They Want To Cause Suffering To People They Hate

The latest cannabis referendum poll suggests that 54% of New Zealanders will vote ‘Yes’ in the referendum on September 19. According to the poll, there are significant differences in levels of support for the referendum between supporters of the various parties. Some people have found this hard to explain. For their benefit, this essay elucidates.

Paul Manning, Chief Executive of Helius Therapeutics, asked the question “What do they want?” in response to the news that many elderly and conservative voters plan to vote against the cannabis referendum. He points out that these people understand that cannabis is widely available and that cannabis prohibition is not working. So why do they support it?

The reason why most elderly and conservative voters intend to vote ‘No’ is because they hate the sort of person who uses cannabis and they want to cause them suffering. This might sound uncharitable, or even cynical, but it has to be understood that most elderly and conservative Kiwis are twisted creatures of hate.

For their entire lives, this generation of New Zealanders has been exposed to propaganda inducing them to hate cannabis users. Ever since the 1930s, when Reefer Madness came out, popular culture has normalised the idea that cannabis users are depraved, anti-social maniacs. This propaganda has had the intended effect on the elderly of the West, who mostly swallowed it hook, line and sinker.

This anti-cannabis propaganda stems from two main sources, both of which hate cannabis for its ability to induce free thinking.

The first is the Church, who have always hated freethinkers because freethinkers question religious dogma. For centuries, the Church has relied on the acquiescence of its subjects in order to brainwash them. Freethinkers were the enemy because they threatened this acquiescence, and thereby Church control – this is why the Church has always persecuted them, going back to the murder of Hypatia and beyond.

The second is the Government, which wants a compliant population of submissive worker drones. Their ideal citizen is one with an IQ of 90, who goes to work everyday and produces widgets or basic services without ever complaining. As far as the Government is concerned, they are running a tax farm, and their chief concern is to milk the livestock as profitably as possible. The last thing that want is someone rocking the boat with free thought.

The elderly have internalised almost a century of this propaganda. As such, they genuinely believe that cannabis users are dangerous radicals who threaten to destroy the foundations of society itself, and who therefore deserve all the abuse they get. This hatred, in their minds, justifies cannabis prohibition.

In America, it was admitted that the purpose of the War on Drugs was to smash people they hated. John Ehrlichman, aide to Richard Nixon during the latter’s presidency, admitted that the purpose of the War on Drugs was to target anti-war hippies and black people. In an interview with Harper Magazine, Ehrlichman is quoted as saying:

“We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Although it hasn’t been admitted, the same calculus applies in New Zealand.

There are almost no blacks in New Zealand, but elderly and conservative New Zealanders hate Maoris just as much as their American counterparts hate blacks. Elderly and conservative New Zealanders also hate hippies, who they associate with Communism and with the free and honest sex lives they wish they had had.

It’s well known that Maoris are strong supporters of cannabis law reform – the correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 was a whopping 0.91. The reason for this immensely strong support is because Maoris are adversely affected by cannabis prohibition to a much greater degree than other New Zealanders.

However, this disproportionate harm is considered a good thing by many elderly and conservative New Zealanders. They see Maoris as the enemy anyway – a thieving, bludging, ungrateful, violent enemy – so if cannabis prohibition harms them, that’s a good thing.

These elderly and conservative New Zealanders also hate other cannabis using demographics, such as young people, artists, hippies and freethinkers. Elderly and conservative New Zealanders do plenty of drugs, but their drugs are sedatives, alcohol and opiates. Cannabis prohibition doesn’t target them.

This hate is why arguments appealing to the suffering caused by cannabis prohibition often have no effect. Most elderly or conservative voters think “Cannabis users are suffering? Good! Smash them, crush them, destroy them. Ruin their lives with a criminal conviction. Imprison them so their kids can’t see them. They are the enemy and should be obliterated!”

The psychiatric damage caused to cannabis users by arresting and imprisoning them is considered a bonus by these people. Appealing to the cruelty of it makes as much sense, to elderly and conservative voters, as appealing to the cruelty of shooting the enemy soldiers on the other side of the battlefield. Of course it’s cruel, that’s the point.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy solution to the presence of this malicious streak in New Zealand’s elderly and conservative voters. Hatred is a deep emotion – usually too deep to be influenced by reason. The sight of intelligent young people like Chloe Swarbrick speaking eloquently merely aggravates the elderly and conservative, and further entrenches their prejudice.

At the end of the day, young Kiwis and Maoris can take solace in the fact that the old bastards who hate them are dying off. No amount of hate can stop the aging process, and the old bigots will lose their ability to influence the law once Time puts them in the ground. Absent measures such as forcing the elderly to surrender their voting rights in exchange for a pension, that will have to do.

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Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for ending cannabis prohibition.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 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 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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Cannabis Is Considered An Essential Medicine in America – But Kiwis Still Can’t Get It

With New Zealand entering “level 4” of the new Coronavirus national response system, commercial activity is being scaled back to essential services. This has led to some confusion as to what counts as an essential service. An unpalatable truth facing Kiwis is that, by the standards of several places in America, we are having an essential service denied to us.

The COVID-19 alert level is currently set to 3, out of a maximum of 4. This is similar to the American DEFCON system and refers to the current alarm level. A level 3 means that all non-essential services have been forced to close by Government decree, part of a schedule of restrictions laid out on the Government’s own COVID-19 response website.

What counts as an essential service is also listed on that website. The list covers all the skeleton services required to keep a no-frills society running: healthcare operations, food production and sales, security services, postal and courier services etc. The logic is that, despite the coronavirus risk, it would cause even more suffering if these services were stopped, so they have to be kept open.

Most countries worldwide are now moving into some kind of lockdown with movement or trading restrictions as a result of the pandemic. What’s interesting to note is that although all countries agree on the importance of, for example, social distancing, they don’t all agree on what constitutes an essential service.

Access to medicinal cannabis is not considered essential in New Zealand – the New Zealand Government considers growing medicinal cannabis to be criminal conduct. If you have one of the dozens of ailments that can be helped by cannabis, you can go fuck yourself. You’re not allowed to use it, and if you grow it yourself, you go in a cage.

In several places in America, however, medicinal cannabis is considered essential.

In Los Angeles, county officials declared medicinal cannabis dispensaries to be ‘essential services’ on the grounds that they are healthcare operations like any pharmacy. These officials understand that it is grossly immoral to deny suffering people a medicine that would help them – so immoral that, even in a time of national crisis, cannabis dispensaries need to be kept open.

It’s similar in San Francisco, where cannabis dispensaries are kept open on the grounds that cannabis is a medicine like any other, and that people’s need to access medicine during this time is the same as during any other time. The Dutch also allowed their cannabis cafes to remain open throughout the lockdown, reasoning that closing them would create additional health risks as well as empowering the criminal underworld.

Although the issue is not yet taken seriously by the majority of New Zealanders, accessing medicinal cannabis is a life or death issue for a number of people here. Studies have shown that introducing a medicinal cannabis law decreases the overall suicide rate, and by as much as 11% for men aged between 20 and 29. If one adds to this the lives saved by the application of cannabis to physical medicine, it shows that withholding it from people is causing a significant number of deaths.

It’s incredible that, in some places, the medicinal uses of cannabis are so widely accepted as to be understood by all, yet in New Zealand it’s still impossible to access it. This ongoing denial is a completely unnecessary form of sadism, and one that is entirely unjustifiable given the current state of scientific knowledge about the cannabis plant and its uses.

It’s most galling for those who currently sit in prison for an act deemed to be an “essential service” in other places. New Zealand must seem like a medieval shithole to those who are in cages right now for growing medicinal flowers, when that same act is considered an essential service in more enlightened parts of the world.

Cannabis prohibition is an act of cruelty that only continues because those with the power to change it hate cannabis users, and are indifferent to their suffering. The morally correct thing to do is to recognise that cannabis is a medicine, that people have a legitimate right to use it, and to legalise it straight away.

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Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for ending cannabis prohibition.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 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 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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New Zealand Should Legalise Cannabis For The Coronavirus Lockdown

It seems inevitable now that the country will soon end up in lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will cause a great deal of stress not only to our society and to our economy, but also to the minds of individual Kiwis. This essay discusses a simple, easy way that the Government could help the nation avoid much of the suffering coming our way: legalise cannabis.

When the lockdown happens, people are going to be trapped inside their houses for a long time. This sudden, forced, close proximity is going to sharply increase the stress levels of a great number of them. Kiwis are an outdoors people – for us community is found on the sports fields, the tramping trails and the beaches, not inside churches or auditoriums. Being stuck inside will be highly unnatural for us.

The Playstation will help for a while – a few days at most – but that will wear thin quickly. The lockdown will lead to sharply elevated levels of boredom and stress – emotions which, if felt for a prolonged period of time, lead to chaos and destruction.

New Zealand already has a serious problem with domestic violence, mostly due to the fact that alcohol is promoted while more peaceful alternatives are suppressed. In our culture, where most lack the self-confidence to speak eloquently, bashing someone is considered an acceptable way to discipline someone misbehaving.

We can predict, sadly, that the enforced proximity created by the lockdowns will result in a sharp rise in domestic violence. Having to live on top of each other for weeks will lead to more nagging and fighting, especially when some turn to alcohol to beat the tedium. As tempers fray, fists will fly. Because children will be at home from school, they will be exposed to it all. In some cases, this will cause long-term trauma.

The Government could pre-empt a great deal of this suffering today, if they had the wit and will to legalise cannabis.

One of the foremost benefits of cannabis is that it makes boredom easier to deal with. As Doug Stanhope said: “Boredom is a disease. Drugs cure it.” Cannabis can make all kinds of dull things exciting, and can make ordinary things seem interesting. Cannabis enthusiasts have found that weed adds to the appreciation of life in much the same way that salt adds to the appreciation of a meal.

If cannabis were to be made legal today, people could make plans to use it during the lockdown. Although it will not be possible to institute retail sales on such short notice, people could take measures to acquire it from those who already have it, who could themselves be temporarily authorised to sell it while a proper recreational system was being set up (although not to people under 18).

Such a move would ease a great deal of the extraordinary stresses to which Kiwis will be subjected in coming months.

The Government is going to have to deal with the prospect of civil unrest over the next few months. There has already been looting in London, if limited, as a result of the increased tensions. Although the nation is pulling in behind the Government now, this is only because the state of alarm is keeping people in line. As the lockdown wears on, people’s dissatisfaction will change their sentiments.

Legalising cannabis would make this much easier. It would provide relief to the great number of New Zealanders who will be suffering heightened stress and anxiety from the lockdown and from its economic consequences. It would provide relaxation to those disturbed by the disruption to normal life. Not least of all, it would allow for different patterns of thinking in these times of panic and despair.

Jacinda Ardern has already proven that the country is willing to accept extraordinary measures in this time of crisis. We have already accepted a shutdown of the national borders, despite the fact that this measure condemns to bankruptcy a proportion of our tourism, transport and hospitality operators. The general mood is akin to a siege mindset. It’s the perfect time to take bold measures.

A majority of New Zealanders have already accepted that legal cannabis is inevitable. The only holdouts are clinging to prohibition out of stubbornness, spite or malice. The COVID-19 lockdown offers the perfect opportunity to bulldoze through these last recalcitrants and to repeal cannabis prohibition.

Over and above all this, repealing cannabis prohibition would free up some $400,000,000 of Government spending and tens of thousands of Police man hours that is currently wasted every year on enforcing cannabis prohibition. Both of those things will be in desperate short supply over the coming months – time to acknowledge that they’re not well spent persecuting weed smokers.

If the Sixth Labour Government thought intelligently about it, they would understand that the COVID-19 epidemic had temporarily slapped the nation out of its usual slumber, and they would use this opportunity to do things that had previously been made impossible by obstinacy and cowardice. The Cannabis Control Bill that is scheduled to be put to a referendum this September could simply be passed into law by majority vote.

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Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for ending cannabis prohibition.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 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 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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The Fall Of Joe Biden Shows That Opposing Cannabis Is No Longer Tenable

Former American Vice President Joe Biden began as the favourite in the ongoing campaign to win the Democratic nomination for this year’s Presidential election. As the contest has progressed, however, he has lost more and more ground, and now Bernie Sanders has supplanted him as the frontrunner. As this essay will show, this fall can best be explained by one massive strategic error on Biden’s part.

It’s common for old people to fail to understand that the younger generations consider cannabis law reform a major moral issue. For the older generation, the anti-cannabis brainwashing was so ruthlessly intense that prohibition was taken for granted. People were so naive back then that anything said by an authority figure was taken as the Word of God.

Joe Biden has certainly failed to understand this. Referring to the contest for the Democratic nomination this year, Rolling Stone described him as “the worst candidate in the race” for cannabis users. He has consistently refused to concede any argument for cannabis law reform, stating repeatedly that he is against legalising cannabis at the federal level.

Even worse, Biden has warmly embraced the War on Drugs. Some could even say he was one of the architects of it. Biden has willingly promoted lies about cannabis, such as that it is a gateway drug, and that more evidence is needed before we can determine whether it should be legal. While Vice President to Barack Obama, he was part of an Administration that happily continued to force prohibition on the American people.

Part of this can be explained by the fact that Biden is old – so old that he’s not even a Baby Boomer. Back in the day, you almost had to expect that your left-wing candidate was going to be lukewarm about cannabis, because the still-brainwashed masses were too numerous, and politicians were forced to placate them. Biden has failed to realise that things have changed.

As is the case in New Zealand, voters for the left-sympathetic Democratic Party tend to be younger than voters with right-wing sympathies. As is also the case in New Zealand, young people are much more pro-cannabis (Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand has all the details on such matters). This means that Biden has completely missed a trick. Very few Democrats oppose cannabis law reform today.

This refusal to acknowledge the reality of young people’s lives is why the Biden campaign is now failing. He was paying only $3.30 to win the Democratic nomination on BetFair a few months ago – by today that has blown out to $18.00. In other words, the market considers him to have a less than 6% chance of winning the nomination today, compared to a 20% chance only recently.

By refusing to acknowledge the need for cannabis law reform, Biden has shown himself to not be up to the task of understanding the reality facing his constituents. This has left him extremely vulnerable to being out-flanked on the cannabis law reform front by candidates such as Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, by contrast, has made a point of ending the War on Drugs. His official campaign website states his desire to “end the War on Drugs by legalizing marijuana and expunging past convictions.” This clear and principled stand contrasts sharply with Biden’s timid dithering. It’s a message that has resonated with many of the young people who are tempted to not vote on account of that they feel all the candidates are shit.

This had led to Sanders’s support coming in – he is now paying a mere $1.91 to win the Democratic nomination on BetFair. Despite spending most of his political career written off as a kook, he is now odds-on to win the Democratic nomination, and (according to some), if he wins that he will be odds-on to beat Donald Trump in November. We could estimate that he already has a 30% chance of becoming the President at this stage.

New Zealand is at least a decade behind America when it comes to understanding the reality about cannabis. As shown in the graph at the top of this page, America was about evenly split on cannabis about a decade ago. Since then, the truth has won out, and the majority of people now understand that prohibition causes more suffering than it alleviates.

The pitiful reality is that a great number of people have gone along with cannabis prohibition simply because they had been given the impression that it was the right thing to do. The fact that the rest of their generation followed sheep-like into supporting the destruction of several of their number just seemed natural. It’s not until now that enough public attention has been devoted to the cannabis issue to make people question their assumptions about it.

It has been discovered in New Zealand that, of those undecided about cannabis law reform, the majority of them break in favour of reform once they are presented with accurate facts. Those who don’t question the brainwashing and stand against cannabis have been the majority for 80 years, but the more educated people become, the less likely they are to do so.

All politicians end up falling out of favour if they support a policy long after it becomes unfashionable. There are now very few mainstream Western politicians who openly state support for the criminalisation of homosexuality. The fall of Joe Biden shows that the time is coming when it will no longer be possible to publicly express a belief in imprisoning cannabis users.

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Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for ending cannabis prohibition.

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The Four Main Opponents Of Cannabis Law Reform

With the date for the cannabis law reform referendum now set, the battlelines have been drawn. The opposing forces have taken up their positions: the pro-cannabis forces on the side of God, and the anti-cannabis forces on the side of suffering, misery, ignorance and hate. This essay describes the four major groupings of opponents to cannabis law reform.

The first major group of opponents to cannabis law reform are simple cowards.

There’s a certain kind of person who is terrified of anything new, of any change at all – they can be called neophobic. In much the same way that a certain kind of person shit their pants at the sight of their town’s first Indian restaurant, there is a certain kind of person who shits their pants at any thought of a new psychoactive substance.

This teeming mass of sheep-like idiots comprise about half of the opponents to cannabis law reform. They also comprised a large proportion of the people who opposed homosexual and prostitution law reform, and they will comprise a large proportion of those who oppose the next change, no matter how obviously needed or overdue that change is.

The second major group of opponents are the sadists who oppose cannabis because of its healing and medicinal properties.

Hard as it may be to believe, there are many people out there who just want to create as much suffering and misery as possible, usually because it brings them a sense of gratification and power. In much the same way that sadism exists in many of Nature’s creatures, so too does it exist within the human animal. The human sadist recognises the medicinal properties of cannabis – which is why they seek to withhold it from those who would benefit.

Also in this group are the retards who will guzzle alcohol like there’s no tomorrow and belch smoke like a 19th-century factory from their cigarettes, but won’t touch cannabis on account of that it’s a “drug”. There are plenty of alcoholics out there who have boozed themselves into a state of permanent retardation, and some of these people, owing to this brain damage, support harsher sentences for cannabis users.

The third major group of opponents are the turboautists who can’t into anything as mysterious as cannabis use.

Cannabis use, like other spiritual enterprises, can be an extremely humbling experience. It can teach you that you really knew nothing about the world, and about life. The intellectually conceited sort of person, the one who has an egoic need to establish themselves as a recognised intellectual authority, has extreme difficulty with such revelations. They prefer ideological security and safety.

The intellectually arrogant are the same group of people who see all cannabis use as stupefying. They can’t get their heads around the truth of it because there are no recognised peer-reviewed journals on the subject. For these people, all talk of spirituality is mental illness, and so if smoking cannabis leads to a person talking about God, then smoking cannabis drives people crazy. They don’t want legal cannabis because it shows them up as the spoofers they are.

The final major group of opponents are the spiritual liars.

Cannabis is a spiritual sacrament, and has been used continuously for thousands of years for this purpose. Unfortunately, a great number of people in the West today are spiritually dead. Not only do they not believe in God, but they believe that death is the end on account of that the brain generates consciousness. This is not a natural state of affairs – it is because they have been lied to.

