The New Zealand Parliament will soon get another chance to bring our cannabis laws into the 21st century, with Julie Anne Genter’s Misuse of Drugs (Medicinal Cannabis and Other Matters) Amendment Bill drawn from the Member’s Bill Ballot this week. This ought to herald the long-awaited national conversation on the subject.
The Bill allows for any Kiwi suffering from “any debilitating condition” to use cannabis or a cannabis product if they have approval from a doctor. It also allows for such patients to cultivate cannabis themselves or to nominate someone to do it for them.
This latter point is extremely important and often underappreciated. One of Peter Dunne’s strategies to keep cannabis illegal by boondoggle has been to restrict supply to extremely expensive overseas sources, such as Sativex (which costs over $1,000 per month), instead of simply allowing people who need it to cultivate it themselves. This Bill would remove this deliberately-placed hurdle.
As Genter points out, the decision to make cannabis illegal was not based on evidence in the first place. Doctors in the 1930s were prescribing medicinal cannabis to patients in New Zealand, as they were all across the world.
The decision to stop doctors from prescribing cannabis was pushed on us by moronic do-gooders forcing their Puritan ideology on the rest of the world.
There was never any science involved, nor any common sense, foresight, empathy, compassion or concern for good order.
From the beginning, cannabis prohibition was based on nothing but a sadistic need to control the masses through causing them suffering, and on the gullibility of legions of morons willing to bleat whatever they heard from an authority figure as if it was the Word of God.
For a person to still not know that cannabis is medicinal they have to be willfully stupid.
The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party first stood in a General Election in 1996. Already in 1996 the party platform had the need for medicinal cannabis as one of its core tenets.
In 1996 it got 1.66% of the vote, so even twenty years ago it was true that one in sixty Kiwis considered cannabis law reform a major issue. After all, California legalised medicinal cannabis that year, so the medicinal properties of cannabis were already known and accepted by experts even then.
Since then, twenty-eight US states have made medicinal cannabis legal and eight have made recreational cannabis legal – and none of them have gone back to prohibition after making the change.
So to deny that cannabis law reform is inevitable is like denying that a heavyweight boxer who has won forty consecutive knockout victories is a title contender.
For a person to continue to believe that the prohibition of medicinal cannabis helps New Zealanders, they have to possess a willful ignorance that borders on malice.
They would have to continue to ignore all the stories from hundreds of medicinal cannabis users, over twenty years, in which they detailed the reduction in suffering that cannabis gave them.
They would have to think nothing of the fact that supporters of medicinal cannabis are winning a victory every month either in New Zealand or in another Western jurisdiction.
They would have to believe that it was fair that any of Martin Crowe, Paul Holmes and Helen Kelly could have been prosecuted and sent to prison for using medicinal cannabis to alleviate pain caused from dying of cancer.
And a person cannot think like that unless they purposefully deny reality for the sake of bringing cruelty into the world.
When the debate about medicinal cannabis does, finally, after over twenty years of campaigning, happen in Parliament, the MPs who oppose it will mark themselves out as particularly sadistic old dinosaurs who need getting rid of.
There was some excitement in the New Zealand cannabis community this week after the news that the Government would remove restrictions on doctors who wanted to prescribe cannabidiol (CBD) in the form of an oil. It was the first admission from the Government, ever, that cannabis actually had medicinal value, and for this reason it was significant.
Those of us who are not enamoured of politicians are naturally eager to point out that, after twenty years of sick Kiwis being completely ignored when it came to the cannabis question, progress is only now being made in the foreshadow of a general election.
Neither are we surprised to see hordes of Green Party hacks swarm the battlefields of social media to play down the magnitude of this change. The consensus tactic appears to be describing the changes as “not medicinal cannabis”, despite the fact that CBD is the component of cannabis that has shown by far the greatest medicinal promise.
After all, it’s important for the Green Party – now that the will of Kiwis for some cannabis law reform is undeniably clear – to craft a narrative of having been at the forefront of cannabis law reform all along.
