At the end of the day, every Police officer has the free will to refuse to enforce laws that are unjust, and if they choose not to exercise that free will they cannot complain of the consequences.

It is the duty of every sentient being to consider whether their actions cause suffering to leave the world, or whether their actions bring suffering into the world. That Police officers enforce a law on the Kiwi people that causes great suffering, and that they do so without the consent of those people – who do not approve of that law – is worthy of contempt.

If Police officers choose to enforce a law, even when doing so requires them to willfully add more suffering to the life of one of their fellows who is already suffering severely, then it’s only natural that the people come to hate them.

Why the Religious Oppose Drug Use

The religious are closed-minded about a lot of things, and drug use is one of them

One oddity about the Western political landscape is taken for granted with no explanation given. It is that the religious, especially the fundamentally religious, oppose all drug law reform measures. Considering that drug prohibition does immense harm to drug users by subjecting them to a justice system built for murderers, rapists and thieves, it’s not clear why the religions would oppose this. This essay looks at why.

The religious prohibitions against drug use seem doubly strange if one considers that many of the world’s oldest religious traditions involve the use of cannabis. This is particularly true of the South Asian religions like Hinduism, which arose in the same general area in which cannabis was cultivated. Why would a tradition of behaviour intended to get one closer to God oppose the legalisation of an entheogen?

The truth is that religion, insofar as it’s practiced in our modern times, has degraded into the opposite of a spiritual practice. 21st century religion in the West no longer has anything to do with apotheosis or sharing any genuine insight into the nature of God that a person might have had.

21st century Western religion is just a sham, selling a communal sense of moral superiority, to people with low self esteem, for money. The people selling it don’t want their flock asking too many questions. They just want them regularly returning to be fleeced for a steady passive income.

In order for this ancient scam to be possible, people have to be separated from true spirituality. If a person is connected to true spirituality then they will instinctively understand that ridiculous stories like the need to mutilate the genitals of new-born babies, or that failure to worship God in the correct manner would doom someone to eternal punishment, or that a desert full of inbreds in Asia Minor was the holy land, are all ludicrous superstitions that serve only to distract people from genuine communion with God.

So religions need to deny people their spiritual birthright in order to make them confused enough to exploit them. Therefore, they need to deny them the entheogenic sacraments that the people have used since prehistory to connect themselves with God.

Entheogenic drug use leads to novel states of consciousness, which lead to original perspectives, which have a deconditioning effect on previous brainwashing, obsession or delusion. In this sense it is very similar to meditation, which also leads to novel states of consciousness that have a deconditioning effect (and it’s no coincidence that the religious have also tried to replace meditation with ineffective lizard-brain rituals such as prayer, chanting, contemplation etc.).

The religious oppose entheogenic drug use because it leads to genuine spirituality, because once this is achieved a person can no longer be scammed with fairy tales that are only convincing to the ignorant. It’s just a rehash of the many-thousands of years old story of wealth and power and the lies told to secure them.

We Don’t Need a Cannabis Referendum – Just Legalise It

Conducting a referendum about a liberty that should already be guaranteed by human rights legislation has proven to be highly divisive in Australia

Kiwi cannabis users have been buoyed by the demise of the Fifth National Government. It is already clear from the change in rhetoric that the incoming Sixth Labour Government will approach the issue with honesty, in contrast to the John Key/Bill English/Peter Dunne approach. However, honesty doesn’t prevent one from making errors – and the decision to hold a referendum about legalising the personal use of cannabis is one such error.

It’s widely accepted that the actions of the New Zealand Parliament in passing gay marriage legislation was a wiser, less divisive move than the actions of the Australian Parliament in holding a referendum on the subject. The Australian experience of having a referendum on such an emotive subject was that the country tore itself in two, with many people eventually choosing to vote against gay marriage out of sheer bitterness and resentment.

The New Zealand experience of making it legal by Parliamentary decree gave the country an opportunity to come together in mutual desire to right the wrongs of the past. Even conservatives like Maurice Williamson saw the need to give a passionate speech in favour of a law change, and the Parliament itself went as far as singing a song out of a will to demonstrate that the old days of hate were over.

It’s also widely acknowledged – by the New Zealand people, if not by the New Zealand ruling classes – that withholding cannabis medicine from sick people who need it is an extremely cruel thing to do, and something only done because of hate. Certainly it’s much crueler than withholding marriage rights from people, which, while inconvenient, are hardly a matter of life and death or daily suffering and misery.

