The Case For Cannabis: The Market Needs to Be Regulated

One of the strongest arguments for cannabis law reform is the appeal to regulate the market. The idea that a government can make cannabis illegal and then it just “goes away” is childish, and the historical example has borne this out. As this article will examine, legal cannabis is the only realistic way to regulate the market.

Many people envision that the world before cannabis prohibition was one of chaos. Shady dealers set up outside high schools to sell to pupils, pharmacists pushed untested and unresearched cannabis products on a naive public and criminal enterprises got fat with the income from cannabis bootlegging. The reality is closer to the reverse of this.

When a substance such as cannabis becomes illegal by act of law, what that means in practice is that the manufacture and supply of that good becomes completely unregulated. Making something illegal is not a way of regulating it – it’s a way of putting it into the “too hard” basket. It shifts control from the regulators to the black market.

The black market doesn’t attract nice people. It generally attracts people with no better options – desperados. Because there is currently no opportunity to legally profit from cannabis in New Zealand, the only people who deal with the subject matter are black marketeers. There is no guarantee that such individuals will adhere to what has been established overseas as professional industry standards for manufacture and supply of cannabis products.

Regarding the manufacture of goods on the black market, it’s apparent that there are little in the way of health and safety considerations. This is a relatively minor concern in the case of cannabis, but it’s still possible that any bud manufactured by a criminal enterprise has used unwanted chemicals in the growing process. They might have used chemical fertilisers that leave side-products that people don’t want in their bodies, or treated the bud with something to make it appear danker.

When it comes to supply, the situation is even worse. A normal business primarily competes with others through advertising, whether word-of-mouth or commercial. They don’t compete through intimidation. The manager of the local Countdown would never send an underling to take out Fresh Choice workers for selling on the wrong turf. Black marketeers selling illicit drugs happily take their competitors out such ways though.

The vast majority of the criminal activity associated with cannabis comes about because of prohibition. It’s isn’t natural to cannabis. With no regulatory oversight, there’s nothing stopping the black market selling to 13-year olds or wiping their competitors out in turf wars. Cannabis is already illegal, so it’s not like the victims could go to the Police. Black market actors have free rein until they are arrested.

Practically speaking, there is going to be a cannabis market whether we like it or not, so we might as well make sure that it’s on the level.

Regulation would solve the problem of tainted product, because growers will need to be able to account for their grow methodology and process. End consumers will be prevented from becoming ill because the possibility of dangerous chemicals being used at some point in the process will be minimised. If anyone does become sick, responsibility can be placed on the correct party and appropriate measures taken.

Moreover, a regulated cannabis supplier or dealer is much more likely to comply with public requests for decency than the black market is. Regulation will inevitably mean that cannabis dealers will need to become licensed, which means that they are strongly incentivised to adhere to laws regarding not supplying to minors, not supplying to intoxicated people etc. They also can’t shoot their competitors and expect that this will lead to a greater market share.

A final benefit is that regulation will mean that cannabis suppliers cannot deal with other products as well. As mentioned elsewhere, the gateway drug effect can only occur when people seeking cannabis are exposed to hard drugs. A professional cannabis retailer will not have an incentive to offer their customers methamphetamine, unlike a gang member. In practice, they are unlikely to even be allowed to sell alcohol or tobacco.

All this means that regulation will have the effect of almost taking cannabis away from the black market entirely. Those who are allowed to compete on the legal market for cannabis will have to meet quality standards that ensure that safety of the users (to such a degree that this is possible when people take psychoactive drugs). This will have the overall effect of reducing harm.

Cannabis should be legal because regulation of cannabis causes less suffering than criminalising it. We need to abandon the childish idea that making something illegal makes it go away, and employ a sophisticated and intelligent approach to dealing with the issues caused by cannabis. The only realistic way to do this is through regulation.

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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 People Have to Pay For Cannabis Users’ Healthcare

One argument that is often made by people in response to proposals for cannabis law reform is that they don’t want to pay for cannabis users’ healthcare. The logic goes that cannabis law reform is unfair on the general populace, because they have to fork out for the inevitable increased healthcare burden through general taxation. As this article will examine, such an attitude is mistaken.

Like many of the false arguments against cannabis law reform, this one relies on another bogeyman. In this case, it’s the supposedly heavy burden that the health system would suffer under if cannabis were to be made legal. This burden would have to be borne by everyone, and it isn’t fair to expect them to do so.

As with many examples of false logic, this argument depends on seeing the situation incorrectly.

For one thing, it’s possible that, if cannabis were to become legal, some of the adverse consequences of its use would become more widespread. But it’s foolish to think that, in such a case, cannabis use would go up while the rates of all other recreational drugs would stay the same.

In reality, recreational cannabis is a competing good to alcohol. A lot of people use it because they find the ritual of rolling up and smoking a joint as relaxing and enjoyable as drinking a beer, and at least as social. Everywhere that cannabis is legal, at least some of the population have decided that they prefer to socialise over some weed than over some booze.

