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After a year of not holding my breath I'll continue to not hold my breath - Tactical Ninja

May. 4th, 2011

10:40 am - After a year of not holding my breath I'll continue to not hold my breath

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This morning I saw a picture of a kid wearing 'patriotic' face paint - a USA flag, the letters USA, and the date 5-1-11. While the whole thing makes me go O.o, the date really struck me. I am hoping that my birthday doesn't end up being 'the day Bin Laden was killed' forever. Especially since this year Joel's birthday was marred by the earthquake in Japan.

I guess it's a bit unrealistic to expect to get through life without something globally relevant happening on your birthday, but really? People Dancing In The Streets Because Of A Death Day? No thanks.

OK, remember last year, in the dark ages by internet standards, submissions on the Law Commission's review of the Misuse of Drugs Act were due on April 30th? Well, yesterday they released their report.

It's exciting in a way. The Law Commission's report demonstrates that they have done a reasonable job of balancing evidence against the perception that all drug use is bad and the prevailing viewpoint that what is currently illegal should stay illegal. Full copies of the reports can be found here - it's in two parts.

I haven't read the whole thing yet (essay due next week), and I certainly doubt everyone here is as interested as I am, so I'll sum up the salient points for you:

There's more, but that will do for now. To me, this seems like a very large step in moving personal drug use and misuse from the 'crime' department to the 'health' department. In my opinion, treating drug misuse as a health issue will have much more success in reducing actual harm than simply punishing people.

However, the police disagree, saying that differentiating between social supply and dealing may prove difficult and that people may use 'social supply' as a cover for actual dealing. To which I think "Isn't it the job of the police to determine the difference between receiving stolen property and fencing? And to discover whether a person is profiting from other types of crime?" I know that the proceeds of crime are a large part of investigations - we have a whole Act dedicated to it. And you'd think that by passing the majority of drug use associated work on to the Ministry of Health, it'd free up time for doing that sort of police work. Hmm..

I'm also aware of the way in which Minister of Justice Simon Power dismissed the suggestions out of hand when they first came out, claiming that being hard on drugs is a key part of the current government's stance.

So I'm not holding my breath for this report to make any real difference. Yet another case of the evidence and advice of experts being ignored in favour of disproven ideology.

Also, Bob McCroskie said something. It's not worth linking to and reflects the usual stuff you'd expect to hear from someone who places 'family values' above human rights, evidence, or practical policy.

Meanwhile, my job just got exciting again. And Anonymous did indeed take down NZ's parliamentary website. Oddly it was barely reported in the media. Funny that.


[User Picture]
Date:May 4th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
I'm looking forward to the departure of Simon Power after this term.

"Minister of Corporate Interests and Moralistic Judgements" would be a better name for his position.
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[User Picture]
Date:May 4th, 2011 01:02 am (UTC)
This is probably a bit shallow, but every time I look at him I think "Smug rugby boy" and all the associated connotations.
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Date:May 5th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
i am an american and i didn't go dancing in the streets when i got the news but wasn't saddened to hear of it.
as far as drugs are concerned i've been a daily canabis smoker all of my adult life (40plus years).i think it should be legal for adults over the age of consent also medicinal.
but acid meth heroin and shit like that should never be legalized help the addicts to reform is fine but legalizing something that addictive would be catistrophic .
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[User Picture]
Date:May 5th, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
Hi, nice to meet you. I don't actually know any Americans who danced in the streets so I'm wondering how much media sensationalism has to do with that perception.

Also, you know acid isn't addictive right?

Heroin and meth are both addictive, as is cocaine. Meth and cocaine are addictive in a bingeing type way while heroin is addictive in a long-term regular use kind of way. While addictive substances (particularly ones which can be used intravenously) carry a higher risk, there are some pretty strong arguments for moving policy around them from the justice system to the health system as well.

I doubt many drugs will become legal in our lifetime, however decriminalisation is a different kettle of fish in that the substance is still illegal but carries with it civil (fines etc) or health (rehab) sanctions rather than jail time (which helps nobody overcome their addiction. I advocate for decriminalisation of personal possession and use - yes, even of heroin. I'm unsure how I feel about dealing.
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