There are spiritual criminals out there who earn a living from withholding from people the truth about God and about consciousness, and then selling some watered-down, padded-out, corrupted version of it for a fee. These criminals have always tried to establish themselves as intermediaries between the people and God, and in order to make this profitable they have needed to destroy all true spiritual movements and methodologies.

These criminals recognise that cannabis makes their position untenable, on account of that it’s a spiritual sacrament that leads people to God directly. Consequently, they act to keep cannabis illegal, for the sake of holding people in a state of profitable ignorance.

These four groups cover the basic emotions that motivate people to oppose cannabis law reform: fear, cruelty and ignorance.

Some people fall into more than one of these groups. Many pretentious intellectuals are also cowards who don’t dare to step outside of well-travelled paths; many religious fundamentalists are also sadists. Someone like Bob McCoskrie might fall into all four: the pants-pissing, shit-talking, hippie-bashing religious bigot is almost the archetypal prohibitionist.

Changing the attitudes of anyone in one of these four groups is easier said than done.

There isn’t much that can be done to persuade the cruel and the evil, because the more information you give them, the more power they have to cause suffering. Those who are ignorant can be persuaded of the merits of cannabis law reform by appealing to the successful examples of reform overseas. Those who are cowards can be persuaded by showing them the rest of the herd changing their direction.

Ultimately, cannabis will continue to be used more by Maoris, by young people, by non-Christians and by freethinkers, and so anyone who hates one or more of those groups will tend towards opposing cannabis law reform out of spite. Anyone not motivated by hate, but rather by honest ignorance or naivety, can easily be persuaded to see how cannabis prohibition isn’t in their best interests.

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Vince McLeod is the author of The Case For Cannabis Law Reform, the comprehensive collection of arguments for liberalising New Zealand’s cannabis laws.

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Where In The World Does New Zealand Rank On Cannabis Law Reform?

New Zealand was once looked to for moral leadership. We were the first country to give women the vote and the first to institute a universal old-age pension, but these were 19th Century issues. On 21st Century issues, such as cannabis law reform, we are no longer close to the frontrunners. This article attempts to determine how far we have fallen.

Perhaps the first major crack in the cannabis prohibition dam came with the legalisation of medicinal cannabis in California in 1996. In the near quarter-century since then, a tidal wave of cannabis law reform has rolled around the world. New Zealand has made a determined attempt to resist this wave, and has stayed loyal to the idea that cannabis users are scum who should be persecuted.

Cannabis is now recreationally legal in California, as it is in Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and the District of Colombia. That makes for 12 places in just one country that are more enlightened than New Zealand on the cannabis issue – over 100 million people.

Even if a person would say, uncharitably, that all these places are just one country, there are now several other countries that have legalised recreational cannabis. Uruguay did so in 2013 and never looked back. Canada did so in 2018. Georgia and South Africa have also legalised recreational cannabis for possession and consumption (although not yet for sale).

So that makes five countries that have legalised recreational cannabis to some extent – but they’re not the only ones ahead of New Zealand on cannabis law reform.

Many other countries have legal arrangements where cannabis is tolerated without being fully legal. The most famous example is the Netherlands, where cannabis is openly sold from licensed cafes, on the proviso that the cafe is willing to operate under a strict set of conditions. This is not de jure legal, but there is an understanding on the part of the Police that such activity is to be tolerated (provided it stays within certain limits).

Spain has a similar arrangement, where cannabis is legal if kept to private areas such as the personal home or in cannabis social clubs. In this sense, many countries have decriminalised cannabis to a greater extent than what New Zealand has done.

Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, India, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Moldova, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Slovenia, Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago have all decriminalised cannabis to some degree.

It might come as a blow to the Kiwi ego that several Third World countries are now more advanced than us when it comes to a major moral issue such as cannabis law reform. But it gets worse – even Australia is ahead of New Zealand in this regard now. Cannabis will be legal in the ACT as of next week, and it has already been decriminalised in the Northern Territory and in South Australia.

So that makes 40 countries that have either legalised or decriminalised cannabis to some degree – but the true picture is even worse than this, because New Zealand doesn’t even have medicinal cannabis yet.

Since becoming legal in California 24 years ago, medicinal cannabis has now become legal in a further 32 American states and four territories. Even if we apply the rule from above (according to which all these states and territories only count as one country) there are still many other countries with more tolerant medicinal cannabis laws than New Zealand.

Even Zimbabwe has more enlightened medicinal cannabis laws than New Zealand does – they legalised it in 2018. It might sound incredible to some Kiwi ears that a place with the reputation for corruption and backwardsness of Zimbabwe could be ahead of New Zealand in a major area of medical knowledge. Alas, it’s the truth.

In reality, every single country already mentioned is ahead of New Zealand when it comes to cannabis law reform. We have neither legalisation nor decriminalisation of recreational cannabis, and medicinal cannabis is de facto illegal on account of that virtually no-one can afford what’s on offer.

We were first in the world to repeal the prohibition on women voting. When we eventually get around to repealing elements of cannabis prohibition, we will be no earlier than 70th in the world to have begun to do so. If you count the American states separately, New Zealand will be no earlier than 100th or so.

It might not be easy for the Kiwi ego to accept, but not only are we years behind backwards American states like Louisiana and Alabama, but we are also years behind Third World nations such as Uruguay, South Africa and Zimbabwe. If we ever had any special ability to read the winds of change, or to provide moral leadership to a world desperately in need of it, that is now gone.

By 2020 New Zealand is, morally speaking, right back in the pack. Far from being leaders, we now respond with sheep-like herd instinct to patterns that we’re not intelligent enough to understand. The only way to lift this state of disgrace is to legalise cannabis immediately and across the board.

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If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can get a compilation of the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2019 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 2018 and the Best VJMP Essays and Articles of 2017 are also available.

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The Gentlemen Shows That The Normalisation Of Cannabis Is All But Complete


Guy Ritchie’s latest crime caper film, The Gentlemen, is the rollicking, romping gorefest that one has come to expect from the director of Snatch. Behind the larger-than-life characters and the brilliant dialogue, however, are a few hints about where society is going, and a few things made to look normal that aren’t usually normalised. This article explains.

Cannabis users who stopped to think about it may have noticed a few things in The Gentlemen that are different to the usual messages contained within big-budget films. Normally alcohol, tobacco, adrenaline and oxytocin are all portrayed as acceptable forms of enjoyment, but cannabis is not. Cannabis tends to get lumped with opium and heroin as a drug of despair.

The hero of the story, Mickey Pearson, is a British cannabis tycoon. The character, played by Matthew McConaughey, is in charge of an empire that produces 50 tons of skunk every year. Yes, he has done some bad things on the way up through the underworld, but he’s very much a moral player, someone with far more class than the average criminal.

This weed-dealing protagonist is presented as the good guy, who the audience is invited to sympathise with. Not a good guy – because he’s certainly capable of violent crime still – but the good guy. This makes a change from the usual popular culture treatment of cannabis users. Aside from this central fact, several scenes in the film serve to normalise the idea of cannabis in the eyes of the audience.

In one scene, Mickey speaks to a Chinese gangster and heroin dealer named Lord George. Mickey makes the point that the drug he himself deals doesn’t kill anyone, unlike the heroin that George deals. It’s uncommon for a popular culture film to draw a distinction between cannabis dealers and “other” drug dealers. Usually the two are lumped in together, but here Lord George is presented as distinctly less moral than Mickey.

In another scene, Mickey’s henchman Ray (played by Charlie Hunnam) smokes a joint while expressing his disgust for heroin users. While rolling it up he expounds upon his weed preferences, including his belief that the right mixture of cannabis and tobacco is 50:50. In this scene, we are invited to sympathise with the cannabis-smoking Ray, whose classy demeanour presents him in sharp contrast to the heroin users around him.

In yet another scene, the major antagonist is trying to bargain Mickey down on the selling price of Mickey’s business. The antagonist makes the point that cannabis will become legal soon and therefore his enterprise would have to compete with the legal market, which inspires Mickey to demonstrate that his business has been future-proofed already.

The point that cannabis will become legal soon, and therefore that the relative values of positions in the cannabis market will change soon, is made with certainty. Guy Ritchie has his finger on the pulse well enough to know which way things are going, and it’s obvious from the international trends that moves towards cannabis liberalisation will soon occur everywhere. People have thought through most possibilities already.

This means that the plot of The Gentlemen is realistic enough to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story. It’s a great film – and for cannabis users eager to see an end to the prejudice against them, it’s great to see cannabis use normalised in popular culture.

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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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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.

It Doesn’t Matter What The Polls Say Or What The Referendum Says – We’ll Use Cannabis Anyway

Kiwi cannabis enthusiasts were alarmed this week by a couple of polls that suggested a majority of people might now be against cannabis legalisation in New Zealand. A Reid Research poll for Newshub and a Colmar Brunton poll for One News both suggested this. As this essay will argue, what the polls say is just as meaningless as what the law says.

Cannabis prohibition has failed. There’s no doubt about it. With every year that passes, another overseas jurisdiction repeals prohibition, and society in general is starting to move on from it. The most glaring example of this are the falling rates of convictions for cannabis offences, as not even the Police can be bothered enforcing this law.

People miss the point if they say that this means that murder and rape prohibition has also failed because they keep happening. Murder and rape have victims. They are therefore categorically different to using cannabis, and there’s no reason to treat them the same.

Statistics show that using cannabis is one of the most Kiwi things that anyone can do. The correlation between being born in New Zealand and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 was 0.77, which tells us that cannabis use is an integral part of our national culture. The deeper a person’s roots in New Zealand, the more likely they are to be a cannabis user.

So in reality, there’s no need for a referendum, because we live the referendum all the time. Every single day, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis choose to use cannabis, for a wide range of ailments, to socialise, to destress or simply for a laugh. We signal our approval of cannabis every day from the simple fact that we choose to use it every day.

Almost everywhere and everytime Kiwis gather outside of Government supervision, there’s some weed involved. When we go tramping and hunting, we take some smoke with us. When we meet up for a barbeque, we like to break out the bongs. After we play touch or cricket we like to have a puff. And at the beaches, and in the parks, and in the bedrooms, etc…

We’re going to keep doing this, and the Government will not ever be able to stop us. The Governments of far more submissive and less free-thinking peoples than New Zealanders can’t stop their people from using cannabis – how can they stop us?

The number of cannabis seeds in private hands must number in the multiple billions. Law or no law, there is an entire underground network of cannabis enthusiasts who have been sharing seeds, clones and cultivation techniques for decades. These people love to help new people become growers themselves and defy prohibition. This culture has no intention to go anywhere.

Neither is it going to go anywhere. No Government can come up with a justified reason for making a medicinal plant illegal. Whether now or a thousand years from now, human beings will always intuitively feel that a law prohibiting them from using a part of nature to heal themselves is obscene.

This intuitive feeling is not just a delusion brought about from cannabis-induced psychosis. Far from it. It reflects something much deeper, namely the fact that we have a God-given right to use any spiritual sacraments we see fit. This is described elsewhere as the Golden Right, and the Government may not violate it because violating a person’s ability to connect to God causes suffering.

Because of all this, it doesn’t matter that a couple of polls might have suggested that the cannabis referendum result could be negative. I was stoned when I wrote this article, I will be stoned on the day on the cannabis referendum, and I will be stoned the next day too, regardless of the result.

People have an obligation to defy unjust laws. Even if the referendum result is negative, prohibition will still be an unjust law. Because it will still be an unjust law, people will keep defying it. The control freaks in the Government can hiss and rage all they like – Kiwis are going to use cannabis anyway, because it’s our will. Refusing to recognise this fact is futile.

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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 Golden Right, or The Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right

The essay A Sevenfold Conception of Inherent Human Rights expounded seven human rights that are, after a minimum of thought, clearly understandable to any person. These seven rights stem immediately from a basic understanding of yin and yang, and are encoded directly into the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism. This essay takes a closer look at what is simply known as the Golden Right.

The black stripe at the bottom of the flag of Esoteric Aotearoanism represents the yin, and when combined with the silver stripe in the context of human rights represents what is known as the Base Right, which is the right to physical liberty. This has two aspects, one pertaining to the right to self-defence and the other to the right to bodily autonomy.

The white stripe at the top represents the yang, and when combined with the silver stripe in the context of human rights represents what is known as the Precious Right, which is the right to cognitive liberty. This also has two aspects.

The Feminine Aspect of the Precious Right is the right to cognitive liberty pertaining to the mind and intellect. In particular, this means the right to free speech and to free expression. The Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right is the right to cognitive liberty pertaining to the soul and spirit. In particular, this means the right to religious belief and religious expression.

The Feminine Aspect of the Precious Right is also known as the Silver Right, and the Masculine Aspect of the Precious Right is also known as the Golden Right. This is because it is the most precious of all rights. Without it, individuals and nations lose their moral compass and will fall.

The right to cognitive liberty in the context of the soul and spirit means the right to explore the soul. This means that people have the inherent right to turn away from the material world for the sake of finding God. The Golden Right, therefore, is the right to reconnect with God at any time and place, by whatever means the individual feels necessary.

Being an aspect of the Precious Right, the Golden Right does not confer the right to cause suffering to anyone else for the sake of religion. The Golden Right yields to the right to free speech, to self-defence and to bodily autonomy. Therefore, no methodology for reconnecting to God can ever be above criticism, because this violates the right to free speech, and neither can it impel anyone to do anything, because this violates the right to bodily autonomy.

However, the Golden Right also recognises that impeding another person’s attempts to connect with God causes suffering, and no Government may therefore do it.

This means that people have the right to perform basic acts of spiritual hygiene. Not only does this include meditation, but it also includes chanting, drumming, singing, gathering in communion and entheogenic ritual. All of these activities can make a person more spiritually healthy by causing them to forget the pressures and temptations of the material world. Therefore, the use of cannabis and psychedelics, as well as of all other spiritual sacraments, is a right granted by God.

The fact that cannabis and psychedelics have thousands of years of use as spiritual sacraments all around the world, and that this is heavily documented, is enough to declare that the Government violates the Will of God by restricting their ability to connect with God. In fact, it’s more than enough.

It’s enough that an individual simply declares a particular course of action to be a methodology that enables them to connect with God, and it is allowed under the Golden Right. This means that, if a person believes that taking LSD (or any other modern chemical) is capable of reconnecting them with God, they have the right to do it.

Of course, if in taking these substances a person comes to violate the baser rights of their fellows, they are to be punished accordingly. The Golden Right does not confer freedom from the consequences of misbehaving under an entheogenic substance. The responsibility is on the user to make sure that they understand the dose they’re taking and that they take it in a controlled environment (to the extent this is appropriate).

Ultimately, the Golden Right is one of the inherent human rights granted by God, and is therefore a right no matter what any human Government might say. Anyone trying to take that right away from someone else is trying to enslave them by removing their inherent rights. According to the principles of anarcho-homicidalism, then, people have the right to kill anyone who impedes their right to connect to God.

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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: Fears of A ‘Big Cannabis’ Lobby Are Overblown

One of the latest scaremongering tactics is to equate the potential future harms of cannabis with the past harms of tobacco. This tactic invokes evoking the spectre of the Big Tobacco industry and implying that legal cannabis will cause another such monster to arise. This particular trick is a favourite of the sort of prohibitionists who appeal to wowsers, such as certain religious types.

It’s impossible to deny that, with the legalisation of cannabis, there will come a number of bad things. In almost every case, however, these bad things will replace even worse things that already existed. As mentioned at various points in this book, cannabis is a substitute for other substances. This is also true at the lobbyist level.

Yes, legal cannabis would strengthen the power of the cannabis lobby. Yes, this cannabis lobby will likely be as unscrupulous as the other lobbyists: they will bribe, they will lie, they will propagandise, and they will try to open access to their product while restricting access to their competitors. This outcome is unavoidable if cannabis users are to be offered equality with users of other substances.

However, the simple fact remains that they are lobbying for a product that does much less physical, mental and social harm than either alcohol or tobacco. From a harm reduction point of view, it’s not a bad thing for Big Cannabis to come onto the scene if it means commensurate losses for Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol.

In any case, cannabis can never become like tobacco, for a number of reasons.

The most obvious is that people don’t smoke cannabis like tobacco. It’s common for a tobacco smoker to go through a pack of 30 every day, which equates to one cigarette every half an hour or so. Not even the most dedicated stoner can rip through properly-sized joints at the rate of one every half an hour.

It’s impossible to smoke cannabis like this because of the psychoactive effect. After three joints, even those with the highest degree of cannabis tolerance will be feeling satisfied. As anyone who has smoked both tobacco and cannabis will attest, smoking cannabis doesn’t lead to feeling pain when breathing first thing in the morning, but tobacco does.

Another major reason is that a lot of people prefer to ingest cannabis using methods other than smoking. Because cannabis prohibition attacks the infrastructure that would otherwise supply cannabis to people, it’s usually sold in unprocessed form as dried buds. Thus, prohibition is the reason why cannabis culture revolves around smoking it at present.

Legal cannabis won’t necessarily mean people rocking up to the dairy first thing in the morning for a pack of 25 joints that they will chainsmoke throughout the day. It will mean that people take advantage of the panoply of alternatives to smoking that will become available. People who just want a background buzz will be able to use a small amount of an edible, and people who don’t want the ritual of smoking might be happy with a vapouriser.

A third reason is that it’s much easier to give up using cannabis. Many cannabis users find themselves taking tolerance breaks on occasion, or even going without for several months for a change in lifestyle or to go overseas. Very rarely does a person find themselves wishing that they could just stop smoking cannabis (the usual problem is finding enough cannabis).

This is a major distinction from tobacco. According to some studies, a heavy majority of tobacco smokers at any point in time wish they could give up the habit, but find that they can’t seem to stop because they keep feeling compelled to smoke another cigarette. This is ideal from Big Tobacco’s point of view, because they will keep buying them forever, often until they die.

So there won’t be a Big Cannabis trying to get people addicted to their product to milk them for decades of future sales. There doesn’t need to be – cannabis sells itself. In any case, a proper introduction of legal cannabis would mean that many people would be growing it at home.

Related to this is an argument that many make: there’s no point in legalising cannabis because we’re trying to prevent smoking in general. This argument almost completely misses the point, which is that the major reason why cannabis gets consumed in smoked form in the first place is that it is illegal.

Legalisation would make it easier to avoid smoking cannabis for the many who prefer not to smoke it. It would make it much easier to buy pre-prepared edibles, or vapouriser pens that use oil cartridges, or just plain vapourisers that vapourise bud (which can then be baked into an edible). So from the perspective of reducing the harm caused by using cannabis, legalisation makes more sense than further prohibition.

