Media get high on own supply of hot air
By Amy Joseph
The day after Critic ran a story about OUSAâ€™s NORML club and their
conflict with the Campus Watch over their 4:20 smoke up in Issue 16,
the ODT ran a front-page story telling the good people of Dunedin about the weekly gathering that was attracting â€œchildren and drug
Intrigued, various representatives of the national media were drawn to
the Union Lawn on Friday July 27, to broadcast the story to good people all over the country. Unfortunately for those in search of a good story, Campus Watch and the police failed to join the party.
TV3â€™s reporter Mark Price was pushing a six oâ€™clock deadline, but he
found time to have a quick chat to Critic. â€œWeâ€™re only here because we
read about it somewhere, and it seemed unusual that there would be
a regular congregation of marijuana smokers in Dunedin that nobody
seemed to be doing anything about from the campus side or the police
side.â€ Price said. â€œItâ€™s all peaceful, and everyone looks pretty happy - it
doesnâ€™t look like theyâ€™re doing much harm to me.â€
TV3 obviously know that pretty happy, peaceful people donâ€™t make
good television, and the smoke up failed to make their bulletin.
Television Oneâ€™s Close Up, however, decided to run with the non-story,
making it even less relevant by failing to actually discover any of the facts behind it. Neither NORML nor OUSA were mentioned, and Close Up was unable to get any comment from the University. One interviewee freely admitted that he has â€œnever actually been to university,â€ but Close Upâ€™s intrepid reporter John Selwyn failed to follow this up (the reason Campus Watch gave for their initial scrutiny of the smoke up was the alleged presence of under age smokers and non students).
He did manage to reel of a long list of synonyms for the drug â€“â€œ4:20
is slang for marijuana. You know â€“ the whacky baccy, pot, grass, dope,
ganja, cannabis, weedâ€ â€“ and show a clip from Scarfies, all while
wearing a dust mask to avoid the dangers of passively smoking the
Meanwhile, a chef in Queenstown failed in his attempt to use the
smoke up as a defence against charges of cannabis possession.
Matthew Clark Veevers admitted one charge of possessing the class C
drug (four grams), but whined that Otago students â€œget to use marijuana â€¦ and the police donâ€™t do anything about it.â€ Veevers was fined $250 by an unsympathetic judge, with court costs of $130.