So the supposed “extra” healthcare burden that would be caused by increased cannabis use is balanced, perhaps even several times over, by the savings that accrue from health problems that were prevented by the reduced use of other recreational drugs.

Alcohol abuse is believed to cost the country $4.9 billion per year. The total cost of cannabis use on our health system right now is, even if one uses the ultra-conservative Drug Harm Index, $431 million. This latter figure is not merely the cost of cannabis use to the healthcare system but also ancillary costs, so the true figure is much lower (this latter figure also includes $126 million of costs due to premature death caused by cannabis use and is therefore somewhat fantastical).

So even if legal cannabis doubled the total harm that the Drug Harm Index says that cannabis does to society, this would be more than compensated for if it reduced the total harm done by alcohol by 10% or more.

A second factor to consider is that the cost of cannabis damage is small compared to the cost of old people just clinging onto life for a few more years.

New Zealand’s total healthcare expenditure was $16.8 billion last year, and people aged over 65 used over 42% of that – and that percentage is increasing. So people over 65 use roughly $8 billion dollars’ worth of taxpayers’ money on health costs every year, much of which is wasted on futile attempts to delay a terminal illness.

Even if we ignore that cannabis use is not higher in jurisdictions where it is legal, and even if we ignore that legal cannabis would mean users could use much less harmful routes of administration, and even if we assume that the total healthcare damage would be double under legalisation than what it is now, it still wouldn’t be a great amount of money compared to what is already spent.

The third argument is, of course, that it simply doesn’t matter if cannabis users’ healthcare has to be paid for out of general taxation. As mentioned above, alcohol abuse costs the country almost five billion dollars a year, which amounts to close to $1,600 per taxpayer. If such a high bar is acceptable for alcohol, then its acceptable for cannabis as well.

Cannabis users are, or should be, part of our society the same way as anyone else is. So in the same way that we’re happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cigarette smokers, alcohol drinkers, Olanzapine takers (the side-effects of many psychiatric medicines are bad for the physical health), rugby players, horse riders and mountain climbers, so too should we be happy to pay for the healthcare costs of cannabis users.

Legal cannabis would make it easier to minimise healthcare costs anyway, because doctors would be able to encourage cannabis users to avoid joints and dabs in favour of edibles and vapourisers. So if healthcare costs really are a concern, legal cannabis is better for more than one reason.

In summary, it’s not fair to object to cannabis law reform on the basis that the general taxpayer would have to pay for a sudden massive healthcare burden. A repeal of cannabis prohibition would not lead to such a burden – in fact, a sober look at the experience suggests the overall healthcare cost of recreational drug use would fall if cannabis became 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: Reform Would Not Send The Wrong Message to the Children

One of the usual reasons trotted out for opposing cannabis law reform is that it “wouldn’t send the right message to the kids”. This was the statement that John Key frequently made to the media when pressed on the subject. As this article will examine, however, this thought-terminating cliche also attitude is mistaken.

It might sound laughable, but there are many in the New Zealand Government who believe that their personal conduct sets an example for the rest of the country to follow. These deluded fools genuinely believe that the young people of the nation look to them as an example of integrity, honesty and correct conduct. So detached from the people are they, that they are entirely unaware of the contempt in which they are held.

Some of these egomaniacs are afraid that making any move on cannabis law reform would “send the wrong message to the kids”. By this, they think that liberalising the cannabis laws will lead to a spate of young people taking up cannabis use as a habit, on account of that their elders had sent them the message that it was okay.

Leaving aside the obvious retort that this would actually be a good thing if it stopped those young people from doing as much alcohol or synthetic drugs, there are a number of reasons to think that this reasoning is illogical.

For one thing, the message that the politicians appear to be sending by example of their conduct is one of alcohol, tobacco and sleaze. If they are the ones setting the standards for the young to follow, then we can look forward to many decades of boozing, bribery, infidelity, dishonesty, backstabbing and all manner of petty quibbling and bitching.

For another thing, we have to ask ourselves if prohibition itself is actually a good message to be sending out.

The message that the Government seems to be sending by enforcing cannabis prohibition is that the best way to deal with drug problems is by putting people in cages. If someone has a drug dependency of some kind, the way to help them is not by giving them medical care, but by physically forcing them into a cage full of rapists, murderers and thieves.

They seem to be telling people that empathy and compassion don’t factor into government decisions, and that they are more than happy to brutally force citizens to conform to arbitrary laws, even when those same citizens don’t consent to them. Your body is the property of the Government, and they can do what they want with it, including put it in a cage if you use a medicine they don’t approve of.

Worse, they’re also sending the message that science, logic and reason don’t factor into government decisions. The Government is happy to go along with foreign mass hysteria about reefer madness, and thinks it acceptable to force laws onto New Zealanders on the grounds that they have been introduced overseas, with no consideration given to the science or to the need for evidence.

Perhaps the worst message of all has been that sent by Parliamentarians who have ignored all the letters and emails they have received from their constituents about cannabis law reform. For decades, Kiwis have been entreating their Parliamentarians to do something about cannabis prohibition, knowing how much access to cannabis medicine would improve their life quality. And for decades, those Parliamentarians did nothing – the vast majority too cowardly to even raise a peep.

