The tide is turning on cannabis


In the US ‘reefer madness’ seems to be abating as more and more sensible analysis of cannabis and failure of prohibition becomes apparent.

Colorado has already legalised it, California has moved to a partial decriminalisation and real research is being conducted finally. The medical benefits are being proven.

Now the Federal government has said that they won’t move against states that legalise…essentially they are going to ignore the issue, because it is a battle that is lost.

The Justice Department on Thursday said it would not sue to block laws legalizing marijuana in 20 states and the District of Columbia, a move that proponents hailed as an important step toward ending the prohibition of the drug.

In a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide on Thursday, James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general, erased some uncertainty about how the government would respond to state laws making it legal to use marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Citing “limited prosecutorial resources,” Mr. Cole explained the change in economic terms. But the memo also made clear that the Justice Department expects states to put in place regulations aimed at preventing marijuana sales to minors, illegal cartel and gang activity, interstate trafficking of marijuana, and violence and accidents involving the drug.

“A system adequate to that task must not only contain robust controls and procedures on paper; it must also be effective in practice,” he wrote. 

Prohibition is going to come to an end.

Voters in Washington and Colorado recently approved measures decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana, while 18 other states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

In a phone call on Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. explained the government’s “trust but verify” approach to Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington and Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, a Justice Department official said.

Marijuana advocates praised the decision as a potentially historic shift in the federal government’s attitude toward a drug it once viewed as a menace to public health. By allowing states to legalize and regulate marijuana, advocates said, the federal government could reduce jail populations and legal backlogs, create thousands of jobs, and replenish state coffers with marijuana taxes.

“This is a historic day,” said Ean Seeb, a co-owner of a marijuana dispensary called Denver Relief. “This is the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition.”

A far looking conservative politician would do well to embrace this. If the US moves towards legalisation then so will the rest of the world.

There is considerable first mover advantage in embracing hemp based industries, like most things introduced into New Zealand we have almost perfect growing conditions.

Decriminalisation and then legalisation would a sensible move.


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  • Great to see, about time the psychiatric community pulled their heads out of their arses and start listening to the patient.

  • Mr_Blobby

    The war on drugs was lost the day before it was implemented. It was simply a distraction for the great unwashed.

    Prohibition has never worked and history repeats itself.

    Ask yourself who is the biggest winner from the massive increase in Heroin sourced from Afghanistan. Who was the biggest winners from the prohibition period in the US.

    Not Joe public so who.

  • Greg

    Ha Ha the Greens will love this and smoke up large then go to the polling station so spaced out that they’ll probably tick national without even knowing.

  • Pissedoffyouth

    The LesleyNZ types are why it will be illegal in NZ for a while yet. Once the generation who believe all the garbage about weed die off many good things will happen

    • Polish Pride

      Hopefully we’ll get some decent music again. The sort of timeless stuff that takes you on a journey like Pink Floyd, The Beatles and the Doors created.
      Instead of the shit that continues to get pumped out these days.

      • Whafe

        Not very often I agree with you ;)

      • blokeintakapuna

        Comment of the day…

  • blokeintakapuna

    The opportunities with this herb for all of NZinc are beyond phenomenal. It has the potential to create self-employment for anyone who wants it.

    A value-add product such as medicinal marijuana butter, with quantifiable, quality controlled dosages would generate Billions of dollars in revenues for NZinc… As well as helping millions of chronically and terminally ill sufferers World-wide also.

    NZ could revolutionise the Pharmaceutical industries World-wide, creating Nationwide employment throughout NZ, whilst creating and encouraging high-end, quality medicine to the World.

    The failed philosophy of prohibition only causes huge costs socially and also for individuals – yet viewing the entire argument through a different lens means that this issue is about a plant that grows as easy as parsley… That has thousands of uses, could generate self-employment everywhere… And provide a natural medicine that in over 5000 years of human use hasn’t caused a single overdose death.

    Mr. Key. Pragmatic, realistic attention to the possibilities of this natural herb would do all of NZ immense benefits across numerous metrics and issues. How about some credible, scientific exploration of the possibilities please?

    • kehua

      Start building the Mental Health facilities to cope with the `collatteral damage` of drug fucked infants and youth from all of these amazing `new` oppotunities which have had years to prove themselves but are yet to appear. As a father I have experienced the strife and difficulty that dope can inflict upon those that you love , as a grandfather I would not be so tolerant again. Never forget that the cemeteries around NZ are full of our young who sought to get haven from this shit and the fact that it was illegal was no barrier to them destroying not only themselves but also those that loved them. Legalising the crap will put immeasurably more pressure on parents of juveniles and once legal we will no doubt suffer the inability of Kiwis to not abuse the freedom.

