Getting tough on synthetics

A bill to toughen up prison sentences for suppliers of psychoactive drugs is set to pass its first reading thanks to the backing of National and Labour’s coalition partner, New Zealand First.

National’s Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown’s private member’s bill, which would increase the maximum penalty for supplying psychoactive drugs from two to eight years’ jail, will have its first reading in Parliament today.

Labour and the Green parties oppose the bill because they say it won’t dent drug use or supply, but simply add to the country’s burgeoning prison muster.

And Labour and the Greens are right. Drug dealers aren’t deterred by the risk of going to to jail given the huge profits.

But Labour’s coalition partner New Zealand First will support the first reading.

No surprises there.

“[…]The fact that the most vulnerable people are the ones targeted for distribution is not a good thing for our community,” NZ First law and order spokesman Darroch Ball said.

“It does nothing but cause harm, so we need to target those dealers.”

[…]There have been at least 25 people believed to have died after using synthetic drugs.

Not really that many given all the scare-mongering but 25 too many.

If you want to deter dealers you allow or create a legal and regulated market that cuts the black-market at the knees.

Instead of buying from gangs users get their fix from a legal and regulated source. While not being 100% safe, what users buy will be a lot safer and users can be sure of what they are buying.

That’s why I think there should be licensed heroin clinics. It’s why I believe cannabis should be allowed to be sold in Dutch-style coffee houses And it’s why I think MDMA should be allowed to be sold at “raves” by licensed sellers.

Creating a legal and regulated market is what the Psychoactive Substances Act does. Except thanks to the ban on animal testing it doesn’t. Take a guess on how many products have been approved in the five years the Act has been out. 25? 10? 3?

Zero, zilch, products have been approved.

I can understand AB-FUBINACA and PB-22 (types of synthetic cannabis) not being approved but caffeine mixed with black pepper? Really?

Brown said the current penalty was too lenient, and the bill would also bring the maximum penalty for supply in line with the penalty for supplying Class C drugs, such as cannabis.

For pushing stuff like AB-FUBINACA to kids even eight years is way too light. But for selling caffeine pills to adults, come on.

Read the Bill here.

– A newspaper.

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Libertarian and pragmatic anarchist. Treat everything the media says as a lie and know the narrative. Facts trump rhetoric.

To read my previous articles click on my name in blue.