By ignoring the will of the people for cannabis reform, the Government is sending the message that it’s acceptable for the Government to impose whatever arbitrary laws it likes on the population, even without that population’s consent, and then to ignore them when they complain about the suffering caused. This is far more of a danger than the risk of Parliamentarians sending the message that it’s okay to use cannabis.

If the Government is truly concerned about the message that their conduct sends to the people, they ought to legalise cannabis today, and make an apology for all the suffering their actions caused by waging a War on Drugs against their own people. This would send a message of humility, integrity and contrition – much better than imprisoning people for using a substance that the New Zealand people think should be 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: Cannabis is Not Addictive

One of the most common arguments against cannabis is that it is an “addictive drug”. People making this argument raise images of zombie-like addicts burgling houses and selling their bodies in dark alleyways for the money to finance their addiction. Leaving aside the fact that this fear-mongering is bollocks, the argument isn’t even accurate.

The scientific literature warns us of “irritability, anxiety, decreased appetite, restlessness and sleep disturbances“, sleep problems and “a constellation of behavioral, somatic, and mood symptoms.” It’s clear that to stop using cannabis often means that one encounters these problems, but they soon go away. People enjoy using cannabis, but use alone does not count as addiction.

Psychology Today ran an article that stated “The vast majority of those who use marijuana do so occasionally and exhibit no addictive symptoms — no increased tolerance, no cravings and no withdrawal. In other words, they can take it or leave it.”

It’s true that cannabis does not cause meaningful physical addiction. Something that’s really addictive is alcohol. Withdrawals from alcohol are known to cause delirium tremens, a phenomenon known as “the DTs”, which can kill the sufferer. If this is considered an acceptable side-effect of a recreational drug, then the physical addiction potential of cannabis is nowhere near objectionable.

The counter-argument to this is to say that cannabis can still be psychologically addictive. Psychological addiction is a kind of excessive habituation, where a person does not become medically ill but who can suffer “psychological symptoms like anxiety, mood swings and depression”.

At this point, another frightening image is formed. Here, instead of burglars, the stereotype is of slovenly, morbidly obese videogamers who lie around all day drinking Mountain Dew, completely without ambition aside from securing their weed supply, all social bonds long since abandoned in favour of the next puff.

The reality is that it’s not so much a matter of cannabis being addictive, as that people who do not have adequate levels of stimulation search for anything they can to fill the gap, and cannabis fills the gap. Anyone who smokes cannabis every day can tell you this – it’s frequently a matter of having nothing better to do.

As was demonstrated by the Rat Park experiments carried out by Professor Bruce Alexander, addiction is a function of both available addictive substances and a lack of environmental stimulation.

The Rat Park experiments showed that rats that lived in a stimulating and interesting environment, where a variety of exercise, food and mating opportunities were available, were up to 19 times less likely to consume water laced with morphine when compared to rats that lived in a standard laboratory cage. Given that rats are also social (or at least semi-social) mammals, this can teach us some things about the nature of addiction in humans.

The fact is that human society of 2019 has left some people behind to die, and for these unfortunate masses there is not a lot of pleasant stimulation to be had. Some of these people turn to alcohol to fill the gap, some turn to opiates, some turn to tobacco, some turn to cannabis. In all cases, the problem is not the drug itself, but an environment that fails to provide stimulation enough to meet people’s psychological needs.

If sufficiently fulfilling stimulation is available (or at least entertaining stimulation), people don’t tend to smoke cannabis all day. Therefore, the emphasis shouldn’t be on putting people in cages for using cannabis, it should be on creating a society that people freely want to engage in.

Most of the reason why cannabis users have had to take all the blame, instead of the people responsible for constructing society in a way that others want to escape it by using cannabis, is that the people responsible for designing society have all the power. Naturally, therefore, they design society in such a way that all of the other members of it have to take the blame for its failures.

What cannabis addiction ultimately amounts to is blaming cannabis for the problems caused by cannabis prohibition. Just because bored people with nothing to do sometimes smoke cannabis all day doesn’t mean that the cannabis forced them to do it. A healthy society that allowed people to freely use cannabis in (e.g.) coffeeshops, would soon find that people soon get bored of it and drift into other things.

The argument that cannabis is addictive is not sufficient to justify making cannabis illegal. The addictive potential of cannabis is minor, and the withdrawal symptoms from it not severe. Focus should be placed on organising society in a manner that inspires ordinary people to engage with it of their own free will, not punishing 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: The Punishment Does Not Fit the Crime

Proportional sentencing is supposed to be a fundamental tenet of our justice system. When a person causes suffering to another, they are given a proportionate amount of suffering intended to discourage: we are told that “the punishment should fit the crime”. As this article will argue, the punishment for cannabis offences is not commensurate with the nature of the crime.

