Doctors' group favours medical use of cannabis
By REBECCA TODD - Health reporter - The Press
Cannabis should be decriminalised or made available for medicinal use, some health experts say.
Doctors want to be able to prescribe cannabis-based drugs to patients, and addiction specialists say decriminalisation would put greater focus on the health issues associated with smoking marijuana.
A paper on controlling and regulating drugs was released by the Law Commission in February. It asked for comment on whether medicinal cannabis should be available and whether users should be licensed to cultivate small amounts.
Wed, 14 Jul 2010
An inmate released from Tongariro/Rangipo Prison last month was back in the hands of the law hours later when he was caught buying cannabis on the way home.
Corrections Department investigations discovered the prisoner was setting up the drug deal while in jail.
"This information was passed on to police and the ex-prisoner and his dealer were arrested during a cannabis transaction and charged with drug related offences," Corrections regional intelligence manager Dave Alty said.
"Obviously the prisoner was very keen for a high after being inside but you would think he would have at least waited to make contact with his dealer once he got out.
"In addition, I am pretty sure the dealer isn't going to be too happy."
The department said the prisoner had reappeared in court over the incident and had received a non-custodial sentence.
US police find pot stash in railroad tanker
A late-night police pursuit ended with a drug bust and the discovery of thousands of pounds of marijuana concealed in a railroad tank car that entered the US from Mexico this month.
Police Detective Gus Villanueva said numerous bundles of pot were removed from the gooey inside of the petroleum rail tanker by late morning and many more packages were still inside.
Police bust Taupo drug operation
Police have found what they describe as an extensive and sophisticated cannabis growing operation in a Taupo home.
Police were executing a search warrant at a central Taupo residential address shortly before 9am yesterday when they came across the indoor growing operation in the offender's garage.
Police have not released a specific number, but said the operation involved several dozen mature, top quality cannabis plants.
A 40-year-old Taupo man was charged with cultivating cannabis, possession of cannabis for supply and theft of electricity.
He entered no plea when he appeared in Taupo District Court today, and was remanded to reappear on July 28.
Detective Allan Humphries, of Taupo police, described the operation as "sophisticated".
Peruvians hid dope in their vuvuzelas
Peruvian drug dealers have found a novel use for the vuvuzela, the long, thin plastic horns whose buzzing blare has been the theme sound of the soccer World Cup - hiding their marijuana.
Police bust two large-scale marijuana growing operations
Thu, 1 Jul 2010
Police arrested three people after uncovering two large marijuana growing operations during raids on five houses in Auckland today.
They also seized 11 vehicles and nearly $100,000 cash.
Two men, aged 42 and 26, and a woman, 57, were arrested and due in court on drugs charges today, Detective Senior Sergeant Mark McHattie said.
Police searched houses in Penrose, Mt Wellington, Glenfield, and Brown's Bay. The cannabis was found growing at Penrose and Glenfield houses.
Lawyer claims police "set up" shop assistant in drugs sting
Undercover police "set up" a minor player in a big cannabis operation with sob stories about a terminally ill family member, says a New Plymouth lawyer.
Police swooped on 35 gardening businesses across the country in April. The two-year Operation Lime resulted in 250 arrests and more than 700 charges.
Wed, 12 May 2010 5:20p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
Authorities want the Censor's office to look at a national pro-cannabis magazine which even sells in some branches of Whitcoulls.
But their move, which could result in the censor banning Norml News is outraging politicians and cannabis law reformers who say it's undemocratic.
Norml News is the voice of New Zealand's dope smokers and since 1990 it's been calling for the reform of the country's cannabis laws.
The magazine carries pro-cannabis articles, gardening supply advertisements, and the latest issue even has a message from Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei.
Now Internal affairs has sent it to the Censor's office, Ms Turei says she's horrified and it’s an attack on democracy – the magazine's editor is livid.
Tue, 18 May 2010 3:15p.m.
By Nandor Tanczos
I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, at least when it comes to the New Zealand Government. I know it's hard to avoid the conclusion that there is more than meets the eye to 9/11, and yes there is pretty good evidence that the CIA has been complicit in the trafficking of hard drugs at least since the Vietnam war, but this isn't America. In New Zealand, bungling is often a more likely explanation than corruption.
That's why I have to reject the suggestion that the current crackdown on the cannabis culture is designed to boost organised crime. That may be the result, but I just don't believe it is the intent. Drug policy is highly complex, very political and driven by a great deal of smug self righteousness. A better candidate for frenzied counterproductive activity would be hard to find, hence these latest moves. Someone in Government clearly thinks that we have gone too far. Cannabis use has become common-place. It is widely accepted even by those who do not partake. The police often turn a blind eye, and that staid body the Law Commission, in its own tentative way, has suggested easing criminal penalties for pot. Clearly it is time we were stamped on.
NORML President Phil Saxby has applauded the Auckland Mayoral Forum’s decision not to go ahead with the government’s proposed Party Central venue, arguing that instead of promoting alcohol at “Party Central”, the government should listen to Auckland's many cannabis-smoking rugby fans.
Mr Saxby has written to the Cabinet arguing that cannabis should be regulated in time for the Rugby World Cup in order to decrease alcohol violence during World Cup parties.
