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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