The maximum penalty for possession of cannabis is three months imprisonment, as established by Section 7 of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Most Kiwis can intuitively understand that this is massively disproportionate to any harm caused by the act of cannabis possession, but this law is on the books, and has been for over 40 years without being repealed.

Some might counter here with the fact that essentially no-one gets sentenced to prison for cannabis possession nowadays. This counter-argument misses two essential points.

The first is obvious: if no-one goes to prison for cannabis possession anymore, on account of that society has “moved on” and no longer considers cannabis possession a crime, then it’s an obsolete law. If it’s an obsolete law, then we ought to strike it from the books.

The second is that people still go to prison for cannabis cultivation, which is not any more of a crime than cannabis possession is. Brian Borland was given four years and nine months imprisonment for unrepentantly growing cannabis – an incredible punishment if one considers that no-one was harmed by his actions.

Some people were outraged by the sentence given to Devonte Mulitalo, an Auckland youth worker who groomed and sexually assaulted a 12-year old girl, coercing her to perform sex acts on him. He was given ten months home detention. Many thought this sentence was too light, and in comparison to Borland’s sentence it seems obscene.

Takaka resident Alicia Fulcher-Poole was given three and half years in prison for killing someone while driving high on methamphetamine. It’s incredible that reckless disregard for human life resulting in a death can receive a less severe penalty from the system than growing a medicine without permission. But this is the state of our “justice” system.

It’s apparent to almost everyone that 52 months imprisonment for growing cannabis is a ludicrously disproportionate punishment, when the total suffering caused by growing cannabis is compared to the suffering caused by killing someone through reckless use of a motor vehicle. Even if one assumes the most uncharitable interpretation of Borland’s motives, he didn’t kill anyone.

Borland’s sentence was getting up towards the maximum end of the scale, which is seven years imprisonment. This is a heavier sentence than the sentences that are routinely given out for killing people in motor vehicle accidents.

Moreover, the effect of having a criminal record lasts longer than the sentence, and sometimes much longer. Branding someone a criminal – even if there is such as thing as the Clean Slate Act – is to consign them to a lower class of citizen, one that is precluded from many opportunities that normal people take for granted.

Even a measly cannabis possession conviction is enough to prevent someone from being allowed to enter a variety of countries, most notoriously America. Neither will it be straightforward to work as a Police officer, teacher or other Government employee. This is a heavy, heavy punishment just for being caught in possession of a medicinal flower.

This loss of travel and employment opportunity is enough to significantly lower the quality of a person’s life. Getting involved with cannabis should never mean that a person is consigned to live as a lower class of citizen for the rest of their lives. This is a level of arbitrary cruelty that borders on barbarism.

Cannabis prohibition should be lifted because it’s not right to have such brutal punishments for actions that do not cause suffering. It makes a mockery of the supposed proportionality of the justice system. Using the criminal justice system to deal with cannabis is an absurd over-reaction to something that doesn’t harm others.

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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 Not Harmful

One of the most fundamental arguments for cannabis prohibition is that cannabis is harmful. Because of this harm, the argument goes, we need to make cannabis illegal. This will give people less opportunity to use cannabis and thereby have their lives destroyed. As this article will examine, there are at least two good reasons to oppose this argument.

Firstly, we can see prohibition causes more harm than legal cannabis would – and over and above the harm caused by enforcing the prohibition. When a country or state introduces cannabis prohibition, they usually also introduce a number of ancillary laws that are ostensibly to fight the harm of cannabis, but which end up causing more harm.

It’s apparent that burning plant matter and then inhaling the smoke is not the best thing you could do for your lungs. This is not a contentious assertion, and the vast majority of cannabis users are fully aware of it. But when people have tried to take measures to make cannabis use more safe, they find themselves being stymied by the law. In many cases, the law is intended to penalise not just cannabis use but the entire cannabis culture.

Manufacturing cannabis butter to make some brownies changes your crime from possession of a Class C drug to manufacture of a Class B drug. So if a person decided to make some hash brownies, they would then not only be in possession of a Class B illegal drug, but they could also be charged with manufacturing it – which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

We are told that the schedule of increasing penalties reflects the schedule of increasing harm caused by these drugs. But the harm of cannabis does not increase 56 times because someone made some bud into some brownies. There’s no logic to that at all – if anything, the harm is lessened by virtue of avoiding lung damage.

It’s true that the psychoactive effect of hash brownies will be greater than smoked bud, but the psychological drawbacks of using cannabis have been massively overstated. The cozy consensus that using cannabis causes schizophrenia has been shattered by new research suggesting that it is a genetic propensity to schizophrenia that predicts cannabis use, and not the case that cannabis use alone predicts schizophrenia.

In any case, it’s possible that even cannabis bud does not cause net harm. Yes, smoking it is not great, but the smoke damage may be outweighed by the medical benefits of lower stress etc.

Likewise, the example of “drug paraphernalia” is another one in which the majority of the harm is caused by the law itself, rather than cannabis. People have been arrested for the possession of water bongs and charged with a more severe crime than mere cannabis possession – but using a water bong is more healthy than inhaling hot smoke. Despite being more healthy, possession of a bong carries a maximum penalty of a year’s imprisonment in New Zealand.