Correctly learning from the lessons of history would mean to accept that total prohibition fails, as shown by the example of alcohol, and total legalisation fails, as shown by the example of tobacco, so therefore some light regulation is the correct and appropriate middle ground.

Light regulation would mean that the potential damage caused by Big Cannabis lobbyists was kept to a minimum, without being so restrictive that the black market would rise up again. If intelligence was applied to drafting a cannabis law that sought to minimise suffering, it would keep the excessive aspects of both legalisation and prohibition out of the equation.

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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: Amotivational Syndrome Is Not Reason To Prohibit Cannabis

One of the major harms of cannabis, we are told, is the dreaded amotivational syndrome. This raises the spectre of A students and gifted athletes who get the reefer madness and end up lying around on the couch all day watching television and playing with themselves. As with many arguments for cannabis prohibition, this one is based upon a sliver of truth, blown out of proportion.

According to this 2012 paper, the supposedly characteristic symptoms of amotivational syndrome are general passivity and apathy, loss of desire to work or to be productive, loss of energy, depression, moodiness, lack of stress tolerance and slovenliness.

If you think that this sounds like most mental illnesses, and that a person with these problems probably uses cannabis as a medicine to deal with them, you’d be right – for the most part.

However, there is such a thing as amotivational syndrome.

It’s worth noting here that this book is not about advocating for cannabis use per se. This book advocates for a reduction in human suffering by way of repealing cannabis prohibition. So there’s no problem in admitting that it’s entirely possible that cannabis smoking is a bad idea for a particular individual, and that there are many situations where many people shouldn’t use it.

The neurobiology of amotivational syndrome is not difficult to understand, because it’s essentially the same thing as burnout. Amotivational syndrome can arise when a person gets so high, for so long, that their brain circuitry gets used to that greater level of stimulation. This can lead to a situation where a person is no longer receptive to normal sources of stimulation.

Most people can relate to this feeling. After all, it’s little different to the same burnout a person gets after partying too long or being too long in combat or under high levels of stress. Some studies have shown decreased response sensitivity after periods of heavy cannabis use, but this is only part of the story.

As is the case with tobacco, decreased response sensitivity is often the reason why people use cannabis. For many people, the decreased sensitivity that comes with cannabis use is what is keeping them sane. These people use cannabis so that they are more relaxed and calm when they have to interact with others.

Thus, amotivational syndrome is far from a good reason to make cannabis illegal. In fact, it’s even more support in favour of legalisation.

Because some strains decrease sensitivity, while other strains appear to increase it, the best approach is to let people safely experiment with accurately and clearly labelled products purchased from a legal supplier, so that they can find the right proportion of cannabinoids for them. If amotivational syndrome is a problem, it can be best be avoided by avoiding those high-THC, low-CBD strains that tend to overload the mind.

Another point worth emphasising here is that one culture’s “amotivational syndrome” is another culture’s correct level of relaxation.

This was written about as far back as 1976, when a study pointed out that Jamaican culture had no concept of amotivational syndrome. That linked study refutes the idea of amotivational syndrome more generally, pointing out that the very idea of it is rooted in prejudice against cannabis users (as is the idea that cannabis causes psychosis).

It’s already clear that the rate at which our societies are consuming the natural resources of the Earth is not sustainable. The 8 billion people on this planet cannot sustainably consume more resources than does the average Western beneficiary, and these limits are not the result of political forces but hard natural ones. These inexorable forces pose immense problems for our culture in the West, which glorifies production and consumption.

It could be that, far from being destroyed by laziness and apathy, cannabis users have simply reduced their consumption to sustainable levels. The motivation to do this perhaps arose through a greater appreciation of the interdependence of all life on Earth, a common consequences of cannabis use.

Amotivational syndrome, then, could be said to only be a problem in the context of a modern society that demands maximum productivity from everyone. So the unwillingness to work and to be productive might really be a turn away from the consumption/production mania of the industrialised world and a return to the sanity that existed before it (when everyone used cannabis regularly).

In any case, the best way to deal with all this is to tell people the truth. If it’s true that high-THC strains of cannabis overload the brain’s reward pathways and make them insensitive to everyday stimuli, then this needs to be explained honestly to people. Conversely, if a person is happy using cannabis so that they become more relaxed and don’t consume the planet as voraciously, that also needs to be accepted.

If the Government and its departments told the truth about cannabis, then people would have confidence that their doctors were telling the truth when they tried to explain amotivational syndrome. This would make it far more likely that those who had proper cause to stop using cannabis would listen to people advising them to do so.

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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.

Ardern Is Only In Power Because National Was Shit

Numerous voices are bitching about the things that the Sixth Labour Government has done since seizing power. Persecution mania has ramped up to the point where many people feel personally aggrieved and targeted by the actions of Jacinda Ardern and her supporters. As this essay will show, the abuses of the Sixth Labour Government are a direct result of the neglect of the Fifth National Government.

People like to complain. Seldom do they like to consider that they themselves may have played a role in what has transpired. Even more seldom to people like to consider that they are part of an interdependent system with, and no more important that, all of the things they hate, compared to which they are like yin to yang.

When John Key’s Fifth National Government came to power, they inherited a number of social issues that had festered for a long time. There were large numbers of Kiwis who were desperate for a change to the housing situation, or the mental health system, or to the medicinal cannabis laws. Many of them had reason to believe that a change in Government from Helen Clark’s autocratic style to a more classical liberal style would bring relief.

All of these people were flat out ignored for nine years.

In this act of ignoring people with legitimate grievances, National sowed the seed for their own failure. All National had to do was to acknowledge that spending $400,000,000 per year on enforcing cannabis prohibition was poor fiscal management – a perfectly reasonable argument. That there was no good case to force taxpayers to stump up for the immense cost of enforcing a law that most of them didn’t want, especially when health and infrastructure were underfunded and could have used the money.

But they couldn’t even do this!

If the National Party wasn’t capable of understanding something as simple as the need for cannabis law reform – something that Third World countries like Uruguay understood years ago – then it’s a fair conclusion that they simply aren’t competent. So why not vote them out?

The situation with the mental health system is equally as jarring an example. The Fifth Labour Government didn’t do much to help those who had lost out from neoliberalism, but the attitude of the National Party towards the mentally ill was “just let ’em die.” Key ended his term with the highest suicide rate since records began.

National’s refusal to respect the will of the people wasn’t just a matter of degree. Sometimes it was categorical, as in the case for asset sales, where they were told explicitly that the nation didn’t want them sold, but did it anyway. This is the sort of arrogance that leads thinking supporters to switch allegiances.

So no-one who supported the Fifth National Government ought to grizzle about socialism or communism now. If you’re willing to sit on your arse while your fellows are needlessly suffering, even in cases where they’re not asking you for money but simply an end to the misery, then you’re also willing to accept the consequences of this neglect.

The Labour Party gets consent for the abuses it commits from the neglect shown by the National Party before it. Because one half of the population looked the other way when Kiwis were put into cages for growing medicinal plants, so does the other half of the population look the other way when the right to free speech is violated. The fact that we have the right to both grow medicinal plants and to speak freely is lost.

The great problem, from the perspective of a member of the Kiwi nation, is that this cycle of one bunch of incompetents getting revenge on the previous bunch of incompetents by punishing their supporters – almost all of who are Kiwis – is not helpful.

Labour and National are effectively a one-party dictatorship that has agreed to a power-sharing arrangement between the left and right wing factions. Perversely, the worse one wing of the Establishment Party does, the worse the other wing also gets to do, as there is no alternative to the National/Labour duoligarchy. Thus, anyone complaining about how crap Ardern is must also give some thought to the system that put her in power.

It might be true that Ardern and her Government panicked in response to the Christchurch mosque shootings, and overreacted by working to ban semi-automatic rifles. It might also be true that their actions to violate our right to free speech are obscene and bordering on tyrannical. It might even be true that none of this would have happened if National had still been in power – but National would still be in power if they hadn’t been so shit in the first place.

If we don’t like this arrangement, then the onus is on us to organise ourselves in ways that leave the Establishment no place to step in and take control. One way to do this might be to mutually agree on the sevenfold conception of inherent human rights. If all Kiwis mutually agreed that each other possessed those rights inherently, then we would have the solidarity necessary to enforce them.

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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: Other Acceptable Drugs Are More Harmful

The standard argument is that cannabis is too harmful to be allowed and this is why it has been made illegal. This extreme level of harm is ostensibly the reason why criminal penalties are applied to its possession and cultivation. However, as this article will examine, this argument is hypocritical and dishonest.

There’s no doubt that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than cannabis. In New Zealand, alcohol is believed to kill between 600 and 800 people every year, mostly from cancer, heart failure and liver failure. This is a horrendeous body count by any standard, even higher than the suicide count and the road toll.

The butcher’s bill for tobacco is even worse – this is believed to kill 5,000 people in New Zealand every year. 1 in every 1,000 Kiwis killed every year by one legal drug can only really be described as carnage. It’s orders of magnitude more destructive than cannabis, which is not conclusively known to kill anyone.

This argument for cannabis law reform is therefore very simple. If alcohol and tobacco do not meet the threshold for causing sufficient harm to be banned, then neither does cannabis. Put another way, if either alcohol or tobacco are acceptable when judged by balance of harm, then so is cannabis.

Others will respond that there’s no reason to add yet another harmful drug to what’s already available.

As mentioned elsewhere, this argument is ignorant of human psychology. People who want to get high will use whatever is available to them. There are no perfectly sober people enjoying their lives right now who are at risk of becoming a cannabis addict after one puff. There are, however, a lot of hard-core alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical users who would switch to using cannabis instead if it were available.

In much the same way that voting in an election means supporting one evil for the sake of defying a greater evil, many people use cannabis instead of a drug that is more harmful. In other words, cannabis can serve as a substitute for alcohol. This point has been argued at length elsewhere, but it’s important enough to be worth bring up again here.

If you could reduce the nation’s alcohol consumption by a quarter, you should also reduce the nation’s death toll by 150-200 every year. A proportion of people would use cannabis instead of alcohol if they were given the opportunity, so if legal cannabis would reduce the alcohol intake then it would save lives.

Even if a third of those who gave up alcohol for cannabis died from complications related to cannabis use (a ridiculous idea if one realises that legalisation will mean vaping instead of smoking), this would still represent a saving of 100 or so lives every year. So if other drugs are both more harmful than cannabis and legal, then it makes sense that cannabis should also be legal, because then some people could switch to it.

Some will respond that alcohol and tobacco are “part of our culture”. Well, we cannabis users would respond that cannabis is part of our culture. Certainly no-one asked us what our culture was, and if they had asked, many of us would have told them that we prefer to use cannabis. The people who made the decision are in the pockets of big alcohol manufacturers – they’re not objective judges.

For those of us who are part of the cannabis culture, using cannabis simply fills the same niche as those who recreationally use alcohol or tobacco. We know that it’s slightly physically harmful and can be mentally harmful if misused. Everyone knows this. It’s just that we believe the social, emotional and psychological benefits of recreational cannabis use outweigh the minor harms.

Yet others will argue that “the horse has bolted” when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. These drugs are so widespread that they are now impossible to prohibit.

However, the same is true of cannabis. Cannabis is easier to manufacture than alcohol, and getting hold of seeds is barely more difficult than getting hold of seeds for any other plant. Cannabis is everywhere in New Zealand, and plenty of people are willing to help others get seeds (or even clones) simply to defy the Government. An entire underground culture dedicated to its survival and propagation exists.

If it’s too late to enforce alcohol prohibition, then it’s too late to enforce cannabis prohibition as well.

In the end, the fact that there are drugs that are both more harmful than cannabis and legal is proof that our drug laws are not logical. Indeed, our drug laws are based more on past hysteria than any sober appraisal of the evidence. Cannabis law reform would be the first step in rewriting these laws to achieve harm minimisation.

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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 Is A Medicine

Of all the ways that cannabis prohibition causes harm to people, maybe the worst is how it denies many people an effective medicine. The problem is not just limited to the effect that prohibition has on accessing the substance – prohibition also makes it harder to research it and to learn how to best use it. As this article will examine, this has the effect of causing a lot of needless suffering.

Cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years. In fact, as Professor David Nutt wrote this year in the British Medical Journal, it’s probably the oldest medicine known to humanity. Its medicinal effects for treating conditions like depression were known to the scientific literature as far back as 1890.

The fact that cannabis is known to be a medicine today can be demonstrated by going to Google Scholar and typing in “medicinal cannabis”. This returns (at time of writing) 44,000 results, which means that there are over 40,000 medical journal articles and papers investigating medicinal cannabis.

Frustratingly, it’s possible to go back as far as 2008 and see that there are already 14,100 results for a Google Scholar search for “medicinal cannabis”. If one considers that medicinal cannabis was made legal in many American states when even less was known than this, it strikes one how glacial the pace of change has been in New Zealand.

The medical conditions for which cannabis has shown promise include eating difficulties, sleeping problems, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nausea and vomiting, pain and wasting syndrome (cachexia) and even mental health conditions like anxiety, schizophrenia, depression, social anxiety disorder and psychosis. In chronic pain situations it can lead to less opiate use.

The problem is the law.

Because of the long-standing prohibitions on cannabis, it’s difficult to properly research the substance. For a university research program to conduct a proper study, they need to test the effects of cannabis on a large number of people, in a controlled and replicable environment. This requires getting hold of a large amount of cannabis – very difficult when cannabis is illegal.

Without being able to conduct large trials, it’s difficult to collect a sufficient amount of data to pass certain levels of proof. Because of the ever-present threat of charlatanism in the pharmaceutical industry, it has become necessary to demand rigourous testing before a prospective medicine gets governmental approval to be sold. Prohibition makes it harder to cannabis to get that approval.

Despite this, there is still a fair bit known about the medicinal effects of cannabis.

It’s acknowledged by honest researchers today that “therapeutic benefits of medicinal cannabis are well documented in the treatment of a variety of medical conditions”. The problem is that, because of prohibition, it’s impossible to arrive at standardised models of production, distribution and prescription.

This is more of a problem than it might first appear to be.

Without a standardised model of production, it’s difficult for doctors to have any confidence in what they’re prescribing. Because many medicines have dosage-dependent adverse side-effects, it’s important to know exactly what proportions of effective medicine are found in each pill that’s being dished out. Impurities are to be avoided. Absent this, it’s impossible for a doctor to know what to prescribe.

Without standardised prescription guidelines, it’s impossible to know how much to prescribe. It’s not just a matter of getting as much cannabis into the patient as possible. Responsible medical practice means being aware of potential side-effects and interactions with other medicines, and how these work with factors like age and body weight. If this knowledge is not present, it might seem wise to err on the side of prudence and ignore cannabis.

After all, even if cannabis prohibition was repealed tomorrow and doctors had access to all the cannabis in the world, they would still need to know how to use it safely before they could feel comfortable prescribing it.

Despite the presence of these hurdles, the fact remains that knowledge of the medicinal applications of cannabis are becoming ever-more widespread. Indeed, even Zimbabwe is aware that cannabis is medicinal. Not only has the impoverished Southern African state had medicinal cannabis since 2017, but their Health Minister is getting praise from other Southern African nations for their relatively forward-thinking stance on the issue.

Some might argue that the New Zealand medical establishment has shown itself to be more interested in toeing the legal and bureaucratic line than actually helping their patients, and that their reluctance to deal with what was clearly an important issue for many of their patients was cowardly. This might be true for many doctors. The point, however, is not to apportion blame, but to determine the correct path forward.

The major problem with unlocking the medicinal potential of cannabis is the law. It’s the law that keeps researchers and scientists from finding out which applications of cannabis make medicinal sense and which ones don’t. Since people are going to use cannabis anyway, it makes sense from a harm reduction perspective to expand our knowledge of the plant. This would make it possible to make better-informed decisions about its use.

Legalising cannabis would restore sanity to the situation. It would allow companies and universities to conduct full-scale trials of medicinal cannabis products. This would allow those medical professionals who are interested in learning about the therapeutic effects of cannabis to have more accurate data upon which to base their prescription decisions.

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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.

It’s Okay To Be Whatever You Naturally Are

Some controversy has been generated this week from the fact that VJM Publishing sells ‘It’s Okay To Be White’ t-shirts on TradeMe (edit: or did, looks like the listing has now been taken down). Our doing so angered the Human Rights Commission, who argued that it spreads “a message of intolerance, racism and division”. This response argues that, not only are our actions the opposite of intolerance, hatred and division, but it is the Human Rights Commission itself that is guilty of this.

There’s a lot of discussion about what’s okay and what isn’t okay. This is the school of philosophy known as ethics, and it has been around for many thousands of years.

This is VJM Publishing’s take on it.

It’s okay to be white, brown, black, yellow or even red or purple. It’s okay to be tall or short, blue-eyed or brown, slim or solid, because these things are all natural and you can’t help them. It’s even okay to be ugly or dumb because, again, these things are natural and you can’t help them.

It’s okay to be an outgoing, choleric, even aggressive person, but it’s not okay to cause suffering to other sentient beings. Causing suffering is bad.

It’s also not okay to be is a member of an ideology that promotes hatred and division, because this leads directly to the suffering of sentient beings. The foremost way to promote hatred and division is to say that it’s not okay to be something that you naturally are. Such as your ethnicity.

This is the reason for the comment that these shirts are the opposite of racism. They literally are. Racism is to say that there’s something inherently wrong with being white, as if a person being born white is to be born carrying some debts that their ancestors racked up.

The racists in this situation are the Europhobes who say “there’s no place for this kind of message”, when the message is that it’s not a bad thing to be a white person. If there is such a thing as hate speech, it’s anyone saying that it’s not okay to be something that someone naturally is, such as their skin colour.

Of course, this means that things that people have chosen to be don’t count. It is not, and can never be, an act of hatred to criticise someone for belonging to a supremacist ideology, especially one that believes it’s destined to rule the world whether non-followers like it or not. Such ideologies inevitably bring suffering into the world.

VJM Publishing is not interested in ideologies that promote hatred and division. We oppose Nazism, Communism, Abrahamism, Imperialism, Materialism, and all the other ideologies that cause one group of people to glory themselves and to debase another by calling them degenerates, counter-revolutionaries, infidels, heretics or primitive natives.

We are for those who have seen beyond. This refers both to the veils of the material world in a spiritual sense, and the veils of the corporate media matrix in an existential sense. We are for those who realise that all life on this planet is connected by virtue of possessing the divine spark of consciousness that could be said to be God.