"We need to learn from Portugal's experience. They openly permitted cannabis use during the European World Cup and it was a success: there was far less violence. Portugal’s drug laws since 2001 have regulated all drug use through a non-Court process called Commissions of Dissuasion, with greatly improved health results."
Mr Saxby was referring to the Euro 2004 tournament between France and England. Branded as 'hooligans', 50,000 fans - notorious for their drunken antics and ability to instigate all-out riots - descended upon Lisbon. Rather than ban alcohol, the authorities decided instead to sanction cannabis use by English and French fans before the game. The police priority was alcohol. As a result, the match took place without incident, even in the immediate aftermath of England's 2-1 defeat.
"At least 400,000 New Zealanders currently smoke cannabis. It's a part of rugby culture in New Zealand and NORML believes the sanctioning of cannabis use at big sporting events like this is an efficient way to cut down on over-the-top drunken behaviour", Phil Saxby said.
"NORML will be reminding the Cabinet of Portugal’s successful experiment, every time there is an outbreak of alcohol-fuelled violence; whether it be sporting events or New Years gatherings," warns Phil Saxby.
Refer: Guardian story below:
It's OK to smoke dope, England fans told
* Paul Kelso in Lisbon
* The Guardian, Friday 11 June 2004 09.42 BST
Portuguese police officers will turn a blind eye to England supporters who openly smoke cannabis during Euro 2004, having decided that a stoned crowd is easier to control than a drunk one.
Lisbon police confirmed yesterday that England fans will not be arrested for puffing on joints on the streets of the Portuguese capital, following a recommendation from the Dutch authorities responsible for policing the English during Euro 2000.
Four years ago England's match in Eindhoven, ironically against Portugal, passed off peacefully as many supporters took advantage of the Netherlands' liberal drugs laws. By contrast the game against Germany in the Belgian town of Charleroi was marred by violence, much of it fuelled by alcohol.
Portugal has similarly relaxed legislation to the Dutch and the authorities hope it will help them police the 50,000 supporters expected to arrive in the country in the next few days.
Possession of small amounts of cannabis is not illegal in Portugal but, technically, consumption is. However, having liaised with the Dutch, police will not act except in extreme circumstances.
Isabel Canelas, a spokeswoman for the Portuguese police, said cannabis would be a low priority during the tournament. "Everyone knows that here everyone can smoke. The police are doing another kind of job and their priorities are different.
"We won't be hiding behind doors waiting for someone to smoke a joint. We have to use common sense. If people are smoking but not kicking each other, not beating each other, and not making a problem, why on earth would an officer go and ask 'Is that cannabis?'
"If you are quietly smoking and a police officer is 10 metres away, what's the big risk in your behaviour? I'm not going to tap you on the shoulder and ask 'What are you smoking?' if you are posing no menace to others. Our priority is alcohol.
"Of course, if people cause a problem through using drugs and become a menace to others, police will be expected to take action. It would be totally different when a police officer realises there's someone trying to sell."
Visitors to Lisbon do not have to try too hard to buy the drug. The city does not have "coffee shops" in the Dutch style, but tourists are likely to be offered cannabis by street vendors.
Organisers have not restricted the amount of alcohol on sale during the tournament despite the Football Association's concerns. Beer costs just 66p a glass and will be freely available around stadiums and at big screen locations.
Eindhoven police spokesman Johann Beelan said cannabis was a positive influence on public order at Euro 2000. "Cannabis ... was part of the conditions which meant everyone had a good time," he said.
British police estimated around 3,000 English supporters had arrived in Portugal by last night, but there have been no reports of disorder and no arrests.
Letter to Hon Simon Power
Dear Mr Power
Regulate Cannabis in time for Rugby World Cup
First, NORML wishes to record its regret that government Ministers have reacted so negatively to the well-researched and sensible report from the Law Commission on the Misuse of Drugs Act, apparently before even reading it. NORML members expected more from a government that poses as an opponent of the “Nanny State”. We look forward to public debate on improving our drug laws, and will urge a more flexible approach in accordance with the views of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
In particular, we call on the government to regulate access to cannabis for personal use in time for the Rugby World Cup in order to decrease alcohol violence during World Cup parties.
We need to learn from Portugal's experience, documented in the attached article. That country openly permitted cannabis use during the 2004 European World Cup and it was a success: there was far less violence as a result.
Please note that Portugal’s drug laws since 2001 have regulated all drug use through a non-Court process called Commissions of Dissuasion, with greatly improved health results.
The Euro-2004 tournament between France and England provides us with a valuable lesson in preparation for the Rugby World Cup. Among the 50,000 fans were many British football 'hooligans' - notorious for their drunken antics and ability to instigate all-out riots – who descended upon Lisbon. Rather than ban alcohol, the authorities decided instead to sanction cannabis use by English and French fans before the game. The police priority was alcohol. As a result, the match took place without incident, even in the immediate aftermath of England's 2-1 defeat.
I attach web references for your further information.
At least 400,000 New Zealanders currently smoke cannabis. It's a part of rugby culture in New Zealand and NORML believes the sanctioning of cannabis use at big sporting events like this is an efficient way to cut down on over-the-top drunken behaviour.
NORML will be reminding the Cabinet of Portugal’s successful experiment, every time there is an outbreak of alcohol-fuelled violence; whether it be sporting events or New Year gatherings.