The physical harms of cannabis have generally been overstated. Of course, inhaling cannabis smoke is not ideal but even this is transparently less dangerous than rugby, horse riding, skiing and downhill mountain biking. All of these activities, whose level of risk falls into the acceptable threshold, are legal. Therefore the “cannabis is so harmful it should be illegal” is nonsense.

Moreover, even the most ardent cannabis user doesn’t smoke as many joints in a day as a tobacco user smokes cigarettes, and so the level of risk here falls into already established acceptable limits.

Another major argument when it comes to the supposed harms of cannabis is that prohibition is a bizarre response to any supposed harm caused. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that cannabis is harmful – how does it make any sense to introduce more harm into a person’s life, just because they used it? The idea of punishing an adult into taking responsibility is ridiculous.

The argument that cannabis should be prohibited because it is harmful is mistaken. Cannabis prohibition itself is responsible for more harm than cannabis is. If reducing harm done to human beings is a consideration when setting legal policies, then it’s clear that prohibition ought to be repealed for the sake of a less punitive approach.

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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.

Thoughts of a Luciferian Occultist Upon the Tenth Anniversary of His Apotheosis

On Boxing Day, 2008, I took a heavy dose of psilocybin mushrooms for the first time. It wasn’t a reckless decision. I had been a heavy cannabis user for some years already, and as a schizophrenic I was well accustomed to strange and sometimes terrifying thought patterns. It was about six o’clock in the evening.

Perhaps forty minutes later, I started to feel unusually good. The come-up had already become more pleasant than was possible with cannabis alone (much less alcohol). I felt so good that I decided to go over to my neighbour’s house to split the rest of the mushrooms.

Standing on the road outside my house, on my way to my neighbour’s, I started to feel unusually good. I was certain that this was the best I had ever felt in my life. It was a sense of exhilarating peace, in that all of my suffering had been abolished, replaced with an overwhelmingly confident sense that everything was going to be alright.

My neighbour and I divided up the rest of the mushrooms. After a while, he suggested that we smoke some weed to “kick it on a bit”. So we did. At about 8 p.m. the experience started to become unusual – I started to enter psychedelic space for real.

My ordinary vision started to be replaced by a shimmering field of reds, yellows, greens and blues. These colours took on more and more of my view, but when someone spoke, or if I moved my head suddenly, the room I was in would become apparent again. These colours were not simply placed on top of my ordinary vision, but were a higher-order interpretation of it, as if I was seeing elemental fire, air, earth and water.

Soon this vision collapsed from four colours into two: an electric neon blue, and black darkness. The neon blue was alive, and it seemed to reach out into the darkness as if by sexual impulse. It reached out with tendrils that curved into every available space, but not merely three-dimensionally – the electricity reached into every available space in a countless number of higher dimensions.

What I was seeing was the material world represented as masculine and feminine. This was an ancient Taoist secret: that the world is yang and yin, interdependent and meshed together so tightly that it is impossible to ever see pure masculine or pure feminine in a state of Nature. That I was able to see it was because my mind was rising through the dimensions, into metaphysical space.

Soon this vision also faded, and I was left with no sensations at all, just pure awareness. My mind no longer contained words, until I was asked how much of it I wanted to see. In my mind, I responded: “The full measure.” This is the Luciferian in me – I had waited my entire life, perhaps even several lifetimes, for this exact moment, and I knew what to do.

As if by lightningbolt, the Veils of Isis were lifted, and I looked directly into the face of God. What was seen cannot be described, for reasons that will shortly be explained. It is sufficient to say that the ancient Vedics were correct when they claimed that there is no such thing as space or time, and that behind Maya is absolution.

Looking into the face of God, I realised that everything I knew was wrong. It wasn’t that everything I knew was factually wrong, it was that reality was so fundamentally different to what I thought it was that every assumption had to be revisited. I was open to all possibilities – and in that state of maximum receptivity, and in the presence of God, some things were revealed to me.

There is no such thing as time and space. In the same way that twenty-five still frames a second gives the impression of a moving image, what we think of as time is closer to multiple universes flashing in and out of awareness. This happens so quickly that we think we’re actually moving around, but we’re really just jumping through the multiverse.

The multiverse is not merely a large number of universes. It is, in fact, a practically infinite number of universes, that are related to each other by way of a fractal pattern. This was called the Great Fractal, for the simple reason that it contained all possible perceptions. Maya, or the material world, is a fractal that contains every single possible universe, in every single configuration. Every universe that can exist, exists somewhere in the Great Fractal.

Now aware of this, I felt so profoundly different that I knew I had opened a door that would not be closed again on this side of the death of my physical body. I was now a master of the physical world, in that I could explain it from first principles of yin and yang. But there was more. Eventually I realised that it was necessary to spend some time with God – perhaps years.

As if on cue, knowledge came, about God. I had more-or-less been a materialist atheist up until then, despite considerable dabbling in Eastern traditions, so what came was shocking.