By selling this shirt, we are doing our part to counter genuine racism and division. Instead of doing this by grave, pompous and bombastic moralising that seeks to take people’s rights away – a proven failed approach – we’re adding some humour to the media scene for the sake of resistance. We’re replacing some of the colour that has been lost.

We’re not even for white pride. Sure, if you identify with some illustrious individual merely because they share a skin colour with you, go for it, but it looks weak to us. Those who have seen beyond would rather work on their individual qualities for the sake of lifting the world around them. Like the alchemists of ancient days, we cultivate the iron, the silver and the gold.

Look at the actual products we sell. We’re working with Jeff Ngatai to produce a book of mnemonics for learning te reo Maori. This we do because we believe that the language is a treasure at risk of being lost, and that mnemonics are an excellent way to preserve the memory of Maori language vocabulary in the minds of the population.

That’s why we offer every mnemonic in the book for free. They are all offered for free, arranged by subject groups. This is the same material as in the book. If you can afford to buy the book, great, if you can’t, you can use the online version. That reflects our will to bring this knowledge to as many people as possible.

What sort of white supremacists care about preserving the Maori language?

The majority of articles and essays on VJM Publishing relate to cannabis law reform. It was primarily to agitate for cannabis law reform that VJM Publishing was founded, since we knew over a decade ago that prohibition is stupid. Indeed, we’ve pointed out several times that the cannabis law disproportionately affects Maoris. This has even been argued in the original Cannabis Activist’s Handbook, published as far back as 2012.

What sort of white supremacists give a shit about the disproportionate effect that cannabis prohibition has on Maoris? What white supremacists were arguing seven years ago that prohibition should be repealed for this reason?

Our other products are speculative fiction books, a demographic study of New Zealand voting patterns, various books about how to apply psychological science to creative writing, a guide to quitting tobacco smoking and a book of religious satire.

How on Earth can any honest person see a link to white supremacy in that?

The whole idea is nonsense, and to link VJM Publishing with white supremacism is proof that we live in Clown World. VJM Publishing, far from being haters, are the victims of Big Brother’s decision to target us for their daily Two Minutes’ Hate.

What VJM Publishing really is, is a much needed thumb-in-the-eye to the wowsers, puritans and other moralising do-gooders that have sucked all the enjoyment out of living. It is these grey men and women, these emotional abusers, who are the cause of our rising suicide rates. We despise them, we oppose them, and we will never stop fighting their insane slave mentality.

VJM Publishing is proud to provide a counter-narrative to the diarrhoea that passes for mainstream political discourse in New Zealand – the same mainstream media, let’s not forget, that told us that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

We’re proud to post material that takes the piss out of the control freaks who think they have the right to arbitrarily decide what merchandise other people are allowed to sell on a public trading platform. These monsters who think they have the right to decide that a string of words doesn’t mean what it literally means, because they have the authority to rule that it really means something else.

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Click here to read a summary of what alt-centrism is

Click here to read about the five rejections of alt-centrism

Click here to read the five acceptances of alt-centrism

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition Harms Social Cohesion

Cannabis prohibition does a lot of harm to various groups within society, as other articles here have shown, but it also has an effect on society as a whole. Not only does society have to pay for the cost of enforcing cannabis prohibition, but it suffers at a collective level the same harm done to individuals: as below, so above. As this article will examine, cannabis prohibition harms social cohesion.

Our society relies on co-operation between different groups at all levels.

One of the most important ways is the solidarity between generations. In order for the young to be willing to care for the old when the time comes, the youth have to feel some kind of solidarity with those older ones. They have to feel like those older ones managed the country in such a way as to leave them a worthy inheritance. They have to feel like the old cared about them.

As Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand, there is a sharp distinction between young and old when it comes to support for cannabis law reform. The correlation between voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 and being in the 65+ age bracket was -0.43 – not extremely strong, but strong enough to suggest that the average person in that age bracket is decidedly against cannabis law reform.

There are several reasons why a young person might feel that the generations before them had failed in their duty of stewardship, but the unwillingness to reform the cannabis laws are one of the foremost. For a young person today, the thought that the nation’s elderly are sitting back on a fat pension drinking whisky and chomping painkillers, while at the same time putting you in prison for growing a medicinal flower, seems obscene.

Given these reasons, why would the young not come to see the elderly as evil? The indifference of the elderly towards the suffering caused to the young by cannabis prohibition certainly appears evil to those suffering it. As a result, their coming to hate those pushing it on them is inevitable. And by such means, society is divided and conquered.

Cannabis prohibition doesn’t just divide society on the basis of age.

Understanding New Zealand also showed that the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and being New Zealand-born was 0.73, which is very strong. This is because cannabis use is an integral part of Kiwi culture – it brings Maoris and white people together as well as rugby and barbecues, and especially when it comes to younger demographics.

Because of the central role of cannabis in Kiwi culture, cannabis prohibition is something that pits New Zealand-born Kiwis against immigrants. This is a recipe for deep resentment, because this plays along a pre-existing fracture line in society. If the New Zealand-born would come to feel that it was only because of recent immigrants that they were not allowed to freely use cannabis, they could become very angry.

Neither is the damage done to social cohesion just a matter between different groups. Cannabis prohibition also destroys solidarity within groups.

There are occasions where people don’t get together because the illegal nature of cannabis means that some people don’t want to be associated with others. Many a party guest has been uninvited because the hosts were not sure that the guest would be comfortable with the cannabis being smoked there, or because the hosts didn’t want the guest bringing cannabis to their house.

In such ways, all manner of natural social bonds have been broken because one or the other party was a cannabis user. This isn’t just seen at parties but in romantic relationships and in the workplace too. If cannabis is illegal, then cannabis users will naturally not trust non-cannabis users and non-cannabis users will naturally not trust cannabis users. These divisions are so needless.

As mentioned in another chapter, cannabis prohibition has had a severe impact on people’s respect for the Police. But cannabis prohibition impacts other industries as well. Some people no longer trust their doctors because of their inability to speak honestly about the medicinal value of cannabis. Some people no longer trust journalists because of their past fearmongering and sensationalising over the issue. This loss of trust impacts social cohesion.

Worst of all, prohibition has caused some people to dislike their country and society, when that need not have been the case. This is especially true of those who have faced the wrath of the justice system.

How can a person respect a society that wants to put them in a cage for using a medicinal plant? How can a person respect the hypocrisy that sees hundreds of people kill themselves with alcohol every year, while at the same time targeting others for something much less harmful? Cannabis prohibition is such a poor idea that it cannot be enforced without stoking massive anger and resentment.

All this anger and resentment has had an injurious effect on social cohesion. Prohibition has caused people to dislike and mistrust each other when they otherwise wouldn’t have done so. This has had the total effect of making society worse. The only way to fix it is to legalise cannabis.

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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: It Doesn’t Matter That Substance Abusers Use Cannabis

Some people are hesitant to support cannabis law reform because they don’t want to make it easier for substance abusers to destroy themselves. Their fear is that legal cannabis will simply provide another substance for substance abusers to get wasted on. This article will explain why cannabis prohibition is not the best way to deal with those fears.

Like many of the arguments against cannabis law reform, this one is mostly based on a misconception of the psychology of cannabis users, and of substance abusers in general. It could be called the Trainspotting myth, because some people believe that the trajectory of cannabis use proceeds much like heroin use does in the film based on the eponymous Irvine Welsh book.

The fear is that legal cannabis will simply provide another way for degenerates to destroy themselves, and so why should the Government facilitate this? The fewer legal drugs available, the fewer easily-accessible avenues for self-destruction. Better to keep cannabis illegal to persuade people to go straight.

The sort of moraliser that makes arguments like this is generally not the same kind of person that hangs out with actual heavy substance users. As such, they don’t understand the psychology of them. Almost no-one goes from living a completely clean life to misusing any drug just because they “got addicted”.

The reason why people become substance addicts is usually because they have untreated mental illnesses, and this leads to a much stronger sense of enjoyment from the feeling of being drunk/stoned/wasted. The more unpleasant one’s thoughts, the more pleasant to escape from them. Therefore, it’s not so much the drug that leads to the abuse but the way the mind and brain are wired.

There are cases where people are substance abusers, and it may be that, for some of these people, legal cannabis means that they abuse more cannabis than they would have done if it was illegal. If this means that they avoid abusing worse drugs, then this is a good thing. All things being equal, it’s better for a person to use cannabis every day than to use several of the drugs listed in the image at the top of this page.

There’s no guarantee that any individual cannabis user is going to smoke cannabis until they die. Plenty of cannabis users, even heavy ones, get sick of smoking it and move on to other things. After all, although cannabis can be great fun, it can also get boring, much like alcohol and women and loud music and all the other things that people like to indulge in for a while.

So it’s better for them to get their fix on a drug that they are going to survive than on one that is going to kill them. Let them get their kicks on something that’s not going to do any long-term damage. It’s much, much better for people to use cannabis – and to perhaps need a few weeks to come back to normal – than to use something that will permanently change their brain chemistry.

An intelligent approach to cannabis law reform would put the emphasis on harm minimisation. If a person is honestly concerned about the total damage and suffering that a substance abuser might cause themselves, then a regime of regulated, legal cannabis would lead to less harm, for a variety of reasons.

Substance abusers are much more likely to get help from mental health professionals if their substance is legal. This fact has been clearly demonstrated by the willingness of patients to talk to their doctors about their alcohol or tobacco use compared to their willingness to talk about their methamphetamine use. If a substance is illegal there is a lot of fear associated with it.

Legal cannabis would make it easier for actual substance abusers – the sort who are destroying their lives – to trust their doctors or drug counsellors. This would make them more likely to take advice to either quit, or, if necessary, to go on a treatment program such as one that tapers off cannabis.

Legal cannabis would also make it possible for accurate and honest educational campaigns to exist. Right now, there’s no reason for any cannabis user to believe anything the Government says about the substance, because everyone knows they lie about it. So if the Government gave intelligent advice about protecting the lungs, it may not be heeded.

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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.

Who Wins From Having The Cannabis Referendum at The Same Time as The 2020 General Election?

The process about the cannabis referendum next year is starting to take more concrete shape. Not only are we starting to get some kind of idea of what question is going to be asked, but we have had confirmation that the referendum will take place at the same time as the 2020 General Election. In this article, Dan McGlashan, author of Understanding New Zealand, explains the likely electoral ramifications.

In the 2004 American Presidential Elections, George W Bush’s adviser Karl Rove had the genius idea of scheduling a number of referendums to take place at the same time. These referendums all related to state constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage. Because this issue aroused strong conservative sentiment in the electorate in 2004, it brought conservatives to the polls, where they also voted for George W Bush.

The scheduling of the cannabis referendum at the same time as the 2020 General Election ought to have a similar effect. The sort of person who turns out to vote in this referendum will be those who would normally vote in a General Election, plus some otherwise disenfranchised demographics who didn’t previously feel an incentive to vote at all.

It’s worth looking at who those otherwise disenfranchised demographics are, because if they turn out vote in the referendum, and if they cast a vote for a party in the General Election at the same time, there might be enough of them to tip the balance of the election towards one or the other side.

The cannabis referendum will not bring out a meaningful number of extra conservatives, for two major reasons.

The first is that conservatives don’t really care about cannabis. Conservatism isn’t about being stupid, or being backwards. The average conservative is intelligent enough to have observed that many places overseas have now legal cannabis, and these places are no longer spending tax payers money on enforcing prohibition. Apart from morons like Bob McCoskrie, there’s no real appetite for continuing cannabis prohibition on the right.

The second is that conservatives already vote. As I showed in Understanding New Zealand, the correlation between voting for the National Party in 2017 and turnout rate was 0.68, which is very strong. Because there are no firm boundaries between party lines, this is unlikely to get any stronger from a referendum unless the conservatives really cared about it. And they don’t.

Who the cannabis referendum will bring out are the currently disenfranchised who have lost faith in the democratic system because of (among other reasons) its inability to deliver anything close to the public will on the issue of cannabis law. These people will come from the demographics that did not vote in the 2017 General Election.

The most obvious will be the remainder of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s demographic. The ALCP got 8.075 votes in 2017, and the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and turnout rate in 2017 was -0.63. This suggests that at least another 10,000 potential ALCP votes were lost to disenfranchisement.

Whether they would vote for the ALCP is anyone’s guess, although most will realise that, if cannabis is legal, there is no reason for the ALCP to exist, and therefore they might as well vote for someone else.

Many have made the assumption that the largest beneficiaries of a cannabis law reform referendum will be the Green Party. After all, it is the Green Party who has pushed for it, and it seems reasonable that this might lead to some otherwise non-voting cannabis users turning up to the polling booth for the referendum and throwing a vote the Greens’ way.

This simple assumption is likely to be mistaken, also for two reasons.

Simply put, Green voters tend to already vote. The correlation between turnout rate in 2017 and voting Green in 2017 was 0.27 – not very strong on the face of it, but strong if one considers that Green voters come from young demographics, and the turnout rate among those demographics is very low. Green voters and supporters are not disenfranchised.

The other reason is that the demographics that truly support cannabis law reform, the ones who are adversely impacted by the current law, are not the same demographics as Green Party voters.

There is a correlation of 0.73 between being New Zealand-born and voting ALCP in 2017. The reason for this because cannabis law reform is of little interest to those who aren’t either white or Maori. Cannabis is an integral part of true Kiwi culture, and many of those who come out to vote will be nationalists. They will not have much interest in supporting Green Party policies, aside from cannabis, which they can now support without voting Green.

This strong correlation relates to the correlation of 0.91 between being Maori and voting ALCP in 2017. This suggests that a very large number of the people who vote in the General Election because of the referendum will be Maori. Maoris seem to have an aversion to the Green Party, and this probably exists because they distrust globalists – the correlation between being Maori and voting Green in 2017 was -0.14.

Policies like increasing the refugee quota will prove devastating for the cohesion of Maori neighbourhoods and communities, and this is widely understood. The sort of person who is most heavily affected by this kind of thing is precisely the disenfranchised voter who is likely to turn out for the cannabis referendum.

The extra voters will undoubtedly be much younger than average, because the correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and median age was -0.57. This makes them much younger than both Greens and New Zealand First voters, and only a little older than Labour voters. The young are much more passionate about cannabis law reform because they do not have the generational brainwashing that the older generations endured.

Finally, the extra voters are likely to come from the least educated demographics. The correlation between voting ALCP in 2017 and having no formal education qualifications was 0.68, the highest for any party. New Zealand First was not far behind, on 0.67, but the Green Party were at the other end of the scale, at -0.56. These extra voters are not likely to be impressed by the aloof superiority of the Greens.

Paradoxically, then, it’s most likely that the timing of the cannabis referendum to coincide with the 2020 General Election won’t benefit the party that most strongly pushed for it. Gratitude is not an emotion that can be counted on. It’s much more likely that the young, disenfranchised, Kiwi-born and Maori people who come to the polling booth for the referendum will vote Labour and, perhaps unfairly, New Zealand First.

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Understanding New Zealand, by Dan McGlashan and published by VJM Publishing, is the comprehensive guide to the demographics and voting patterns of the New Zealand people. It is available on TradeMe (for Kiwis) and on Amazon (for international readers).

The Case For Cannabis: God Put Cannabis Here

An uncommon argument for cannabis is that God put it here. This is an uncommon argument on account of the fact that religious sentiments are becoming rarer and rarer, but it has pull even for those who don’t follow an organised religion. As this article will explain, the argument that God put cannabis here remains a powerful one for some people.

Genesis 1:29 states: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth…”

It’s obvious from reading this, on one of the first pages of the Bible, that according to Christian belief, God created cannabis specifically for the benefit of humans. Cannabis is a herb that bears seed, and we encountered it on the face of the Earth, so therefore a Christian ought to believe that its presence here on Earth is a gift from God that ought to be cherished.

Indeed, it’s obvious why a benevolent God would have created such a thing. For someone with the kind of illness that cannabis treats, it can feel like a godsend. Many people with psychological problems have found that cannabis can make the difference between a restful night’s sleep and eight hours of torture. For such people, providing cannabis is bound to engender feelings of gratitude.

Is it not true, then, that a human Government working to prohibit this medicine, and to make it harder for people to get hold of, is causing people to suffer needlessly, and therefore is doing evil work?

Christians are fond of saying that the world is ruled by Satan, and that the Governments of the world all serve Satan. This will to serve evil is the main reason, they contend, that evil exists. Satan desires to thwart the will of God and to destroy the creation of God, and to cause God’s most blessed creation to suffer on account of his infernal envy.

Fair enough, but then why support evil by opposing cannabis law reform? If Satan tricked the rulers of the world into prohibiting a medicine that God had created, why not vote to change it back?

If one opposes legal cannabis, is that not tantamount to saying that God made a mistake by creating cannabis for human use, and that humans know better than God by making it illegal instead? From an Abrahamic perspective, this surely constitutes a grave sin. It’s blasphemy to elevate the laws of men above the laws of God.

Christians must surely believe that cannabis ought to be legal for the reason that God put it here. Cannabis is part of the natural world, and if Christians believe that God created the natural world and saw that it was good, so it must be God’s will for humans to use cannabis as needed to avoid suffering.

A reader might object here, and say that this argument is just an example of the naturalistic fallacy. This objection argues that, even if one concedes that God created cannabis, this doesn’t mean that we should be using it. After all, we don’t eat nightshade berries either, and those are just as much a part of the natural world as cannabis is.

A logical person would agree. Just because cannabis is natural doesn’t mean that everyone should necessarily be using it. However – no-one is arguing for this. No-one is arguing that anyone should be forced to use cannabis, or even exposed to it in cases where this exposure would cause suffering. To the contrary, cannabis law reformers would argue that legalisation is better for keeping it out of the hands of the wrong people.

All that cannabis law reformers want is for the Government to stand back and allow them to use a natural plant, something that appears to be just as much a part of creation as the sunlight and the rain, as well as the wheat, apples, kiwifruit, potatoes and all the other plants.

Cannabis ought to be legal because it’s a moral obscenity for humans to arrogate to themselves the power to make parts of Nature, elements of God’s creation, illegal. There is a scriptural basis for believing that God put cannabis here for the benefit of humans, and anyone who believes in those scriptures surely must also believe that God did not do so in error.

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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: Legalisation Would Not Increase Drugged Driving Deaths

The resistance that many people have towards cannabis law reform is fear based. Like a panicky chicken, the prospect of any change at all is met with terror. One of the fears that people have at the thought of cannabis legalisation is that it will lead to carnage on our roads. As this article will examine, these fears are misguided.

As with many of the misgivings that people have about cannabis law reform, the fear of an increase in drugged driving deaths is based on a misconception about how dangerous cannabis is. This is partially based on ignorance, and partially based on the idea that being high on cannabis is like being drunk on alcohol.