Moreover, it’s obvious from the experience of the half a dozen American states that have already legalised the recreational use of cannabis that the downsides of doing so have been massively overstated for decades. The predicted crime explosion and spates of suicides never eventuated – indeed, some research suggests that suicide rates can drop by almost 5% in the wake of legalising medicinal cannabis, and this rises to almost 10% in the cases of young males.

So why not just do the obvious thing, acknowledge the evident truth, stop lying and just make the personal use of cannabis legal by Parliamentary decree, as the Labour Government intends to do with medicinal cannabis?

This way we can avoid giving a platform to moronic bigots like Bob McCroskie to further divide our society with fearmongering and lies. The Australian equivalents to McCroskie have polluted media space with hysterical predictions of doom, further alienating gay people from the mainstream, and the same will happen in New Zealand if we also put a question of basic human rights to referendum.

Ultimately, no-one has the right to prevent anyone else from using cannabis. No-one has the right to take this freedom away from other people, any more than they have the right to prevent them from watching cricket or eating parmesan. Therefore, there is no good reason to have a referendum about whether it should be legal or not, because there’s ultimately no good reason to obey any law prohibiting the use of cannabis.

Our law should simply reflect this reality and make it legal.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.

Cannabis Law Reform Appears Imminent Under The New “Afghanistan” Government

The Afghanistan flag is black, red and green, like the alliance supporting the Sixth Labour Government

A black-red-green “Afghanistan” coalition has replaced National in the halls of New Zealand power, and so the absolute, mindless refusal of the outgoing National Government to countenance any kind of cannabis law reform is now no longer relevant. This means that the wasted decade might be at an end. This article looks at the prospects for cannabis law reform over the next three years.

Labour had already pledged to introduce medicinal cannabis within the first 100 days of taking power, at least to “people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain”, but questions remain.

It isn’t yet clear what definition of medicinal cannabis Labour intends to use when they change the law. What constitutes “medicinal” use of cannabis is a subject of considerable debate, not least among medical and mental health professionals. That it could be prescribed to people with terminal illnesses seems straightforward enough, but what qualifies as “chronic pain” could vary from a small number of acute conditions on the one hand, to a California-style wide range of ailments on the other (California has had legal medicinal cannabis since 1996).

The best outcome for cannabis users would be that the Labour Party adopts the same definition of cannabis, and treats cannabis the same way, as in Julie Anne Genter’s medicinal cannabis bill, currently before Parliament. This bill contains a very broad conception of medicinal cannabis and provides for users to grow their own medicine at home if they have approval from a doctor who believes that cannabis would prevent suffering.

A jackpot outcome for medicinal cannabis users would be for the home grow provisions of Julie Anne Genter’s bill to be made legal within the first hundred days of the Sixth Labour Government. Although we can be sure that all of the Green MPs and most of the Labour MPs would support this, Winston Peters and New Zealand First might prefer a narrower definition of medicinal cannabis in the first hundred days with a broader definition put to referendum as part of the deal with the Greens.

Recently it was learned that the Green Party had successfully negotiated to hold a referendum on personal use of cannabis at or before the 2020 General Election. Although it isn’t clear at this stage whether this will be similar to the referendum that successfully legalised recreational cannabis in Colorado in 2012, or if it will be some watered-down offer of decriminalisation, the very fact that a referendum is happening is excellent news for New Zealand cannabis users.

Although James Shaw is maintaining the lie that the Greens have supported legalising cannabis for 20 years, rather than tell the truth that they abandoned cannabis users for many years in an effort to appeal to the middle class, the fact that he feels the desire to take credit for the change in public perception regarding cannabis is a sign that he is sure that the wind has changed.

This column pointed out some years ago that it would be possible to tell when the public perception of cannabis had definitively shifted because politicians would start publicly claiming to have always supported a law change. Shaw is lying when he says that the Greens have had cannabis law reform as part of their policy for the past 20 years, because cannabis law reform activists have been challenging the Greens that whole time to update their cannabis policy to something similar to that of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, and they have only done so in the past year.

But that doesn’t matter any more. The important thing is that a lot of cannabis law reform should be happening in the next three years, under a governing alliance that does not suffer from the fear-based myopia of the National Party around the substance. It appears that the efforts of cannabis law reform activists to persuade the centre-left parties of the merits of reform have been broadly successful, and that the ruling powers are now of a mind to make change to the laws.

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Vince McLeod is a former Membership Secretary of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and author of the Cannabis Activist’s Handbook.