Consciousness is God. This is why it can fairly be said that God is all-knowing, all-powerful and all-wise. God is all knowing because everything that is known is perceived by consciousness, and God is consciousness. God is all-powerful because everything that exists has been created by consciousness, and God is consciousness. God is all-wise on account of the combination of the previous two.

It is true that consciousness cannot be described empirically. It cannot be sensed, and therefore cannot be described in terms of appearance, sound, taste or touch. Neither can it be measured. There is no instrument that can detect its presence or absence. Therefore, it cannot be a material phenomenon.

In understanding this, I understood the first line of the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Eternal Tao.” God, as consciousness, is the prima materia of reality. Therefore, God is more fundamental than any human conceptions that may be dreamed up, such as words and language. God is even more fundamental than yin and yang, and therefore there is nothing about God that can be said. Therefore, all the claims of organised religion as to the nature of God are false.

Consciousness is more fundamental than the physical world because consciousness is the prima materia. God is the prima materia. The first thing ever to exist was consciousness, and it is more fundamental than time, and therefore does not need a cause. Therefore, it is not necessary to suppose some kind of “creator” that “willed” consciousness into being.

The only thing that really exists is consciousness, and this is eternal and without blemish. Everything else is merely something that consciousness is aware of, and, because no two consciousnesses are the same, that which is apparent to one is not necessarily apparent to any other. Therefore, nothing material can meaningfully be said to definitely exist.

Because there is no material world, there is also no death. The realisation of this brought me immense elation; I realised that I had suffered awfully under the delusion that the death of my physical body meant the cessation of my consciousness. In reality, it is the consciousness that creates the material body, and therefore the death of that body – like the death of all bodies – does not impact consciousness.

The persuasiveness of the illusion of the material world is the reason for the so-called “hard problem of consciousness”. The hard problem only makes sense if you already assume the presence of a solid material world, inside of which consciousness arose. Explaining how consciousness arose within a material world is, indeed, a hard problem, because it’s impossible. The reality is that consciousness exists, and has dreamed up a world that is as close to plausible as possible, when viewed from the perspective of the conscious present moment.

All that exists is consciousness and the contents of consciousness. Consciousness is more fundamental than the contents of consciousness; the latter is dreamed up by the former. The contents of consciousness, for every individual, is a slice of the Great Fractal. Therefore, it is possible for any individual consciousness to experience anything whatsoever that is possible – it’s just a matter of navigating to that part of the Great Fractal, which may take several lifetimes.

Every possible arrangement of the contents of consciousness is being experienced by God right now, because God is split into an infinite number of consciousnesses. These are not inferior in any way to the original, or to each other. God is experiencing your life ten seconds ago, and ten days ago, and whatever decisions you will make ten days or ten years in the future are already being experienced by God, and forever will be.

Therefore, all of the other people in life are also God, in exactly the same way that you are. They all are consciousness, an extrusion of God into the material world, so that God might experience something. It is true that All is One. We may be separate – and even competitors – in the material world, but behind it all, everything that exists is on the same team, God playing at the experience of being God.

Becoming God is not a question of growing in power as if life were some kind of game of Dungeons and Dragons. There is no spiritual progress to be made, and there are no spiritual points to be earned. You are already God, perfect and complete; you just forgot. Apotheosis is nothing more than anamnesia, remembering something that has been forgotten.

The reason why you forgot – why we all forgot – is clear, if you consider what it means to never forget. Being God is a state of perfect bliss. It is the absence of all suffering and longing. Looking into the face of God, I also felt this complete absence of desire – and realised its drawbacks.

Sitting for eternity in a state of perfect bliss is extremely limited from an experiential point of view. It is boring. It is so painfully boring that it makes sense to dream up the material world, for the sake of having something novel to experience. Thus, you chose to forget that you were God because it’s more interesting that way.

The problem is that, because God is perfect and complete, any change to this must necessarily be a desecration. Because God is a state of perfect knowledge and bliss, the process of individuation into a human consciousness necessary implies the introduction of ignorance and misery. Awareness of this is why so many religious traditions have a conception of a “Fall of Man”.

This is also true of the Great Fractal. There is an ideal life, and there are a practically infinite number of fractally similar lives. All of the fractally similar lives involves imperfections in comparison to the ideal one. Each one of us has a unique pattern of suffering, much like how the fractal forms of other things within Nature are variations of one ideal.

The real mind-bender is that it’s better this way, with all the suffering, than without. Existence as God is so painfully boring that all the misery in the entire Great Fractal is preferable (at least temporarily, and for a change). This means that there is a higher order of morality than mere pleasure and suffering. God seeks relief from boredom, and therefore the suffering of individuals is a good thing, as long as that suffering entertains God.

Therefore, it makes sense for individual consciousness to get slung into the material world (or, at least, to appear to have been) and to fully adopt the illusion of being a particular creature, separate from the wider whole and with desires that work against that whole.

All of this knowledge was downloaded into my mind in an infinitely small passage of time, because God is more fundamental than time and therefore not subject to its laws. Had I not already been a Luciferian, and therefore somewhat prepared, this downloading of knowledge probably would have fried my brains completely.