The idea seems to be that perfectly otherwise normal people will smoke some cannabis and, because cannabis makes you go crazy, they will get in a car and drive like a crazy person. This perception has been stoked by sensationalist media reporting involving headlines such as “Stoned driver faces jail” when the driver in question had also been smoking methamphetamine.

The idea that cannabis legalisation will lead to more road deaths is not accurate for three major reasons.

The first is that it ignores the substitution effect (for the sake of argument, let’s agree here with the lazy assumption that legal cannabis will lead to more use). An individual driving under the influence of cannabis might not be as safe as a sober person. But evidence from elsewhere shows that, if cannabis was legalised, a proportion of incidents of drunk driving will be replaced with incidents of stoned driving, which are safer.

Research has shown that rates of alcohol use fall in places where recreational cannabis is made legal. This is because cannabis and alcohol serve as substitutes to a large extent. Because rates of alcohol use fall after cannabis legalisation, rates of drunk driving also fall, and this means that traffic fatalities also fall – significantly.

It’s better for a driver to be sober, but if they aren’t going to be sober, it’s better for them to be stoned than to be drunk. It’s a grim calculus, but if legalising cannabis would lead to twenty extra drugged driving deaths but would prevent fifty drunk driving deaths, it would be a worthwhile move.

The second is that the actual science is inconclusive as to whether being stoned impairs driving safety. Various studies have provided contradictory results. The lazy assumption is that being under the influence of any psychoactive drug, including cannabis, will make a person worse at driving. The reality is that stoned drivers take a variety of measures to reduce their risk of crashing.

Part of the problem is that unregulated cannabis contains a great variety of various cannabinoids, and these cannabinoids can be present at a great variety of frequencies. Studies appear to be clear that high doses of THC impair driver safety, which follows logically from the fact that THC is known to have a psychotogenic effect, but there is no such evidence suggesting the same about high doses of CBD.

It also appears to be true that, unlike alcohol, cannabis tolerance has an effect on whether it impairs driving performance. For many cannabis users, cannabis is merely a background substance that quietens distracting thoughts. All these reasons mean that, although no responsible person would advocate driving after using cannabis, a person who has just smoked it is not necessarily unsafe to drive.

The third is that it is irrelevant. Like with many arguments against cannabis law reform, focus on the specifics misses the bigger picture.

Not everyone trusts the Government when it says that cannabis is a substance that isn’t safe to drive on. As the linked articles above demonstrate, there are indeed instances when a person who has consumed cannabis is not safe to drive. But why would a person trust a Government public safety notice on the subject, when they have previously lied about cannabis full stop?

Over recent decades, governments all over the world have denied that cannabis was medicinal. But because people all over the world knew that it was medicinal, the end result has been decreased trust of governmental pronouncements, particularly when they relate to cannabis. So if the a government would give the perfectly reasonable advice to avoid driving within two hours of smoking, it might well be ignored.

If cannabis was legal, and if the Government spoke to the public honestly about it instead of lying, users might trust them when giving intelligent and prudent advice about smoking cannabis and driving. This would save many more lives in the long run than could possibly be saved by putting cannabis growers and users in prison.

The idea that cannabis legalisation will lead to a spate of fatal traffic accidents is fearmongering. It’s the same kind of fearmongering that claimed that legalising homosexuality would lead to everyone dying of AIDS. The experience of overseas territories that have legalised cannabis shows that these fears are little more than hysteria.

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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: Quality Control

Libertarians like to complain about government regulation, claiming that it leads to stifled innovation and more expensive products. Although this is true of mature markets, regulation for emerging markets of any good or service usually keeps cowboys out of the industry. An argument for cannabis law reform is that it would maintain a certain level of quality within cannabis products.

The black market means a lot of things. It means shady characters, violence, turf wars, unbelievable amounts of bullshit and prison sentences. It also means a variable quality of product – and this has a number of adverse consequences for people’s health.

Black market alcohol still regularly kills people in places like Norway, where legal alcohol is extremely expensive, because it doesn’t have the same quality controls as the commercial product. As a result, the person making it often has little idea of how strong their product really is. Sometimes it’s as strong as absinthe.

Despite the fact that legal alcohol still kills a lot of people, most people can understand the quality control argument against alcohol prohibition. Although legal cannabis would be much less likely than alcohol to kill people, there is still a quality control argument to be made for cannabis law reform. If one approaches the subject of cannabis law reform from a harm reduction point of view, then legalisation makes a lot more sense than prohibition.

When growing cannabis, there’s not too much that can go wrong. It’s called weed for a reason. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to grow buds that have mold on them, especially because of the fact that they are often grown indoors in moist environments, or grown outdoors in places where the rainfall can’t be controlled. This mold can easily lead to lung conditions if the bud containing it is smoked.

Much worse is that sometimes black market cannabis is sprayed with various substances that make it appear more sticky or provide more of a “hit”. This can be anything from legal highs to fly spray. It might be hard for some people to believe that anyone selling cannabis could be so unscrupulous, but that’s what people are exposed to when cannabis is on the black market. It’s complete chaos.

None of these things would happen if cannabis was commercially grown, at least not any more often than you’d buy moldy bread from the supermarket. If it ever did happen, it would trigger a review of quality control procedures at the place of manufacture, and new procedures would be put in place to make sure it didn’t happen again.

Quality control is not simply a matter of physical safety. The more science advances, the more we are coming to appreciate how many active cannabinoids there are in the cannabis plant, and how different amounts of various ones can have entirely different effects to others.

We’re starting to learn that cannabinoids like delta-9 THC, while immensely enjoyable in the right context, are not necessarily helpful from a pain relief perspective. We’re also learning that cannabinoids like CBD have a wide range of medicinal uses, but that it’s difficult to gather useful scientific data about how to prescribe them, because it’s hard to get hold of accurately calculated doses.

A regulated cannabis industry would allow for manufacturers to create products that had precise and known amounts of each ingredient cannabinoid. This would make it possible for doctors to prescribe a regular supply of the right cannabinoid at the right dose. In this context, the right dose means a dose that is strong enough to achieve the desired therapeutic effects without being so strong that it causes other problems.

Neither is quality control simply a matter of health.

Perhaps the worst examples of a lack of quality control can be found in the various ripoffs that occur on the black market. There are many elderly people who are desperate to get hold of cannabis medicine for conditions that cause them to suffer, and for who legal medicines are unsuitable. These elderly patients are then forced into the black market, and often get tricked into giving money to someone who supplies a substandard product – or even no product at all.

That vulnerable people can get ripped off to the tune of thousands of dollars by clowns who don’t know how to manufacture quality cannabis products, or by criminals who are happy to supply rubbish that doesn’t work, is one of the cruelest outcomes of cannabis prohibition. Some of these people are trying to find solace to deal with the pain of the last days of their lives, and cannabis prohibition leaves them exposed to the most exploitative elements of the black market.

This has been a common occurrence on various FaceBook groups, where old people are given a small amount of CBD oil as a sample and then asked to pay thousands for a low-grade oil that confers no therapeutic advantage. Because cannabis is illegal, these old people have no chance of getting justice through Police action. Of course, the scammers are fully aware of this, because prohibition is a criminal’s best friend.

Cannabis should be made legal so as to make sure that the cannabis that people use, and which they are going to use regardless of the law, is of an adequate quality. This will not only avoid the occasional physical illness that comes from buying black market cannabis, but it will also decrease the suffering caused by criminal activity in the cannabis market.

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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: It’s Easier To Stop Using Cannabis If It’s Legal

Many people take an overly simplistic approach to cannabis law reform and assume that cannabis prohibition leads to less use and less desire to use. In truth, much like the fact that people don’t use more cannabis in places where it is legal, cannabis prohibition doesn’t even help addicts. As this article will show, it would be easier for people to stop using cannabis if it was legal.

The logic appears to be that making cannabis illegal will make people decide to stop using it. If it’s not possible to openly grow and sell cannabis, some people reason, then it won’t be as easy for a person to maintain a cannabis habit, and therefore people will be incentivised to quit.

Many people who support this theory seem to assume that cannabis users, many of who are using the substance for medicinal reasons, will just sit and mope for a while and then go and do something more productive. Not only does this ignore the obvious fact that it’s easy to get hold of cannabis pretty much anywhere in New Zealand, it also ignores human psychology.

The reality is, thanks to the wonders of something called variable interval reinforcement, prohibiting cannabis actually makes addicted cannabis users more addicted. Under prohibition, because a person can never be sure if they can maintain a supply, they come to cherish cannabis a lot more when they do get it. So when they do use it, the reinforcing effect is much more powerful.

There are two major reasons why legal cannabis would make it easier for those who are cannabis addicts to quit.

It might not be easy for the average educated, middle-class person to appreciate, but not everyone trusts their doctor or mental health worker. Just because the average Normie considers their doctor to be an intimate confidante doesn’t mean that the average cannabis user feels the same way.

Attitudes have changed sharply compared to some decades ago, but there’s still a lot of distrust on the part of many cannabis users towards health professionals. So if they are honestly advised to quit cannabis for good reasons, they are less likely to pay heed, because they can’t be sure if the advice is coming from a place of honesty or is a formality due to the law.

It’s not easy for a doctor to say that cannabis would be beneficial if it is not legal. For one thing, they don’t want to get a reputation for being the local cannabis doctor. For another thing, there are potential professional consequences. None of them want to explain to a professional board why they recommended an illegal drug to a patient.

If cannabis were legal, it would be possible to trust your doctor if they would say that you wouldn’t benefit from using medicinal cannabis. As it is, if your doctor does not recommend medicinal cannabis, it’s impossible to know if they say this because they believe cannabis would be harmful, or if they believe cannabis would be beneficial but are afraid of potential professional or legal consequences for saying so.

The second major reason is that legal cannabis would make it easier for a user, who accepted that they were addicted, to taper down their use with the intent of stopping.

This relates to the reinforcement schedules referenced above. In the same way that it’s better to use variable interval reinforcement to strengthen a response, it’s better to use fixed interval reinforcement to weaken one. This is because it leads to a gradual weakening of the craving, rather than taking it full force and risking a relapse.

Anyone who has tried to suddenly stop using tobacco or alcohol knows how difficult it is to just make a clean break with it. In most cases, if there is not an immediate threat of death, a person will be advised by their doctor not to quit cold turkey but rather to taper down over a few weeks or a month. As mentioned above, this is partly to avoid relapse, but it’s partly because this is less painful.

People who were interested in stopping their cannabis use could, if we had a sane system, get a prescription for a fixed amount of cannabis with a view to tapering off. They could be given a number of joints and told to smoke x for the first week, x-1 for the second week, x-2 for the third week – or whatever worked.

This would prevent the disaster scenario familiar to people who have tried to stop smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, in which one sits there while the craving for the drug rises and rises, until one finally caves, at which point using it feels like a divine gift. As mentioned above, this variable interval reinforcement only makes it much harder to quit.

Legal cannabis would be much better for those addicted than prohibition is. It would encourage addicts to trust their doctors when they suggested that cannabis had no medicinal value for them, and it would enable those doctors (or psychologists) to provide a schedule of decreasing fixed reinforcement that would allow for a relatively painless transition to sobriety.

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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: It Doesn’t Matter That Awful People Support Cannabis Law Reform

Some people – whether they’re honest about it or not – don’t support cannabis law reform because of the sort of person who does support it. Because many unpleasant and dangerous people think that cannabis prohibition is a bad idea, some others have gone as far as to conclude that it must really be a good idea. As this article will show, it doesn’t matter that awful people support cannabis law reform.

Indeed, demographic analysis shows that the sort of person who supports cannabis law reform isn’t the same sort of person who is doing the best. According to Dan McGlashan’s Understanding New Zealand, the correlation between voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017 and net personal income was -0.48, meaning that ALCP supporters were among the poorest in the nation, about as poor as National voters are wealthy.

Voting ALCP in 2017 had a correlation of 0.66 with being a solo parent, 0.68 with having no formal academic qualifications, 0.79 with being on the invalid’s benefit, 0.82 with being on the unemployment benefit and a whopping 0.89 with being a regular tobacco smoker. This suggests that being a cannabis supporter is correlated with just about every measure of low social standing.

Clearly, cannabis isn’t a drug for people who are doing well in life. Fundamentally, cannabis is a medicine, and therefore it appeals primarily to people who are sick in some way. This is obvious from the strong correlation between voting ALCP and being on the invalid’s benefit, because many of those people have discovered cannabis in their desperation. It’s not surprising, then, that its supporters are generally people who aren’t doing well.

None of that matters when it comes to determining the fairness of cannabis law reform.

Many people don’t like to use objective, intellectual reasoning when they make decisions. As was understood by Edward Bernays, people often rely on the consensus opinion of the herd when they choose what car to buy, or what political party to vote for. More specifically, they rely on the consensus opinion of their peer group.

People who are in this category, and whose peer group are prejudiced against cannabis users, tend to be prejudiced against cannabis as well. Their reasoning follows the logic that, because the sort of person who supports cannabis has a low social standing, they can’t have devoted any real honest thought to the issue. However, this entire argument is based on a kind of snobbery. It’s little more than looking down one’s nose at another person.

In fact, it’s a classic example of an ad hominem fallacy. Just because an argument for cannabis law reform comes from a person who isn’t a highly upstanding member of the community doesn’t mean that the argument is false in any way. The logical validity of the argument for cannabis law reform has no relation to the social standing of the people promoting it.

Variations of the ad hominem fallacy have been used to oppose most other kinds of reform. Women’s suffrage was opposed by those who characterised its supporters as spinsters and shrews. Homosexual law reform was opposed by those who characterised its supporters as AIDS-riddled degenerates. In more recent times, capital gains tax reform has been opposed by those who characterise it as expropriation and its supporters as communists.

It’s also a circular argument to say that cannabis should be prohibited because criminals use cannabis. If cannabis is illegal, then of course only criminals are going to use it. So a person cannot then turn around and argue that, because only criminals use it, this is justification for keeping it illegal.

People who use this argument tend to portray cannabis users, and cannabis law reform proponents, as brutally immoral degenerates. Dealing cannabis is viewed not as bravely supplying a medicine in the face of a tyrannical political system, but as maliciously destroying other people’s brains for life. Cannabis dealers are equated to child molesters in terms of the suffering they bring.

Even if this absurd caricature was true, it wouldn’t matter. In much the same way that neo-Nazis have a fair point when they talk about the effect of mass immigration on social cohesion, and in the same way that ecofascists have a fair point when they talk about the effect of vehicle exhaust pollution on the world’s ecosystems, all those members of society’s underclass who support cannabis law reform have a fair argument to make.

Although it’s true that the strongest support for cannabis law reform comes from society’s underclass, individuals within that underclass aren’t necessarily there because they are evil or immoral. Most of the people who use cannabis are doing badly because they are ill, either physically or mentally – cannabis is ultimately a medicine, before it is anything else.

So just because a person is poor, or a criminal, doesn’t mean that their arguments in favour of cannabis law reform can be dismissed. To the contrary – it is often people like this who are at the front lines of the War on Drugs, and understand and accounting for their experiences is crucial if we are to set the world to peace and order.

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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: It Doesn’t Matter That High-THC Strains Now Exist

A prohibitionist argument beloved of the Police is that cannabis should stay illegal because it now contains much more THC than it used to. This is commonly employed as a counterargument to imply that, even though the dangers of cannabis use have been massively exaggerated, it should still be illegal, because the warnings have become accurate over time. This article explains why this argument is false.

This BBC article is a good example of the ridiculous propaganda that people have been exposed to over the years. It claims that “high-potency cannabis or skunk” is a completely different form of cannabis to the herbal cannabis that people usually smoke. This is done in an effort to make people think that the threat posed by legalisation is categorically more extreme than it was in the past.

It’s true that some cannabis strains today are much, much stronger than what used to exist, despite the nostalgic recollections of old hippies. Breeders have had decades to experiment with these strains, and some of them have cultivated varieties that are much higher in THC than anything that could have existed previously.

Because a high-THC strain will offer more of a buzz per unit of volume, it naturally makes for a superior product from a criminal point of view. The greater the buzz per unit of volume, the easier it is to transport, to hide and to smuggle. Black market dealers can charge more if their product gets a reputation for being superpowered, and all of this has caused high-THC strains to dominate the market in many places.

Although it’s true that a high-THC strain of cannabis can create unwanted reactions, particularly by producing a more intense experience than desired, this is only a problem if cannabis is sold on the black market. Like many of the arguments for cannabis prohibition that appeal to the harms of cannabis, further investigation shows that the harm is caused by prohibition and not by cannabis itself.

A high-THC strain of cannabis can get a person stoned faster than a low-THC strain, and perhaps also more heavily, but this is not anything close to a legitimate argument in favour of cannabis prohibition. The safest way to protect people from getting a more intense buzz than they wanted is actually to legalise cannabis, for two reasons.

Legal, properly regulated cannabis means that whatever a person consumes must be clearly labelled with a cannabinoid profile. This means that the user will know what they’re getting. If a person is inexperienced with cannabis they might want specifically to avoid a high-THC strain or to use a high-CBD strain. Even if they are experienced, they might want to know they’re using a high-CBD strain.

As mentioned elsewhere, only legal cannabis can make this possible, because only cannabis produced by legitimate white market professionals will be tested and analysed to determine its precise cannabinoid profile. Therefore, only legal cannabis can ensure that the user knows what they’re getting and can take the appropriate measures.

This approach synergises with having honest education about cannabis use at high school level. In the same way the high schoolers are educated about sex, driving and alcohol, an honest approach would see them educated about cannabis as well. Part of this approach would involve being told that high-THC strains can provoke effects that are more powerful than intended.

The second reason is that regulating cannabis makes it possible to pass a law, as has been done in some American jurisdictions, so that the recreational cannabis being sold in shops must contain a minimum percentage of CBD. This is done with the intent of minimising psychotic responses, as there is evidence that the CBD in cannabis has an anti-psychotic effect that balances that psychotogenic effect of the THC.

Regulation means that the circumstances in which people use cannabis can be controlled with a view to preventing adverse outcomes such as overdoses on super high-THC skunk. Even if it was not deemed necessary to legislate for a minimum CBD level for all cannabis, it could be ensured that the cannabis consumed publicly in cafes had such a limitation.

Prohibiting cannabis because of the fear of high-THC strains is like prohibiting alcohol because absinthe exists. It’s a dumb move that just leads to more suffering in the end. It would be much better to legalise cannabis so that people both knew how to use cannabis properly and also the chemical makeup of any strain they may wish to use.

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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.