Politicians being what they are, the Greens will deny at all costs the truth: that they sucked up cannabis law reform votes from 1999 and gave back nothing but contempt, until a few months before Peter Dunne (of all people) changed the law himself, without Green Party input.
All of this shitfighting distracts, and is intended to distract, from the fact that if the Greens do get into Government and change the cannabis laws to something intelligent and reasonable, they will, at the same time, make some other aspect of legislation stupid and unreasonable – and this is the necessary flipside of the deal.
The Government giveth; the Government taketh away. This is the nature of politics. The Government never simply gives freedoms back to the people it manages.
We are losing rights now, and will continue to lose them into the future, because the Government and all parties running for Government are in agreement about taking away our rights to use tobacco.
Many people have been able to predict that we will get legal cannabis at the same time as we lose legal tobacco. The rhetoric from the Government is for a “Smokefree New Zealand” by 2025, and we know that they will pursue this futile goal (previously described by this column as a sadistic idea dreamed up by morons) with the same mindless zealotry that they did the goal of making New Zealand cannabis-free.
And it will be equally as futile. Tobacco may be less fun to smoke than cannabis, but people still do it – not because they are “addicted”, as our moronic mental health establishment would have it, but because tobacco has a strong medicinal effect to people suffering from a wide range of mental problems, in particular psychosis and/or excess anxiety brought about from complications of trauma.
Statists and control freaks everywhere are mewling: “But we used to think tobacco was medicinal, but now science has advanced and now we know better.”
But this was exactly what they said when they made cannabis illegal.
Cannabis has been widely used by humans for centuries, and the propaganda against it early this century was all based on a two-pronged attack: first, deny any and all benefits of the substance, no matter how obvious; and second, attribute any and all detriments to the substance, no matter how peripherally related.
And so, in much the same way that we just had nearly a century of hearing that cannabis causes psychosis and schizophrenia and brain tumours and amotivational syndrome and blah blah blah, and how all of the positive effects that people had noticed from cannabis use were really just delusions brought about by the psychotogenic effects of the plant, now we’re going to hear all the same rubbish about tobacco.
Mental health patients will continue to tell politicians and doctors that tobacco use significantly alleviates their suffering, as it has done for mentally ill people for centuries, and they will increasingly be ignored as the devotion to the righteousness of the crusade against tobacco overrides all logic and reason.
We’re sure we banned the right thing this time!
Of course, at some point in the future we’ll get legal tobacco back, because the suppressed mental health benefits of its use will at some point be rediscovered, and then another campaign of spending decades trying to talk basic commonsense to goat-stubborn morons and brainwashed doctors will begin.
And when that process ends, we will lose legal alcohol, probably on the grounds that it causes too much violence and brain damage. At this point, the massive social and emotional benefits of alcohol will be suppressed and forgotten.
The Government giveth; the Government taketh away.
The Government’s stupidity with regards to cannabis is hard to overstate. Its 40-year long War on Drugs, conducted against the people of New Zealand at their own expense, has destroyed tens of thousands of lives at the cost of billions. Signs are that they are soon to stop lying about cannabis – but the distrust they have caused will linger for decades.
It’s also hard to overstate the loss of trust that comes from realising that you have been lied to for many years about the effects of using cannabis. For many, this trust is impossible to replace.
At first it’s kind of surreal – if you are from a family background that has many cannabis users in it – to learn that so many diseases and negative outcomes are attributed to use of the plant.
It seems obvious that cannabis is of value to people who can’t handle alcohol, and that if they smoke instead of drink then no-one gets beaten up. This seems so obvious that it’s really astonishing that our entire public recreational culture revolves around the violent drug and not the peaceful one.
Most Kiwis have had the experience of being at school and being forced to listen to a Police officer lie to them about the supposed effects of the drug. That sort of thing is relatively easy to brush off – after all, you’d have to be stupid to trust a Police officer in the first place.