As it was, it took four years for me to make any sense of it all, six years before I could think about it calmly, eight years before I could be happy about it and ten years before I could write it down. The distillation of the wisdom of those ten years with God is the essay that you have just read.

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The Case For Cannabis: Drugs Are Not Categorically Bad

“Drugs are bad, mmmmmkay?” goes the South Park joke. Mr. Garrison’s catchphrase satirises the near-total absence of thought that the Establishment has put into their anti-cannabis rhetoric. The idea is that drugs are bad, and cannabis is a drug, therefore cannabis is bad, and therefore cannabis prohibition is justified. As this article will examine, it’s not that simple.

The popular conception of what the word “Drugs” means is highly variable. Some people consider any foreign substance taken into the body to be drugs. Other people say that anything not prescribed by a doctor is drugs; once it is prescribed it magically becomes medicine. Still others contend that drugs are anything that are bad, and anything not drugs is good.

The kind of person who makes the argument that drugs are categorically bad is usually the sort of person who is obsessed with purity. Inevitably they are a wowser of some kind, and they fit into two categories: the first some kind of physical health freak, the second some kind of religious freak. Their belief is that cannabis disrupts physical and spiritual health, respectively.

The physical truth about many drugs, like most substances that one could put into the body, is that healthy and unhealthy use is a primarily a matter of dosage. The most obvious example is salt, where too much or too little will leave a person in poor health. Some might counter here that a lack of cannabis will not make someone sick, but that’s not true in many medicinal cases.

Another example is amphetamines. There are many amphetamines that are basically the same substance as what one finds in ADHD medicines – in other words. The major difference is that the crackhead takes it in much, much heavier doses than what a doctor would recommend.

A small amount of cannabis will not hurt a person, unless they are extremely sensitive to smoke or similar. In fact, a small amount might greatly help a person, especially if they suffer from one of the hundreds of different conditions that cannabis is known to treat. By the same token, smoking a hundred joints a day will be bad for you almost without a doubt.

In any case, the fundamental point is that this argument is misdirected. If a particular dose of a particular substance is bad, then don’t use it. It’s a simple as that!

It’s possible that a blanket admonition against drugs along the lines of “drugs are bad” is a good idea if you are a parent speaking to a ten-year old child. Someone without the mental sophistication to make good decisions might need it. But it’s no basis for a national law that governs young and old alike.

Adult citizens are not like children, and need to be spoken to honestly. The positive and negative effects of all drugs need to be spoken about honestly, and the citizens need to be informed with reference to reality and science. If this does not happen, then the risk arises that those citizens lose trust in doctors and Government officials, and then movements like the anti-vaxx one start to crop up.

Cannabis should not be illegal because “drugs are categorically bad”. This is a child’s logic, and it should not be informing the national cannabis policy. We need to move on from these simplistic thought patterns, because they do not describe the reality of the situation, and absent that people cannot make correct 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.

The Case For Cannabis: Prohibition is a Waste of Money

People often talk about cannabis prohibition as if it was just a law and that was that. The reality is that enforcing cannabis prohibition not only costs a large amount of money, but it also prevents a large amount of money from being made. As this article will argue, cannabis prohibition is a colossal waste of money, so much so that it’s worth repealing it on that basis alone.

The cost of cannabis prohibition is close to half a billion dollars a year. This is comprised of two groups of costs: the direct cost of enforcing prohibition, and the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The direct cost of enforcing prohibition chiefly includes prison costs, court costs and Police costs.

The British Liberal Democrats found that over a million hours of British Police time were wasted every year on the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. This came at the cost of £31,000,000 annually. Assuming similar rates of Police enforcement intensity, we can adjust these figures to account for the smaller New Zealand population. This works out to about 80,000 hours of New Zealand Police time (about 50 full-time staff) at the annual cost of about $6,000,000.

A study by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that the American federal government spends USD8,700,000,000 annually on enforcing cannabis prohibition. Adjusted for population size and currency, this suggests that something in the range of $200,000,000 is spent annually in New Zealand to enforce cannabis prohibition (this includes court and prison costs as well as Police costs).

Potentially much greater than this is the opportunity cost of prohibition.

The Miron report linked above suggested that America loses a similar amount from taxation opportunities to what it loses from having to pay to enforce prohibition. Converted to the scale of New Zealand, that suggests that around $200,000,000 in potential tax revenue from legal cannabis sales are instead funnelled into the pockets of criminal gangs.

Other studies suggest similar figures. According to Shamubeel Equab, who wrote a report commissioned by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, up to $240,000,000 could be claimed in tax annually from a regulated drug market.

This is supported by other calculations. The state of Colorado, with a similar population to New Zealand, sells $2,000,000,000 worth of cannabis a year. If a similar amount was sold in New Zealand, that would mean that $300,000,000 of GST would be collected on it.

So, as mentioned earlier, the combined cost of all of the aspects of cannabis prohibition is about half a billion dollars per year.