You Will Never Be Allowed Any Alternative to Neoliberalism

Workers and labourers were disappointed on Wednesday by the news that the Sixth Labour Government had ruled out a capital gains tax. Many working Kiwis felt it unfair that their labour continues to be taxed at such a high rate while unearned income remains untaxed, and felt that the Labour Party had betrayed them. As this essay will argue, they better get used to it, because New Zealanders will never be allowed an alternative to neoliberalism.

Jacinda Ardern had come to power with a promise that “neoliberalism had failed“, and gave every impression that the Labour Party would offer a new approach. The 35-year experiment of putting money above people had only delivered misery, and Ardern and her Labour Party had caused many to believe that their ascent to power would mark a change in attitude.

Like most utterances from politicians, this was total shit.

The reality is that Ardern and her Labour Party are just as much puppets of globalist industrial and finance interests as their National predecessors, and this is obvious if one looks at their actions in the 18 months they have been in power.

One of the first things Labour did was to double the refugee quota, increasing the flow of cheap labour into the country at the expense of New Zealand wage earners. As this newspaper has mentioned elsewhere, neoliberals love refugees, because they work for cheap and because they destroy the solidarity of the native working classes, thereby weakening their negotiating position.

Labour has also ignored cannabis law reform their whole time in power. While Andrew Little enthusiastically fast-tracks all kinds of laws to take Kiwi freedoms away, he lacks the courage even to say that cannabis is a medicine. Neoliberals are almost always materialists, and they fear cannabis because they fear that it will turn people away from the acquisitive greed that our economies are propped up by.

Perhaps the worst slap in the face, though, was when Labour ruled out a capital gains tax. Their refusal to tax the unearned income of property speculators meant that the burden of funding the government had to come from wage earners instead. Effectively, Jacinda Ardern chose to subsidise the unearned income of the rich with the labour of the poor.

The reality for New Zealand voters, who had cast the Fifth National Government out of power after nine years of neglect, is stark. There is no alternative to neoliberalism. It doesn’t matter how much suffering the Kiwi people have to endure; it doesn’t matter if you can never own a house on the average wage. We will never be allowed, within our current political system, to put our own people above money.

A reader might object here that voters could vote for a third party if they didn’t want neoliberalism, but the system is rigged so that only Labour and National can hold power.

Not only is there an electoral threshold of 5%, which has the effect of preventing any alternative to neoliberalism from getting a foothold in Parliament, but funding for electoral broadcasts is apportioned according to party size. Labour and National together get over half of all allocated electoral broadcast funding, which entrenches both these parties and the neoliberalism they represent.

There is no alternative, within our existing system, to neoliberalism. Everything Labour and National do benefits the wealthy at the expense of the poor, and especially the wealthy with no ties to the nation. Nothing they do will benefit the Kiwi worker whose hands build our roads, tend our crops and care for our sick.

Therefore, there is no alternative to skyrocketing rents, falling wages and the mass importation of cheap labour in the form of refugees. The only way that the Kiwi nation can ever get respite from this is revolution.

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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: Cannabis Does Not Make People Impotent

Everyone by now has seen the propaganda image on the back of the tobacco packet that depicts a droopy cigarette, imitating erectile dysfunction. Cannabis has undergone a similar propaganda attack, with many people coming to believe that cannabis can make people impotent. This article shows that the truth, once again, is very different to what we have been told.

Like many things that the authorities want to forbid, cannabis has variously been blamed for pretty much everything that could go wrong in a person’s life. Cannabis causes psychosis, it causes cancer, it causes crime, and we’re also told that it makes people impotent.

Now, it’s certainly true that smoking things is not healthy. Smoking anything, cannabis or tobacco, leads to unhealthy lungs and worse circulation. It also leads to heart disease. All of this makes it much harder for smokers to get healthy erections, as this is a function of the health of the circulatory system.

It’s also true that not all cannabis users are healthy. Part of the reason for this is because they smoke things (as mentioned above), but most of the reason is that cannabis is a medicine, and medicines are not typically used by healthy people. People who aren’t healthy also tend to be sexually dysfunctional, for obvious reasons, so there’s a clear reason to expect the presence of a link between the two.

However, the simple facts are that cannabis does not make people impotent. In fact, like so many of the things that people have come to believe about cannabis on account of the propaganda, the truth is closer to the opposite of what we have been told. In fact, cannabis is an aphrodisiac, and has been employed as such for a very long time.

Indeed, cannabis has been known to be an aphrodisiac for millennia. There are references to it in Ayurvedic folk medicine from 2,500 years ago, and its use as an aphrodisiac may be as much as 3,000 years old. The efficacy of cannabis for such purposes is well-known among young and free-thinking people today.

There are several reasons for this, as any hippie could tell you. Most of the reasons are psychological, the most obvious being one that cannabis shares with alcohol: it’s an anxiolytic. People are often too physically anxious and wound up to be able to make love, because their bodies are in fight mode, and so being touched releases cortisol instead of oxytocin.

Cannabis can change that by putting a person into a calmer, more relaxed mood. It can have the effect of stopping runaway, neurotic or aggressive thoughts and replacing them with more placid and appreciative feelings. Cannabis has the ability to get people into the right mood for sex, probably a combination of its anxiolytic effects and the increased physical sensitivity it offers.

Another psychological obstacle to enjoying the sexual experience is deep religious brainwashing in childhood. Many people have been deeply conditioned, since early childhood, to believe that sex was evil and that enjoying the sexual impulse was an act of evil. For some of these people, it’s no longer possible to enjoy having sex while in a normal state of mind.

Yet another common psychological obstacle is previous sexual trauma. Many women who have been sexually molested or raped have difficulty letting go of the trauma enough to trust a man in bed. Likewise, many men find it difficult to achieve the desired level of responsiveness on account of previous humiliations. These kinds of prior traumas often make it difficult for a person to properly enjoy having sex.

Cannabis can help overcome all of these obstacles, thanks to the deconditioning effect that it has on the mind. Because cannabis is good for breaking down old thought patterns, it can break down the conditioned emotional response that occurs when a person is exposed to a stimulus that reminds them of a previous trauma.

One reason why cannabis has become associated with psychosis is because it makes people more open and more willing to explore. This is also one of the reasons why cannabis does the opposite of making people impotent. Sometimes a person is closed off to the idea of intimacy, and not because of trauma or any of the above reasons, but from sheer natural boringness. Cannabis can be what’s needed to open such a person up.

Of course, all this is part of the reason why cannabis was banned in the first place. It’s the basis for the “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men” comment that led to the prohibition of cannabis. The deconditioning effect of cannabis is a danger to those who benefit from the initial conditioning. Those brainwashers have a profound influence on our lawmakers.

Again, the correct approach must be one that maximises freedom while minimising new danger and risk. The apparent paradox that daily cannabis use can decrease sexual function, while occasional cannabis use can increase it, needs to be recognised. This can only become possible if our current dishonest approach to cannabis is replaced with an honest one.

From there, it will be possible to both get medical treatment for those who use too much cannabis, and to get medical treatment for those who have problems with impotency and who could benefit from cannabis. The humane thing to do would be to legalise it so that people can get the help they need, when they need it, without interference from the law.

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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: One Person Who Smoked Cannabis And Went Crazy Is Not A Pattern

If one talks to many prohibitionists, one argument that comes up over and over again is the argument from personal experience. They will tell a story about how they knew a person who was doing great, until one day they smoked cannabis and just went crazy. This article explain why this is not a legitimate reason to keep cannabis illegal.

It’s a familiar story by now. The straight-A student, the hard-working businessman or the devoted mother, all living amazing lives until they had a smoke of cannabis and then – boom, total mental collapse. It’s a story familiar to anyone who has seen the film Trainspotting, only it doesn’t really happen that way with cannabis.

It’s true that the use of cannabis often occurs at the same time that a person becomes a psychiatric casualty. Inevitably, however, further examination of the lives of these people show that things aren’t as simple as use cannabis, go crazy.

Psychosis isn’t normally something that just breaks out from nowhere. Usually it’s something that develops, quickly or slowly, over a period of time, during which the person becomes more and more agitated. In most cases when psychosis is preceded by cannabis use, there are multiple factors at play, in particular lack of sleep, anxiety, adrenaline and job, health or relationship stresses.

When a person hears about someone they know using cannabis and then having a psychiatric event, what they don’t also hear about is the surrounding life circumstances. Almost always, the supposedly “healthy” person was either starting to feel overwhelmed with the pressure and stress in their lives (which is what turned them to cannabis) or there was a pre-existing psychiatric condition that wasn’t known about and which was exacerbated by cannabis use.

More academically, it is said that the plural of anecdote is not data. Knowing that one person who had a psychotic break happened to have used cannabis at some point leading up to it is one thing. It is not, however, evidence that a wider pattern exists of perfectly healthy people using cannabis and then becoming psychotic.

Even more academically, arguing that cannabis should be illegal because you knew one person who smoked it and went crazy is an example of the fallacy of composition. This is a logical fallacy that states that something that is true of one member of a group (such as one cannabis user) is true of the entire group (all cannabis users).

In other words, even if was true that there was one person who did become psychotic purely on account of cannabis use and no other factor, it wouldn’t make it possible to generalise this experience onto all people who use cannabis. One example is just one example, and it requires many further such examples before one can conclude that using cannabis inevitably leads to psychosis.

However, it’s entirely possible that using cannabis can contribute to psychosis under certain circumstances.

The first common way is that it can bring up traumatic memories. A large number of people, perhaps even a majority, have some kind of suppressed memory. Usually this relates to an early childhood trauma, with violence and sexual assault being the most common. The percolating effect of cannabis on the thoughts can cause such repressed traumas to bubble to the surface, and often in contexts where the user is not prepared for them.

Many people have been forced to suppress these memories in order to have a chance at an ordinary life. So when they suddenly face them again, the stress of this can lead to an episode of mental disturbance. This is particularly true if the memory cannot easily be suppressed again.

The second common way is that it can bring the user into spiritual realms of thought that they may not be prepared for. As discussed at length elsewhere in this book, cannabis is a spiritual sacrament. The dangerous side of this is when people use it expecting a high, and instead find themselves confronted with deep existential or spiritual questions.

It’s normal for people to avoid thinking about the fact that they’re going to die one day. One of the most common ways to break this habit is to have a smoke of cannabis and find one’s mind drifting to unusual places. The deconditioning effect of cannabis can have a greatly beneficial effect on creativity, but push it too far and you can lose touch with the bonds tethering you to collective reality.

Neither of these common ways can be helped by making cannabis illegal. Pushing cannabis underground has only had the effect of making people unaware of the real psychological effects of the substance, and this lack of proper awareness has caused more damage than cannabis itself.

In any case, given the large numbers of people who do use cannabis in New Zealand, and the large numbers of mentally ill people in New Zealand, it’s not surprising for someone to know a person who is in both of these categories. If someone did know a person who used cannabis and later became mentally ill, that’s not indicative of a wider pattern.

Furthermore, this argument ignores all the people who use cannabis and don’t go crazy. If 11% of the population has used cannabis within the past 12 months, that’s a huge number of people. It means that the average person probably knows a couple of dozen cannabis users. If this is the case, then it’s notable that they only knew one person who seemed to have a psychotic episode linked with cannabis use.

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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: A Criminal Record is A Disproportionate Punishment

Cannabis possession or cultivation are currently crimes, which means that a criminal record is a common result from being arrested for a cannabis offence. Our justice system, however, is supposed to operate on the principle that “the punishment fits the crime”. This article will argue that getting a criminal record for anything to do with cannabis is grossly disproportionate, considering the severity of the crime.

Having a criminal record makes a person’s life a lot harder. Many employers will filter out applicants with criminal records before they even seriously consider them. This is true of almost every job that requires any real responsibility. This means that a future of poverty, or at least severely limited economic opportunities, is a common consequence of getting a criminal conviction.

Of course, having a criminal record is supposed to make people’s lives harder. A criminal is a person who has declared that they are unable or unwilling to abide by the rules of decent society, and it’s fair that they’re marked as such for the safety of other people. We’re not allowed to chop people’s hands off anymore, so there’s no other way to clearly mark a person as a member of the criminal class other than to give them a record.

The problem is that cannabis use isn’t a crime like a real crime is. Real crimes have victims. It’s fair that a criminal record marks a person who has acted with gross disregard or malice towards life and towards suffering. But a person who grew some medicinal cannabis plants has not shown any callousness or ill will. If anything, they should be rewarded for taking actions to alleviate suffering in the face of discouragement from the law.

Becoming unemployable because of a criminal record is one thing if you are a murderer, rapist or fraudster. In cases like these, it’s probably fair for the vast majority of employers to rule such people out from the beginning. But a person who used cannabis, even if they grew it, has not done anything to warrant being placed in the same class as those who have callously brought harm to others.

In any case, that’s not where the punishment ends. Most fair people can agree that it’s unnecessarily brutal for a person with a cannabis conviction to have trouble finding work for the rest of their lives, but it’s also extremely hard to travel with a criminal conviction. Many countries – Canada and America among the most notorious – regularly refuse to let people in if they have a criminal record, reasoning that they have failed to demonstrate sufficient good character.

These two punishments tie in with each other. Many jobs nowadays involve international travel, and this pattern looks set to continue as the world continues to globalise and integrate. This means that, in order to be able to perform an increasing number of jobs, one needs to be free to travel internationally. A person with a criminal conviction preventing them from travel is effectively disqualified from all of these jobs.

Forty years ago, when the War on Drugs was just ramping up, the sort of person who got a cannabis conviction probably wasn’t likely to travel overseas anyway. But in 2019, being restricted from overseas travel for life is a heavy punishment indeed.

It’s worth noting here that a criminal record also affects the wider family. An adult whose employment and travel opportunities are restricted will have trouble providing not only for themselves, but also for their families. So the children of people who grow up with cannabis convictions are also punished.

All of this constitutes obscene cruelty, especially when it is considered that cannabis is a medicine, and that most people who grow it do so to alleviate suffering.

It was once – falsely – believed that cannabis caused a lot of harm. When it was thought that cannabis was a dangerously addictive drug that destroyed peoples minds, then giving someone a criminal record for cannabis may have made some vague kind of sense. Now that we know that cannabis prohibition was built on false premises, it is apparent that giving someone a criminal record for dealing with it is unfair.

In this case, the correct thing to do is to formalise this state of affairs, and as soon as possible, by repealing cannabis prohibition. We can no longer, in good faith, argue that giving someone a criminal conviction is a punishment that fits the suffering caused by the supposed crime.

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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: Law Reform Would Bring Sense to Workplace Drug Testing

One of the worst things about cannabis prohibition is not that it gives people to opportunity to mistreat each other, but that it coerces them into doing so. The fact that cannabis is illegal means that people are essentially forced into taking particular measures when they come into contact with it. These measures often unfairly impact a number of people, which is another reason why the cannabis laws ought to be changed, as this article will examine.

Right now, in many places across the West, there is a common but extremely cruel phenomenon taking place. It is that of all of the people losing their jobs because of being forced to take a urine sample at work, and having it turn out positive for cannabis.

The logic goes like this. Many jobs, in particular those involving the operation of heavy machinery, cannot be performed safely by those under the influence of drugs. This goes for not only alcohol and cannabis but for many other substances. These jobs require a sober mind, because anyone not sober could easily kill themselves, someone else, or do millions of dollars worth of damage.

Fair enough. But because it’s not always possible to rely on a person to come to work sober, some insurance companies, as a condition of granting insurance, make it necessary for the company seeking insurance to perform drug tests on their employees so that they can remove the ones who are working under the influence of some drug, thereby making the workplace safer.

This is fair-ish, but where it truly crosses the line into unfairness is the fact that instead of testing for cannabis impairment, the urine tests test for the presence of certain metabolites that are present in the urine if the person has used cannabis at some point in the recent past, perhaps even 30 days (or more). So the urine test can only determine if you have used cannabis recently, not whether you’re impaired at the time of the test.

This means that “failing a drug test” has got little to do with whether or not your ability to do your job safely was impaired. Many people who get fired for failing a drug test are not even impaired at the time the test was taken. So a lot of people are getting discriminated against, unfairly, on account of cannabis use that probably isn’t even affecting their ability to perform their work duties safely.

In many cases, the employer is perfectly fine with this arrangement. Any employee who uses cannabis is more likely to be a freethinker and therefore disobedient, or more likely to demand a higher wage. A urine test that reveals both a tendency towards freethinking and evidence of having committed a crime is a perfect excuse to fire someone, but the option shouldn’t be available.

If cannabis became legal, some things would change with regards to this arrangement. Of course, cannabis law reform wouldn’t suddenly make it legal to go to work stoned. Every workplace would still be obliged to meet the same health and safety standards as before. The most likely difference is that it could become possible that any employer drug testing their staff was legally mandated to use swab tests to test for impairment, and not urine tests to test for the presence of metabolites indicating use within the past 30 days.

Generally employers prefer to do a urine sample because it’s cheaper, but if cannabis were legal, an employee might be able to bring a case for unfair dismissal to court if they were fired for the presence of metabolites in the urine. Such a case might well rule that, if cannabis is legal, such an action constitutes unfair dismissal, and therefore the employer is obliged to use a swab test to test for impairment instead.

It could be argued that employers would actually benefit from this policy as well. In the modern workplace, finding staff is harder than before on account of the increased need for training and education. If a person wants to work, there’s no reason why the fact that they smoked a bong two weeks ago should prevent them. The reality is that they’re probably safer than someone who is hungover.

It would be better for everyone for the law to change so that some sanity could be restored to the issue. If cannabis were legal, than the workplace standard would be a swab test for intoxication, not a urine test for the presence of metabolites. This would mean that it was possible to make a distinction between stoned people, who shouldn’t be in certain workplaces, and people who have used cannabis recently, who are no less safe than anyone else.

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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: Legalisation Would Not Increase Rates of Cannabis Use

A common prohibitionist double-whammy is to argue that cannabis should remain illegal because, if it were made legal, people would use it more, and because its use is harmful, legalisation would therefore lead to more harm. This article will not argue whether cannabis is harmful (this is done elsewhere), but will simply summarise what the evidence suggests: that legalisation will not increase rates of cannabis use.

It seems intuitively obvious that making cannabis illegal lowers the rate of cannabis use. After all, the whole point of making it illegal was to make it harder to get, and if it were legal people would be able to buy it from shops.

Fair enough, but the statistics show a different story.

The truth is that cannabis cultivation is so common (believed to account for 1% of electricity consumption) that pretty much anyone who wants to get hold of it can, except for times of unusually high demand. This means that the cannabis market is already saturated – and this can be demonstrated with reference to real-world examples.