      • Sorry to hear that Kehua, but it’s the “Say Nothing” world that kills, if they could talk too people or doctors then the problem would be mainstream and at least have a chance of being addressed.

      • Polish Pride

        The fact that it was illegal stopped proper discussion and education on how to use things like cannabis safely and beneficially and avoid getting into trouble. Now if it gets legalized much more of that information will come out and you will should you choose to be able to have such conversations with your grand children.
        One of the nicest experiences you can have believe it or not is to have cannabis with your family (all actually over the age of 30 for my personal experience) in a relaxed and safe environment otherwise known as home.

      • blueballs

        No disrespect intended to you or your historical issues with this medicine Kehua, but cemeteries all round the country are actually filled with the end product of the use of a more potent and exponentially more lethal and legal drug called alcohol.

  • thor42

    Legalisation could help a very large number of people with sleep problems. Sleeping-pills don’t always work very well and you need a prescription for them anyway.

    Non-prescription sleep meds are a complete joke and waste of time.

    Something like a cannabis tincture (an extract of cannabis in alcohol) would be *great* for sleep problems.

    The focus tends to be on the *smoking* of cannabis, but I’m sure there are a large number of people who would not want to smoke it but who *would* want to use it in another way (tinctures, cookies etc).

  • Whafe

    It is a topic that for sure needs robust discussion, but it is a slippery slope for sure.

    Yes the environmental conditions in NZ would be exceptional for growing hemp.

    In my opinion, it is not the weed, it is what it leads to.

    I can see some merit in decriminalisation for sure, but never to legalise it. Non the hemp is different… Decriminalisation for a plant at someone’s home for self use, not for selling etc etc…. Could that be sorted and work?

    Am far from a prude either….

    • Polish Pride

      It would be hypocritical not to legalise it given alcohols legal status and the fact that it is far more harmful. It should be under a similar regulatory regime to alcohol too though.
      Doing so also gives a point of sale opportunity to allow for education too. I am astounded at the number of people I talk to who use it but do not have the first clue about how it affects the body and brain physiologically. This lack of understanding is one of the key reasons people run into trouble with it.
      I do agree with you that as part of it, it should be decriminalized to grow a few plants for personal use.
      The fact is there are 1000s of strains of cannabis all with their own set of characteristics in taste, look, smell and high they give. I think that many who would grow their own would also buy from a regulated industry so that they can experience the different strains and their effects.

      • Whafe

        Again, agree with many of your points… I fully understand the topic… I do think alcohol is far far worse, I am 21 years clean of alcohol and drugs, so feel am a little qualified on it…

        But am not so prude to think it cannot move to a scenario where by it can be used by those whom are not addicts like myself.

  • thor42

    I would be very interested in hearing more about the experience of Portugal (which legalised this about 10 years ago IIRC).

    As far as I can tell, they don’t seem to have been overrun with drug problems. I may be wrong, but that’s my impression from what I’ve seen and heard.

    • Whafe

      That one is an interesting debate re Portugal. Have spent considerable time there and it ain’t the same as the Netherlands, where by it is mainly tourists using… I think the younger generation have gone hard…. It will take more than one generation for it to become the norm in Portugal.

      Look how we as a country are going with alcohol….. Shocking really.

      Nice to type this with “shine on your crazy diamond” going hard through an exceptional stereo system :)

      • Polish Pride

        Nice to type this with “shine on your crazy diamond” going hard through an exceptional stereo system :)
        You might not want to say on here and it is a little off topic but I’d be interested in what you are running..

  • thor42

    Does anyone have any info as to how legalisation has affected the Netherlands? That would be interesting to see.

    • kehua

      Yeah they have all morphed into Muslims.

  • Igotta Numbum

    At least all the poorer kids will have shoes to wear to school, instead of their parents slinging them over the power lines.

  • Here’s a thought to chew on ,

    DOGGS smoke pot for a reason, the authorities want it illegal so they can keep the screws on their DOGGS , who are part of our society , and build precedent for our Laws every day , they have been one of the few groups in NZ that actually help progress NZ law in the last 20 odd years. Incongruous lifestyles by definition.

  • Jonathan Pull

    Read an article of a little girl suffering 300+ seizures a week.

    A non profit cannabis grower and dispensary were growing a strain low in THC but high in cannabidiol and reducing it to oil in ver exacting doses for this little girl and its seemingly working miracles.

    Its any wonder governments (with influence from corporations) around the world make it illegal, when its so cheap to grow (unsure about the cost of reducing THC levels and the like) it takes away from ridiculously priced and less effective pills and other experimental treatments.

    • Posted on that a couple of weeks back

      • Jonathan Pull

        oh my bad, still a very strong reason for a easing on the current stance.