This is a lot of money for something that arguably has no benefit at all. Even if one charitably conceded that a majority of people wanted cannabis prohibition (they don’t), or that cannabis prohibition prevented a significant amount of cannabis getting into the hands of young people (it doesn’t), $400,000,000 is a great deal of money, especially when considered on an annual basis. It’s about $150 a year for every taxpayer.

Had the Fifth National Government legalised cannabis at the start of their term in 2008, New Zealand would have already saved at least $4,000,000,000. The asset sales campaign run by the National Party raised barely more than this, and that was at the draconian cost of losing ownership of these assets forever.

It sounds incredible, but it’s hard to deny the maths. If the Fifth National Government had legalised cannabis instead of selling state assets, they would have raised almost the same amount of money – without losing ownership of the assets. They sold the country out from under us for effectively nothing.

Worst of all is that New Zealand is borrowing money from overseas sources to pay for the deficits that we’re running in order to finance this prohibition. So not only did we not save $4,000,000,000, but we’re paying interest on those billions – just to imprison our own young people for growing medicinal plants.

Cannabis prohibition should be repealed because it simply isn’t worth the money. The total losses to the New Zealand economy from cannabis prohibition cannot be justified – even if it was charitably conceded that there was some benefit to prohibition. It would be much better to make cannabis legal, which would save hundreds of millions currently wasted on enforcement, as well as gathering hundreds of millions in tax revenue.

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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: The Criminal Justice System is Not A Treatment Pathway

Of all the terrible arguments made in favour of cannabis prohibition – and there are many – one of the worst is the argument that contends that cannabis prohibition is a good thing because some of the people that get involved in the criminal justice system are incentivised to stop using cannabis. This article will examine the flaws in this logic.

One of the saddest peasant attitudes remaining in our society is the idea that certain people just need a “good kick up the arse” to encourage them to function properly again. The idea seems to be that a “short, sharp shock” of physical abuse can be beneficial to drive dullness from a person’s mind. It’s an abusive attitude that is a remnant of a less enlightened time and, fortunately for the rest of us, it’s dying off.

This attitude finds expression in the idea that getting arrested on account of a cannabis offence could be a good thing, if that led to a person suddenly appreciating the consequences of cannabis use and changing their habits for the better.

There is an element of logic to this line of reasoning. After all, it’s common for young petty criminals to become afraid the first time they encounter some genuine heat from the Police, or the first time they do a custodial sentence and realise that prison isn’t a great deal of fun after all. This fear can, indeed, change behaviour.

But what this approach leaves out is two things.

The first is that many people simply don’t want to stop smoking cannabis, any more than they want to stop playing rugby or buying magazines with Harry and Meghan on the cover. You could instruct the Police to arrest people for playing rugby in the park, on the grounds that their behaviour was recklessly dangerous, but it wouldn’t make it the right thing to do or a good idea. Neither would it stop people from doing it.

Psychologically speaking, it’s hard to declare that you know how another adult should live their lives, and so much better than them, that you can fairly justify setting the Police on them if they don’t do what you say they should do. In another time and place, that degree of coercion would be recognised as slavery, and it’s no wonder that people naturally disobey the cannabis laws today.

So this means that deploying the Police to force people into getting medical treatment for using cannabis (as if that even made sense) will not be effective in the long term. People feel like they have the right to use cannabis, and they will continue to feel as if they have the right, because it’s natural to think it ridiculous that a medicinal plant could be illegal.

It’s possible that Police involvement in a person’s life might reduce their level of cannabis use, but so what? Punching someone in the face for eating a Big Mac might also inspire them to make healthier lifestyle decisions, but that doesn’t mean that the overall benefit of the action outweighs the overall harm.

The second is that there are cases of legitimate medicinal need, and encounters with the criminal justice system are not helpful in cases of medicinal need. Police officers are not qualified doctors and neither can they be. Having them as the first line of dealing with cannabis users makes as much sense as making the Army responsible for it.

The argument refuted in this article is usually made by people who are entirely unaware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. When they become aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis they tend to stop making it. Of course, if a substance really is medicinal then it ought to be something supplied by doctors and pharmacies; the Police should not be needed at any stage.

There may, indeed, be cases where there is a cannabis user who needs psychiatric intervention. After all, there are many instances in which certain strains of cannabis will not be helpful. A person who is acutely psychotic from sleep deprivation doesn’t need a honking high-THC strain that will wire them even tighter.

But even in cases like this, it’s not Police intervention that would be helpful, unless it comes as part of the Mental Health Act or similar and not as part of enforcing the law against the “crime” of cannabis. A person who has mentally disintegrated so far that they need psychiatric intervention is already in a kind of hell. The last thing they need is to encounter law enforcement.

The argument that cannabis users can be persuaded to get treatment for “cannabis abuse” by getting arrested, and then threatened with further attacks from the Justice system, is neither fair for rational. It would be better for cannabis to be made legal and destigmatised, so that people who did need treatment would be more likely to get it. Police involvement is unnecessary.

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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.