At high school you learn the basic lesson of Animal Farm, which is that the ruling class are pigs and they maintain control and order by setting the dogs onto the other animals. So most people are capable of eventually accepting that politicians and cops aren’t really the good guys and never were, and so their lying to you isn’t that big of a betrayal.
It’s harder to brush off when it’s a doctor lying to you.
An ever-growing number of Kiwis have, over recent years, come to bring their discoveries about the application of medicinal cannabis to the attention of their doctor, only to be firmly told that cannabis has no medicinal value, or even negative value.
This sort of thing is much more difficult to cope with because doctors are generally seen as impartial sources that can be relied upon without politics or money interfering. In many ways, doctors have replaced priests as the kind of person that Kiwis have come to confide in in dark times.
Unfortunately, New Zealand doctors will happily lie to their patients when they are ordered to by politicians who are taking money from pharmaceutical, alcohol or tobacco interests who want to use the law to eliminate a competitor.
This is why they stubbornly refuse to concede that cannabis has medicinal value, even thought it was legalised in California in 1996 and has recently been legalised for medicinal use in Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and other places that New Zealand likes to think itself more developed than.
The unexpected consequence of this lying about the medicinal value of cannabis is that many patients, having become aware that their doctors are lying to them, lose all faith in those doctors, and then stop trusting them on all other matters, such as the need for vaccines and so on.
These medical hyperskeptics are disproportionately young, for the reason that it is almost entirely old people who continue to maintain the fiction that the Drug War is fought for the benefit of the New Zealand people. We know this because there is a correlation of -0.55 between median age and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014.
The problem with this is that these young adults are precisely the same demographic that does the vast majority of the breeding, and therefore comprise the vast majority of the people tasked with making decisions about the immunisation schedule of infant New Zealanders.
Here the danger is evident. These people, tasked with making important medical decisions for the sake of their children’s wellbeing, cannot have confidence in what their doctor tells them because they know that their doctor has been less than honest on the cannabis subject.
Let’s not understate how incredible it is for a doctor not to know that cannabis is medicinal. It’s just as astonishing as meeting an astronomer who didn’t know that the Earth rotated around the Sun.
If the New Zealand medical profession is serious about preventing an outbreak of a once-eliminated disease, such as the kind that has been kept from breaking out by mass immunisation, then it needs to take care to repair the damage that its credibility has suffered from 21 years of lying about cannabis.
Californians decided that there was enough evidence to make medicinal cannabis legal 21 years ago.
It’s in the public interest of every Kiwi to see to it that our ridiculous drug laws are reformed as soon as possible.
The New Zealand Government, in its limitless beneficence, has decided that we innocent Kiwis need to be protected from the insidious horror drug that is tobacco. The means they have chosen to protect us with is by taxing us more when we purchase cigarettes. Speaking honestly, this strategy could be rightly described as soft prohibition – and it’s just as stupid as hard prohibition.
The logic goes like this. A person’s willingness to buy a good such as tobacco is a function of the price of that good. Because tobacco is not considered medicinal, its use is considered to do nothing but cause disease. So, its use costs taxpayer money in the form of healthcare. Therefore, if you increase tobacco taxes, people will use it less and tax money will be saved on dealing with the effects of the diseases tobacco causes.
The fact that this had led to the absurdity of the Government claiming to impoverish tobacco users for their own benefit hasn’t stopped them from raising the taxes anyway.
The rise in tobacco tax has, predictably, led to a spate of robberies of dairies and other places selling tobacco. As Dan McGlashan has previously written for this newspaper, the majority of regular tobacco smokers were already doing it hard, even before the tax increases.
As this column has previously argued, tobacco ought to rightly be seen as a mental health medicine. The main reason it isn’t is because of the total dominance of materialist dogma in medical and scientific circles – the same materialist dogma that has created our prehistoric mental health system.
It doesn’t take a forensic psychology degree to be able to predict that making an expensive drug even more expensive, when many desperate people rely on it to cope with the stresses of the day, is going to lead to robberies and violence.