The most obvious counterpoint to the argument that legalising cannabis will increase rates of use is the fact that rates of cannabis use are not higher in places where it is legal.

In the Netherlands, 8% of the adult population has used cannabis at some point in the last 12 months. This rate is lower than in Australia (10.6%), where cannabis is illegal, and much lower than in New Zealand (14.6%), where cannabis is also illegal. In countries such as Israel and Ghana, the rate of cannabis use is higher still. Cannabis might not be technically legal in the Netherlands, but in practice anyone who wants to buy it from a shop can do so.

If legalising cannabis will inevitably cause rates of use to increase, how can it be possible that rates of use are lower in a place where it is legal, where getting supplied is as simple as walking into a shop? If the link between cannabis being legal and higher rates of cannabis use is so certain, we could expect to see higher usage rates in all the places where it is legal, and lower usage rates in all the places where it is illegal. In reality, any such correlation is hard to discern.

The truth is already known to anyone who has ever been to the Netherlands. Cannabis is easy to get hold of, yes, and the Police won’t harass you for it, that’s true, but the bulk of the population would rather drink alcohol anyway. Cannabis law reform didn’t turn a large number of non-drug users into cannabis users – a small number of alcohol users became cannabis users, and the rest stayed the same.

The absence of a correlation between the legal status of cannabis and the rate of use within a jurisdiction is not the only place that statistics disprove the idea that legalisation will lead to more cannabis use.

A poll by the Colorado Department of Public Health found that cannabis use rates declined among teenagers after legalisation, with rates of teenage use in Colorado lower than the American national average. Another study, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, supports the idea that teenage cannabis use rates actually declined after it was made legal.

In fact, the latter study suggests that teen cannabis use rates declined in the majority of states that recently made cannabis legal. It may be, as some have suggested for decades, that the Government lying about the effects of cannabis and exaggerating its dangers was what led to many young people becoming attracted to it. Had there never been an unjust law prohibiting cannabis, it’s possible that the rebellious section of society would never have felt obliged to defy it.

At this point it could be countered that, even if teenage usage rates of cannabis go down, and even if this was the most important thing, adult rates of cannabis use might still increase if cannabis were legalised, and that this might lead to more harm. Leaving aside the fact that this argument has already been countered in the first part of this article, it doesn’t even apply here.

There is little doubt that some people will replace recreational alcohol use with recreational cannabis use if it were legal to do so. Technically, this would mean that the rate of cannabis use would increase, but the rate of recreational drug use would remain the same. Moreover, the rate of harm caused by recreational drug use would decrease if some people replaced boozing with cannabis, on account of that alcohol is more harmful.

Ultimately, the argument that cannabis legalisation would lead to more suffering through increased rates of cannabis use is in error, for multiple reasons. A review of the statistical data shows that cannabis use is not higher in places where it is legal, and also that rates of teen use have declined in American states that have made it legal.

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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 Makes the Police Less Effective

Of all of the side-effects of cannabis prohibition, one of the most insidious is the suffering caused to the population by decreased bureaucratic and institutional effectiveness. This occurs across a range of Government agencies, but none as severely as the criminal justice system. As this article will examine, cannabis prohibition makes the Police less effective and less able to do their jobs properly.

A lot of successful Police work depends on input from the community, because the Police frequently rely on tips from people who know about crimes. Criminals aren’t always tight-lipped, and sometimes they talk about their crimes when they shouldn’t (especially to women). Many more crimes get solved as a result of someone who knew the perpetrator ratting them out than as a result of detectives finding clues with magnifying glasses.

This is why reports of crimes in the media frequently come with an appeal from Police to witnesses or anyone who knows the perpetrator to come forward. Realistically, this is the best that the Police can do in many cases. It’s easy to see, then, that policing depends on having good relations with the community, and a sense of mutual trust.

If cannabis is illegal, then any individual cannabis user is going to be very wary of the Police, and for good reason. They will be highly averse to having officers come to their house, and will be highly averse to making contact with the Police. After all, they are criminals themselves.

It’s easy to imagine this from the perspective of a cannabis user. Why would a cannabis user who has just witnessed a crime call the Police, when doing so greatly increases the risk that said cannabis user gets arrested themselves? If the Police want to talk to them, then the cannabis user is going to have to present themselves with no sign that they use cannabis, or risk getting arrested.

This makes the Police less effective because they can no longer rely on the voluntary co-operation of cannabis users. Prohibition shifts people who use cannabis from the set of potential Police allies to the set of Police opponents.

This also isn’t the only way that cannabis makes the Police less effective.

A British study showed that one million manhours of Police time was spent every year on enforcing cannabis prohibition. This accounts for all the arrests, all the time spent booking and processing people and the following up of tips. Adjusting for the size of the country, that suggests that somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 manhours are wasted in this manner every year in New Zealand.

The fact of the matter is that the general Police budget is limited, and the manhours used to enforce cannabis prohibition come out of that general Police budget. So 70,000 hours spent harassing people for cannabis is 70,000 hours not spent following up burglaries, assaults, thefts and the other petty crimes whose enforcement depends on general funding.

In the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings, it emerged that shooter Branton Tarrant had never had his firearms licence checked by the Police. He had come to New Zealand with an Australian firearms licence and used that to purchase weaponry, and at no point was it ensured that he had his firearms safely locked away, or even that he was in a sound mind to own them.

This is not to argue that the Christchurch mosque shootings would have been prevented if cannabis was legal. The point is that Police effectiveness is a matter of correctly apportioning their limited manhours to enforcing the laws of New Zealand. Should they decide that a certain amount of spending is necessary to enforce cannabis prohibition, then they cannot escape the opportunity cost of not having the funding to fully enforce certain other areas.

Cannabis prohibition should be repealed for the sake of making the Police force more effective. Not only would this allow for a decrease in the mistrust held by sections of the population towards the Police, but it would also allow the Police to expend their resources more efficiently, by freeing up at least 70,000 manhours currently wasted on enforcing cannabis prohibition.

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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: Legalisation Will Not Lead to A Black Market

One of the fears of those who are against cannabis law reform is that a legal system would lead to the growth of the black market in cannabis production. Therefore, it would be better to keep cannabis illegal. As this article will examine, this reasoning is based on at least two major errors.

The logic goes like this: it costs X amount of dollars to buy an ounce of cannabis – let’s say 300. Cannabis is likely to be taxed in a manner similar to alcohol, and alcohol taxes are reasonably hefty, so let’s assume at least a 20% sin tax on cannabis, plus 15% GST – this is already over $400 an ounce.

This could mean that legal cannabis will cause so much tax to be added to the cost of an ounce that black market operators will be able to undercut it. Since cannabis growing will not be cracked down on because of its new legal status, large numbers of people will be able to grow and to enter the black market at no risk.

This reasoning is false in two major ways.

The first is that is doesn’t account for economies of scale. On the black market – which is currently where all cannabis is sold – producing cannabis isn’t cheap. As mentioned elsewhere, home cannabis grows suck up as much as 1% of the electricity production of nations such as America and New Zealand. These are incredibly inefficient compared to warehouse grows.

Moreover, cannabis sold in a legal market, from dispensaries, would not carry the risk premium associated with a product sold on the black market. The risk premium is very high in the case of cannabis, because a lot of product gets intercepted by Police action before it ever gets sold, and the losses from this have to be balanced against finalised sales.

Taking both of these things into account, we can see that the production cost of legal cannabis, manufactured by the ton and distributed to pharmacies without interruption, is going to be a fraction of what it is currently. This means that it will be possible to put GST on it and a sin tax on top of that, and still sell cannabis for $200 an ounce, or less.

No black market producer could compete with this and still make enough of a profit for it to be worthwhile. So, if anything, legal cannabis would sooner wipe the black market out completely by undercutting it. This was a principle understood in Uruguay when they made cannabis legal in 2013 – they set the price of cannabis at $1 a gram.

The second major reason why we need not be concerned about a black market is because we have the capacity ourselves to more-or-less set the final cannabis price through taxation.

There are really two kinds of prohibition: hard prohibition and soft prohibition. What we have right now is hard prohibition, where the Police will physically smash anyone in possession of cannabis, or cultivating it. This is hard because it uses the full power of the state, and will go as far as killing you to enforce it, or putting you in a cage for several years. We are simply not allowed it and no correspondence will be entered into.

But making something legal, and then taxing it to the point where it’s almost impossible to afford, is a kind of prohibition. The New Zealand Government is currently employing soft prohibition of tobacco, in that it has been raising the tobacco taxes every year, with the stated intent of forcing tobacco cessation through making it unaffordable. This it believes is in the greater good.

Soft prohibition shares many of the drawbacks of hard prohibition. In the case of cannabis in New Zealand, we can see that black market tobacco has made a comeback, to the point where trade in it is believed to cost the New Zealand Government tens of millions is lost taxes every year. So we can see that high taxes on legal cannabis is a bad idea, if the black market is to be discouraged.

If cannabis legalisation was done intelligently – which is to say that it was done with an entirely different mindset to how prohibition has been done so far – we would set the level of taxation such that the transition to a legal cannabis market was a soft transition. In other words, we could calculate what the expected average production cost of an ounce of cannabis should be, account for profits, account for GST, and tax that total at a rate that would still allow it to beat the black market. This would achieve all major objectives at once.

Not only would cannabis law reform not lead to more cannabis being sold on the black market, but it would be the best thing to fight the black market. Cannabis law reform would allow legal sellers to undercut the black market through economies of scale and the removal of the risk premium, driving criminal gangs out of business.

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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.

Why Vaccination Should Never Be Made Compulsory

25 people have been infected by a measles outbreak in Canterbury, and one could predict from the degree of anti-anti-vaccination hysteria that there will soon be a social movement to make vaccination compulsory. Many people are calling for it, and the rhetoric demonising the anti-vaxxers is growing. This essay discusses why compulsory vaccination is the wrong approach.

The joke goes that under totalitarianism, everything is either banned or made compulsory. The panic-based hysteria that fuels the various moral outrages that lead to totalitarianism can be seen in places like this thread on Reddit. Many New Zealanders are apparently happy to force compulsory medical treatment on others, despite it being a violation of Section 11 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

Compulsory vaccination would be a grossly draconian abuse of state power. But that isn’t why we should avoid it.

Let’s lay it out: vaccination is a good idea. Vaccination is a great idea, especially if the extremely minor side-effects are weighed up against the costs of being infected with measles, rubella, polio, whooping cough or the like. Some of these diseases are capable of crippling people for the remainder of their lives, leaving them in ghastly pain, or just killing them outright. Their presence as part of the human experience was a curse, and eradicating them would be excellent.

Vaccination is such a good idea that a parent ought to listen to their doctors when those doctors recommend vaccination. So if the necessary trust isn’t present in that relationship, something is wrong, and we ought to determine why.

The usual response is to call anti-vaxxers “nutters”, “loonies”, “schizos” and the like, and to attribute their lack of trust to an aggressive paranoia that can only be present on account of moral failure. But the responsibility isn’t on them to become more trusting. The responsibility lies on the Government and on the medical community to earn the trust of the population. It’s not merely an ideal that the population ought to trust that what their doctors is telling them is true – it’s a necessity.

The anti-vaccination movement is particularly strong in Nelson, which has been attributed to our unusually high proportion of nutters, loonies etc. The reality is that Nelson has a high number of anti-vaxxers for the same reason that California does: we were one of the first to understand the medicinal value of cannabis, and thereby one of the first to understand that the medicinal community was lying to us about it.

People know that they’ve been lied to about cannabis. We know that doctors have not been fully honest about the medicinal benefits of this substance for decades. Those who have done the research know that these lies are mostly the result of pressure from Government, disinformation from pharmaceutical companies pushing their product and the usual Kiwi slackness when it comes to doing your job properly.

So how do we know that we’re not being lied to about vaccines? Given the experience with cannabis, it’s entirely possible to suspect that Governments are putting pressure on doctors to ignore the risks of vaccination, or that the manufacturers of the vaccines aren’t honest about their side-effects, or that doctors simply haven’t bothered to research any side-effects.

Given that doctors have been lying about these things when it came to cannabis, it’s only natural that the trust that people had in them has sharply declined among some demographics. This is the error that needs to be corrected, and compulsory vaccination is a ham-fisted solution to something that can be achieved more elegantly.

Introducing compulsory vaccination is a foolish and short-sighted approach that will not only spur more suspicion and paranoia, but which will also help to justify future Governmental abuses. A much braver and wiser move would be for the Government and the medical community to earn back the trust that they have lost.

The best way to achieve this would be for politicians to make a frank and full apology for their parts in misleading the country about cannabis. They would have to not only admit that cannabis was medicinal, but that it was known to be medicinal and previous governments lied about it for whatever reason.

If the politicians would admit that many doctors only withheld the truth from their patients for fear of punishment from the Government, they would help to restore the faith in those doctors necessary for the more sceptical to get their children vaccinated. This is what needs to happen, not compulsory vaccination.

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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: Legalisation is Better For the Environment

Recent studies suggest that the future prospects for Earth’s environment are poor. The situation is dire enough that, finally, an awareness is growing that certain measures will have to be taken if the human species is to survive – and soon. This article explains how cannabis law reform is one of those measures (if a minor one).

Many people labour under the idea that cannabis prohibition stops people from using cannabis. Therefore, they assume, cannabis prohibition prevents it from being grown and used. The truth, of course, is that evil laws don’t prevent actions, because human nature is to defy evil laws, and so people grow cannabis everywhere anyway. In any case, cannabis is a medicine, and people will not simply go without a medicine because of the law.

Because of things like Police helicopters that go searching the hills and forests for outdoor grows, a majority of people who grow cannabis do so indoors, and most of these grows are simple setups under a 400 or 600 Watt bulb. These generally cost somewhere between $70 and $100 a month to run, and can produce several ounces of weed over a eight- or ten-week cycle.

This is a great outcome for an individual cannabis user who doesn’t want to deal with the black market, but it’s not the best outcome for the environment.

A study by American scientist Evan Mills found that indoor cannabis grows use up to 1% of America’s entire energy supply. If a similar proportion holds true in New Zealand, it would mean that indoor cannabis grows in New Zealand suck up electricity equivalent to that used by a city the size of Nelson every year. This represents some $60 million worth of electricity, every year.

Another way to put this is that a four-plant grows uses as much electricity as running 29 fridges. It’s a lot of energy being used for something that doesn’t really need to happen. After all, these grows are only done indoors for the sake of evading detection.

Legal cannabis would mean that cannabis growers could simply put a plant outside and let it grow in the Sun, without fear of being spotted by Police helicopters. There would be no energy requirements at all, and the cost of grow nutrients and the like would be minimal on account of that the plant would just be allowed to grow as large as possible.

Not all indoor cannabis growing could immediately be switched to outdoors. Many people simply don’t have the appropriate facilities. However, the vast majority of it could be, on account of that people would rather buy cannabis from a shop or get it from a pharmacy than grow it themselves, for a greater cost, and have to worry about watering, spider mites, replacement bulbs, buying potting mix, getting ripped off etc.

So legal cannabis would mean that companies would be able to build entire outdoor cannabis farms, and these farms would be much better for the environment than the current arrangement, in which everyone has a home grow operation because they can’t buy it legally and they need to avoid getting arrested. All of those highly inefficient home grows can be wound down in favour of commercial operations that achieve economies of scale.

The tricky thing about this argument is that the sort of person who cares about the environment already knows that cannabis should be legal. In much the same way that anyone who has bothered to look at the climate science knows that changes need to be made, anyone who has bothered to look at the science behind cannabis knew that cannabis prohibition should have been repealed 20 years ago.

The sort of person who genuinely believes that it’s a good idea to put people in cages for growing or using cannabis are, almost inevitably, the same kind of people who don’t care at all about the environment or what the state of it might be after we are gone. The characteristic feature of such people is an absence of empathy for others, and an inability to consider their suffering to be real. So the environmental argument will convince few who are not already convinced.

However, the fact remains that cannabis law reform is a better move for the environment. It would greatly reduce the carbon footprint of the cannabis cultivation industry, as well as reducing the amount of wastage in other areas. Given the pressing need to consider environmental impacts in all areas, we should make it legal for individuals to grow cannabis outside at home.

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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.

Did Cannabis Prohibition Doom Humanity to Extinction?

Were the hippies right all along? The counter-culture that arose in response to the Cold War championed many things that made them hated: free love, a return to Nature, a rejection of materialism – and cannabis. This essay examines the possibility that we would have survived if only we had listened, and that cannabis prohibition doomed the human species to extinction.

A recent scientific report on climate data paints a grim picture for humanity’s future. Titled “Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy”, the paper lays out the stark fact that we have polluted the planet so badly that future chaos is inevitable. The truly baffling thing is we knew this all along. The science that explained what would happen to the planet if we continued to burn fossil fuels was established in the 90s – the 1890s.

So why didn’t we listen?

For the vast majority of human history, we lived in a close enough balance with the environment to not destroy it. Although there were certainly cases of localised destruction – the firestick farming method of the Australian Aborigines being perhaps the foremost – it was only recently that humanity developed the capacity to destroy the environment of the entire planet.

Somewhere along the line, we lost touch with the rest of the biosphere. Perhaps what initially kicked it off was following Descartes’s belief that only human beings were truly conscious. Maybe it was even further back, to Aristotle’s injunction that humans occupied the highest place on the food chain. In either case, what really pushed our ignorance into critical territory may have been the prohibition of cannabis.

Although the idea is commonly laughed at nowadays, cannabis is a spiritual sacrament, and has been used as such for thousands of years, particularly by the common ancestors of the Indo-European peoples. Evidence that ancient Scythians hotboxed tents with cannabis smoke predates writing in the area, Hindu and Vedic culture is replete with references to it, and even ancient Taoist alchemists considered it a major plant medicine.

An example of the kind of insights that people come to from cannabis use is that all creatures are part of one collective consciousness, which is more fundamental than time and space and is not constrained by them, and which is therefore eternal, and all of the other spiritual ideas that people nowadays consider to be mental illness. We’ve lost touch with these insights in the pursuit of ever more material wealth.

The real mental illness, it could be better argued, is on the part of those who don’t use cannabis.

It is the non-hippies, who don’t use cannabis, who buy expensive toys that are just plastic hunks of shit, and who drive around in enormously polluting vehicles, and who spend tens of thousands remodelling their house just for social status, who have wrecked the environment. A civilisation that destroys its own environment in pursuit of producing trivial, fleeting material pleasures could correctly be said to be insane.