Ridiculously, if the Police were to apply the same logic to tobacco that they apply to cannabis, they would say that tobacco itself causes crime and that the dairy robberies are evidence that tobacco should be made illegal.
Obviously, alcohol prohibition failed and cannabis prohibition failed. Not only did they fail, but they did so at the cost of many billions of dollars, the destruction of many millions of lives, and the eradication of any faith that the younger generations may ever had had in the competence or good will of the Government or the Police.
So why on Earth would we want to repeat those two catastrophic errors with tobacco?
The most likely answer is that our politicians are as thick as pigshit and are either too stupid to learn anything from history or too arrogant to think that the laws of reality through which history unfolds apply to them.
Increasing the taxes on tobacco, with the intent of gradually making it prohibited, will increase the amount of violence and crime around the substance to a commensurate degree.
Just like prohibition did with alcohol. Just like prohibition does with cannabis. It will fail, just like prohibition always has done and always will do, because human nature will never concede that a bunch of old control freaks in Wellington have the right to prohibit the people from the free use of medicinal plants.
This won’t stop them from trying, of course. The politicians know that they are not affected by the consequences of the laws they pass. Thus, they know that it won’t be them getting robbed and slashed with machetes – they get their six-figure MP’s salary no matter what.
The real concern is what actions might be taken by those who are getting robbed. Already, dairy owners know that they are widely perceived as a soft target thanks to both not being armed and stocking large amounts of valuable tobacco.
The usual response to this degree of risk of violent robbery is for the dairy owners to start keeping firearms behind the counter.
Politicians in New Zealand don’t have the courage to admit that the Drug War they have conducted against the New Zealand people for 40 years has failed, so we know they will not have the courage to admit that their attempt to make tobacco illegal is also failing.
Probably they will keep raising the taxes until someone gets shot dead. After all, it’s neither them nor their families suffering.
Sobriety Bias Syndrome is the tendency for people to erroneously assume that, if there are two competing perceptions of reality, the one that was arrived at while sober (or the most sober) must necessarily be the correct one. This line of thinking has retarded our cultures and had a grossly retrograde effect on our spiritual awareness.
The logic behind this is usually given thus: psychoactive drugs disturb the normal thinking processes of the brain, and these normal processes have evolved to make us optimally adapted to the environment around us, therefore without the influence of psychoactive drugs we will remain in the undisturbed and pure state best suited for accurately perceiving the material world.
This state is known as sobriety, and the term has become a synonym for clear-headed and rational thinking.
It is a very strange belief if one examines it, because it’s not clear what sobriety actually is. Our everyday experience of reality is formed by the interactions of several dozen neurotransmitters in our brains – and that’s even if we don’t smoke, snort, swallow, insufflate or shelve anything.
Even in a state that most people would consider to be fully sober, the conscious experience is strongly influenced by these neurotransmitters. Dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, GABA, adrenaline, and dozens of others exist, and our mood at any time is mostly a function of the complex interactions between these.
So a sudden spike or trough in any of them can cause a profoundly different mood or attitude – an experience as strong as any “drug” trip.
Not even by meditating can one arrive at a state in which one is not influenced by these neurotransmitters. Meditation might help to inhibit the release of some of these natural drugs (especially noradrenaline), but in doing so it will merely facilitate the release of others (especially serotonin).
In other words, meditation advocates can legitimately be accused of being mere 5-hydroxytryptamine junkies.
Because one is always under the influence of these neurotransmitters, no-one has any way of knowing what sobriety even really is. The usual assumption is that the average, everyday or most common experience must be the natural one and therefore the state in which one does the most rational thinking.
But no person, even if they have definitely not taken any external drugs into their body, has any way of knowing whether their natural neurotransmitter levels are correct.
Many, many people have near-permanently elevated levels of noradrenaline and adrenaline as a consequence of all the stresses of living in a city, which is an extremely unnatural environment and which does not give people in it much opportunity to relax and to find homeostasis of anxiety levels.