If one understands that cannabis is a spiritual sacrament that used to keep humanity in touch with the natural world, and that this loss of contact with the material world has caused a climate crisis that may prove to doom us all, then it can fairly be argued that cannabis prohibition led to the destruction of humanity. If we’d just sat around smoking weed instead of working hard and aspiring to own ever-larger piles of crap, the planet might have survived.

If we had never contracted the disease of workism, we never would have thought it a good idea to drive miles to work, burning fossils fuels all the while, just to make three times more money than we actually need, and that just so we can buy piles of plastic crap and home improvements that never get used. We would have learned to appreciate the natural world more, instead of seeing it as something to be consumed on the road to economic growth.

Any hippie could tell you that the philosophy of eternal growth is the philosophy of the cancer cell. You don’t need an ecology degree to understand that an organism or group of organisms cannot keep growing indefinitely and stay in their niche. Either they stop growing or they expand into other niches. The ideology of eternal economic growth was inevitably going to hit its limit in one way or another.

If that hippie was of the more thoughtful kind, they might be able to tell you that such philosophies arose because people started to become afraid of death. Because cannabis has been a spiritual sacrament for our ancestors for so long, its prohibition in the early 20th century had the effect of, quite literally, separating us from God.

It’s possible that, if cannabis had never become criminalised, we never would have lost touch with Nature enough to even think about such a thing as building a strategic naval force that spanned the entire globe, sucking up enormous amounts of coal and oil as it did so, to the point where the biosphere collapsed. Ironically, if we had lived as the filthy, lazy, crazy hippies had suggested, we’d have had a better chance of passing through the Great Filter.

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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: Law Reform Is Not A “Slippery Slope”

The case for cannabis prohibition is essentially based on fear, in particular fear of the unknown. Prohibitionists and other doommongers like to give the impression that cannabis law reform is a “slippery slope” to widespread social decay. As this article will show, cannabis law reform will not be a slippery slope to selling heroin to schoolchildren, or anything like it.

The slippery slope argument is used so often that it has become a formal logical fallacy. In short, this logical fallacy is when a person argues that a certain action must not be allowed, because if it is allowed, it will lead to worse actions also becoming allowed. To prevent those worse actions from coming to pass, we should keep the status quo, because to make even a small change is to step onto a slippery slope that will inevitably lead to disaster.

When we wanted to make it illegal to hit your children, we were told it was a slippery slope to those children beating up their parents. When we wanted to legalise prostitution, we were told it was a slippery slope to Weimar Republic-style child prostitution on the main streets. When we wanted to introduce a capital gains tax, we were told it was a slippery slope to the Government confiscating properties from those it deemed too wealthy.

None of these feared outcomes occurred, which is why the slippery slope fallacy is a recognised fallacy.

The slippery slope argument, then, is wheeled out almost every time someone tries to change any law. So it’s not a surprise that it also gets wheeled out in response to proposals for cannabis law reform. The problem is that we’ve had cannabis prohibition for so long now that almost no-one can remember life from before it was brought in, so we’ve forgotten that prohibition has done more damage than legal cannabis ever could.

The old form of this argument was that cannabis use is a slippery slope to heroin use, and therefore we have to keep cannabis illegal to protect people from getting sucked into heroin, because they’re all some form of “dope”. Nowadays, almost everyone knows that the sort of people who use cannabis have very little in common with those who use heroin, and don’t generally move in the same circles.

Cannabis prohibitionists warn us breathlessly that liberalising the cannabis laws will lead to “THC-laced confectionery” being sold to schoolchildren. The New Zealand media has shown images of gummy bears that are purported to contain 30% or more THC, and the implication is that a small child might gulp down a couple of dozen of them thinking they’re sweets. Ignoring the fact that eating two dozen cannabis-infused gummy bears would still be safer than eating two dozen paracetamol, the argument fails for at least two major reasons.

For one thing, most of the arguments about harm don’t apply to other drugs. It’s fair and reasonable to argue that cannabis causes less harm than alcohol; it’s neither fair nor reasonable to make the same argument of crystal methamphetamine. Neither has anyone ever argued that heroin or methamphetamine was a spiritual sacrament.

Where those arguments do apply, then it’s fair enough to consider them on their own merits. The War on Cannabis is, indeed, one front in the wider War on Drugs, and just because the case for drug law reform is the most obvious in the case of cannabis doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in the case of other drugs. It happens to also be true that the law against psychedelics is as ridiculous as the cannabis one, if not more so.

The other major reason is that we are entirely free to recriminalise cannabis, should we reform the current laws and then decide the change isn’t working. The people who have looked at the evidence and the previous experience of places that have relaxed their cannabis laws almost all believe that this won’t happen, but it might. If we do decide that cannabis law reform doesn’t work, we will be free to change it back.

The argument that legalising cannabis would be a slippery slope to various kinds of social decay is not valid. Cannabis prohibition is, and never was, a wise move – prohibition is itself the experimental condition. In any case, relaxing the law is not a move into permissiveness but finally having the courage to correct an error that was made generations ago.

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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.

Why Don’t Maori Leaders Represent Their People When It Comes to Cannabis?

(Photoshop credit: Kayla Chamberlain)

It’s not a secret to VJM Publishing readers that there is a great love of cannabis among the Maori population. The Maori people were never convinced that cannabis prohibition was a good idea, and they were always more heavily impacted by the enforcement of the law than non-Maoris. So why don’t Maori leaders represent their people when it comes to changing the cannabis laws? This essay explains.

Dan McGlashan showed in Understanding New Zealand that there was an extremely strong correlation between being Maori and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017: 0.91. This is one of the strongest correlations between any two factors in New Zealand society, even stronger than the correlation between personal income and voting ACT, or being on the unemployment benefit and voting Labour.

So those of us in the know were not at all surprised by the Horizon Research poll announced yesterday, which stated that 75% of Maori voters intend to vote to legalise cannabis when the referendum comes around. Moreover, of the remainder, only 14% intended to vote no, with 11% being unsure. This means that up to 86% of Maoris would vote yes on the referendum if it were held tomorrow.

The question arises, however: if a vast majority of Maoris support legal cannabis, why are Maori leaders so pathetically gutless on this issue?

First of all, it should be pointed out that the bulk of non-Maori leaders are equally as cowardly, so it’s partly a disease of our own political class. Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little have also been pathetic on this issue, as has every member of the National Party. Cowardice is a characteristic feature of New Zealand politicians, and when it comes to cannabis this seems to double.

However, the bulk of non-Maori leaders are not representing a population as heavily impacted by cannabis prohibition as Maori leaders are. The British settlers were long since used to alcohol, but for the Maoris its introduction was akin to the deployment of a bioweapon. This makes the need for cannabis law reform more pressing for Maoris, and thereby the current crop of Maori leaders more negligent than the others.

Secondly, it’s also a fact that young people are much more likely to favour cannabis law reform than the old ones who suffered most of the propaganda. Again as shown by McGlashan, the correlation between median age and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014 was -0.55, which supports the Horizon Research poll suggesting that Maoris under 55 years of age are much more likely to support legalisation.

Most of the Members of Parliament who are Maori are old, so it can be seen that their attitudes are very likely the same prejudices against cannabis held by other old people. After all, they all went through the same reefer madness brainwashing as the other old people. At least part of the failure of Maori leaders on this issue can be attributed to the general failure of the Boomer generation to appreciate the perspectives of other generations. They’re simply out of touch.

Thirdly – and this is a very sad and depressing fact – there is a lot of lobbyist money from anti-cannabis sources flowing into the coffers of various politicians. A previous study here at VJM Publishing showed that at least 7% of National Party funding came directly from alcohol manufacturers and their associations, and those groups will have leaned heavily on the recipients to vote against any recreational alternative to alcohol.

We can’t say that any of these Maori leaders are taking money from alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceutical interests, because we don’t have any evidence for that. But there is a fuckton of anti-cannabis lobbyist money and these politicians are taking positions consistent with what the lobbyists want them to take. They’re certainly signalling a willingness to take money from such lobbyists. Ockham’s Razor would suggest that we at least be suspicious.

All of this helps to explain why Willie Jackson, Peeni Henare, Meka Whaitiri, and all the Maori members of the New Zealand First caucus voted against Chloe Swarbrick’s medicinal cannabis bill. Basically, they don’t give a shit about the reality of life on the ground for the average Maori, they just want their votes on the way to the Parliament trough.

The reality of life on the ground is that a great proportion of the Maori people have taken to cannabis because it’s a recreational alternative to alcohol. The arrival of alcohol had a similar effect on Maoris as it did on most New World people suddenly exposed to it: utter carnage, and they are smart enough to have learned that a session on cannabis tends up to end up much happier than a booze one.

We can’t realistically expect courage or leadership from a New Zealand politician, but we can at least expect them to understand and acknowledge when the winds of opinion have changed among the people they’re supposed to be representing, and to act accordingly. Maori leaders need to come out and publicly state that cannabis law reform is the way forward, not just for their constituents but for the entire nation.

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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 Destroys Families

Cannabis prohibition is a destructive approach in many ways. Because of the need to use law enforcement officers to attack people who use cannabis, massive emotional trauma and psychological damage is the inevitable result of prohibition. As this article will examine, some of the worst damage is that inflicted upon families of cannabis users.

The most severe way that cannabis prohibition affects families is through law enforcement. To fully appreciate the destructive effect that prohibition has had on families, it helps to imagine the situation from the perspective of a child who has had a parent taken way on account of a cannabis offence.

The psychological literature is replete with information about the devastating effect that losing a parent, even temporarily, has on the child’s mental health. It’s common for children in such a situation to feel a powerful sense of neglect and loss. They don’t understand why their parent has been taken away and put in a cage – after all, most adults don’t understand cannabis prohibition either, so how can a child?

Cannabis prohibition means that children are deprived of bonding time with their parents, sometimes even for years, because of the need to put people in prison for violating the cannabis laws. This regularly has a devastating effect on the child’s mental health – for no real benefit to anyone.

Another way that prohibition destroys families is by driving a wedge between generations. As mentioned elsewhere in this book, the young are almost universally in favour of cannabis law reform. They know it’s much safer than alcohol, and they’ve seen the carnage alcohol has caused to their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.

So when their parents start lecturing them about how they should avoid cannabis because it causes psychosis, and how they should drink alcohol instead because it’s not a drug, the predictable response is that the children come to lose faith in their parents, and to trust them less.

The most extreme example of this is when one family member is using medicinal cannabis and living in the same house as another one. This often causes conflict when the owner of the house is afraid that the presence of cannabis will attract the Police. In cases like this, it’s possible for the tension to lead to a family being pulled apart, and this can all be attributed to the law against cannabis.

It should be pointed out here that the damage done to families is worse than it seems at first glance. The sort of people who grow cannabis are frequently in a precarious social situations. After all, one of the main reasons why people smoke it is to deal with the anxiety and depression that comes with being on society’s fringes.

For these people, the safety net of the family is sometimes the difference between life or death. Vulnerable people generally don’t have much else to rely on. Putting an adult in prison can have the effect of removing an important node from their family’s social net, meaning that families have to go without income and children have to go without parents. Even more distant relatives like cousins, nephews and nieces can be affected.

It’s common for the imprisonment of one parent to lead to the rest of the family having to move home or school. Breaking up these social networks, merely because a person grew a medicinal plant, is unconscionable. This suffering caused to family members of cannabis users is not justifiable.

Cannabis ought to be made legal so that Kiwi families are no longer made to suffer as collateral damage. A repeal of cannabis prohibition would mean that the integrity of the family could no longer be damaged by the actions of law enforcement. This would avoid causing severe emotional damage to the children and wider family members of anyone imprisoned, a much more humane and compassionate approach to the one currently used.

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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 Corrupts the Youth

As this book underlines at length, cannabis prohibition itself does a great amount of damage to our society. Leaving aside the fact that cannabis itself is not harmful, prohibition and the act of enforcing it causes legitimate harm by way of trauma, and usually to people who have done nothing wrong. As this article will examine, prohibition also does damage by corrupting the nation’s youth.

The received wisdom is that cannabis corrupts the youth, by transforming good students into lazy, violent delinquents. The truth is much different. The truth is that cannabis prohibition creates the corruptive effect.

A young person who is taking note of the debate around cannabis law reform couldn’t help but to draw some unsavoury conclusions about how the world works. Watching Bob McCoskrie blatantly lie and scaremonger in the name of Jesus demonstrates clearly to any young people watching that our culture is rotten with crooks, our mainstream religion dead, our mainstream media complicit in it all. What sort of message is that?

The youth aren’t stupid. They know that cannabis prohibition is bullshit. This can be seen from the strong correlation between being young and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2017. The fact is that anti-cannabis propaganda has had a decreasing impact since the 1970s, by when enough people had experimented with it for there to be subcultures of individuals who knew that the reasons for prohibition were false.

This raises a question that few ask themselves, because of the rush to look tough on crime. What impression are we giving the youth by way of our actions around cannabis? Because the youth of New Zealand are watching their elders, and observing how some of those elders are blatantly lying about the side-effects of cannabis, and clearly trying to scaremonger the population, while ignoring the scientific evidence.

The youth also see the Police enforcing the law, despite the widespread awareness that enforcement of this law only serves to increase the suffering of the New Zealand people. This teaches them that the law is indifferent to the suffering of the people, merely something that is imposed upon them by Parliament, and the Police little better than dogs, merely following orders for the sake of a full belly.

Observing this blatant corruption in action has a hugely corrosive effect on the moral integrity of young people.

Above all this, cannabis prohibition corrupts the youth the worst in lower-class families. Because cannabis is on the black market, it’s possible for someone to make a few thousand dollars in hard cash from running a clandestine grow. When a child sees their parent or uncle making money from growing cannabis, and not from working, then the idea of crime instead of work starts to become normalised.

Imagine if the alternative for at-risk children was watching their family member work on the white market as a cannabis researcher, or even as a budtender. A child is much better off seeing their parents work almost any job on the white market than something on the black one. It’s much better to normalise the idea of making money from legal enterprise, but cannabis needs to be made a legal enterprise before that can happen.

Worst of all is the effect on those young people who see their older family members arrested and sometimes imprisoned for something which they can’t understand is a crime. There’s no way to get a young person, who is wise to the nature of propaganda and brainwashing, to believe that cannabis is evil enough to warrant such treatment. They know that the Government is committing an abuse against them.

The corruptive effect of this is immense. For such a young person, watching a member of your family go through that much suffering just over a plant normalises certain ideas about society. One of the most dangerous of these is that society is their enemy – an enemy that wants to destroy them.

Cannabis prohibition has corrupted our youth, by showing them that truth and justice have no place in the organisation of the world. The way to get ahead is to bribe politicians, scaremonger, lie and cheat. Political decisions about medicines are not made on the basis of evidence and science, and neither are they based on the imperative to end suffering.

It’s impossible to tell a young person that they ought to obey the laws of a society when those laws are transparently arbitrary and ridiculous. This means that cannabis prohibition has had the effect of eroding the otherwise law-abiding nature of people.

It would be much better for the supposed adults to demonstrate honesty and fairness to the young people. This we could do by repealing cannabis prohibition, and then making a commitment to tell the truth about it at all levels of government, education and medicine.

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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.

Almost All Cases of Growing Cannabis Are Altruistic

New Zealand cannabis law reform supporters were overjoyed on Monday by the news that Rose Renton was discharged without conviction in her case at the Nelson District Court. Charged with the cultivation of 58 plants, she could have been facing seven years’ imprisonment. As this essay will examine, the logic used to exonerate her could be used to exonerate almost any other cannabis grower, and should lead to a change in the cannabis law.

Renton was discharged without conviction on the grounds that her offending was “altrustic” in nature, according to Judge David Ruth, who was quoted as saying: “This was effectively an altruistic endeavour on your behalf to help those for whom that help wasn’t otherwise possible.” This is an entirely fair point, and it’s about time a judge said so, but it goes further than this.

She had been growing cannabis to supply medicine to a variety of people, a job that has been given the title “green fairy”. The ‘green’ refers to cannabis medicine and the ‘fairy’ refers to the fact that this medicine doesn’t come regularly but simply shows up whenever the fairy can make it happen. Renton was supplying clones of a CBD-rich strain to people who then grew the medicine themselves.

A Police officer who came to Renton’s home noticed a cannabis plant there. Instead of ignoring it, the officer made the decision to enforce Parliament’s law against cannabis by arresting her. This decision led to 18 months of suffering on Renton’s part, until discharged without conviction on Monday, for the reasons mentioned above.

Cannabis is a medicine. The main reason why people use it is to escape the suffering caused by either physical or psychological pain. There are several effective substitutes for the effect that cannabis has on physical pain, but there is little that can stop psychological suffering as quickly and efficiently. Countless people have found that a bout of rage, depression or despair can be stopped cold by a dose of cannabis.

It’s rarely admitted to, but there is a lot of suffering in our society. Not just the tedium of the drudge-work that we endure, and the anxiety over our uncertain futures, but the stress of encountering new strangers all the time and the alienation of having no community or political representation all combine to create an existence that is wretched for many. This can be measured by our increasing suicide rate, which hit a record level last year.

Almost all the cannabis that is grown, by anyone, ever, is grown with the intent of reducing some of this suffering. There’s no point to it otherwise. No-one grows cannabis with the intent to cause suffering. Anyone who believes this is simply not in touch with the reality of cannabis use. Everyone who grows it does so with the intent that using the end product will alleviate suffering in some way.

So the concept of non-altruistic cannabis growing makes as much sense as the idea of non-altruistic insulin production.

People who aren’t interested in the medicinal effects of cannabis might still be using it for that reason, even if they smoke it in joints. Even casual joint smokers are often motivated by the decrease in anxiety, stress, nausea or insomnia that comes with using it. This means that the vast majority of cannabis that anyone is growing, anywhere, is for altruistic reasons, much the same as with Rose Renton.

Many people are unwilling to accept this, for the reason that this makes the current law seem extremely cruel. The hard facts are, however, that the current law is extremely cruel. It’s possible that the law prevented Alex from getting hold of a medicine that would have saved his life. We’ll never know.

It’s possible that Rose Renton had to watch her son die for no other reason than that New Zealand politicians were too stupid and cowardly to address the need to repeal cannabis prohibition in time. That might seem unreasonably cruel, perhaps even so cruel that it’s hard to admit to, but that’s what we did. We’ve been doing it for decades, to Kiwi families up and down the country.

We have to face up to the fact that cannabis is a medicine, and that the law withholding it from people is killing those who need its medicinal qualities. It’s time for us to accept that the vast majority of people who are growing cannabis are doing so with the ultimate intent of alleviating human suffering, so we should repeal cannabis prohibition and make it legal.

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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.