It’s very plausible that these elevated levels of what are essentially endogenous war drugs have pushed us into a collective stupor in which we no longer can make decisions with an intelligent long-term perspective.
It’s easy to believe that we are so full of adrenaline that we can only make decisions with immediate rewards in mind, because this would explain the obesity, violence, callousness and stupidity that characterises our societies.
So we’re already not making sober decisions, and so changing the drug laws to reflect that exogenous drugs are not categorically worse for a person than endogenous ones will not necessary lead to the breakdown of social order.
In fact it could be argued that some exogenous drugs – and cannabis is the obvious example – actually serve to reduce the levels of some harmful or stupefying neurotransmitters and therefore cause the smoker to become more rational (this is why Rastafarians call their smoke-ups reasoning sessions).
Sure, we don’t need surgeons taking a hit on the crack pipe before they operate, but a change in attitudes to exogenous drugs need not lead to change in attitudes to professional workplace conduct.
The truth is that people arrive at all kinds of enhanced insights that can be, and have been, used to improve the quality of human life as a consequence of a drug-induced altered state of consciousness.
After all, how else would they do it? Novel solutions demand novel thinking. Novel thinking is certainly not achieved by repetitively going over the same neural pathways for years and years on end.
Some thinkers, like Terence McKenna, even credit the use of psychoactive drugs for much of the initial impulse to civilise our species and for the first stirrings of spirituality in the human creature. It’s also an open secret that much of the creative technological thinking that made reading this website possible was sparked by LSD.
The Sobriety Bias Syndrome, a kind of Puritanical abuse of the bandwagon fallacy, makes all of these insights harder to achieve by binding people’s thinking to the most mundane, banal, plebian simplicities that can be devised.
The sobriety bias is usually promulgated by a decidedly mediocre sort of person, best characterised as being incredibly boring, and sufficiently so to have long since driven all interesting people out of their social circles.
Gareth Morgan showed that he is a cut above the rest of the megalomaniacs who would be king by actually changing his stance on cannabis law reform in response to the wishes of his supporters. This by itself is curious (some are calling the phenomenon “democracy”), but not as curious as the reaction.
The Greens’ health spokeswoman, Julie Anne Genter, responded to the news of Morgan’s intrusion into her political niche like a mother cat protecting her litter.
She made a social media post belittling the capacity of The Opportunity Party to enact reform, calling it “some tiny new political party”, and accused them of planning to be “working with National”.
This marks the first time, ever, that politicians in New Zealand have acted like medicinal cannabis users were normal people whose rights were worth defending.
The usual approach, the English-Little-Peters-Shaw approach, is to stand aside and let medicinal cannabis users die for fear of losing votes from people who want to kill them.
If the politicians, the shallowest of shallow whores, are competing for cannabis law reform votes, then it’s fair to say that the cracks in the dam are appearing and that it’s time for those downstream to evacuate.
The next move will be a leader of a big four party stating on the record that cannabis prohibition is unjust. Any consideration of compensation will be out of the question, because to raise the point suggests that politicians can be held accountable for their crimes against the people, but someone might suggest that medicinal cannabis even be subsidised like other medicines.
Maybe one day a politician will do a medicinal cannabis user the honour of having a photo taken with them.
The ridiculous thing will be that, when all of this happens, the politiwhore in question will try to give the impression that they are bravely leading the charge, even though the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was saying what Julie Anne Genter is now saying since 1996 – 21 years ago.
It’s taken 21 years to even get this far, where there are so many as two second-tier politicians calling for cannabis law reform. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 21 for a leader of one of the big four parties to find the courage to say something.
Probably the next advance for cannabis law reform in New Zealand will be for someone in the ACT or Labour parties to champion the issue. Damian O’Connor has already dipped a nervous toe in the water, and if he sees the centrist Morgan take up the issue he could well interpret that as a green light to go further.