News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Norml Says Pipe Ban Will Create Harm



Norml Says Pipe Ban Will Create Harm: Hempstore Vows To Defy It

The Government's intention to ban the importation and sale of 'cannabis paraphernalia' is both counterproductive and unworkable, says the National Organisation for the Reform of

Marijuana Laws (NORML). "This is in effect a policy of harm maximisation," says NORML spokesperson Mr Chris Fowlie. "If it has any effect at all it will be to maximise lung damage to smokers, but it's more likely that the ban will be circumvented as smokers make their own, and businesses find ways around it."

Chris Fowlie is a partner in The Hempstore Aotearoa, a retail outlet that specialises in catering to New Zealand's cannabis culture, with outlets in Queen St Auckland and Cuba

St Wellington, plus a nationwide mail order service. Mr Fowlie points out there are huge anomalies and loopholes in the proposal that will allow retailers to flout the ban, and he has vowed to do so.

"For instance, we can still sell pipes if they are 'tobacco pipes' but not if they're called 'head pipes'. We can sell anything as individual parts. We can still sell any wooden and glass pipes. We can't put gauze in the bowls, but we can

still sell it separately. Roach clips are banned if they look like a cannabis "leaf seeds or fruit", but they're legal if they don't. Shops will be forced to become more like their American counterparts, who play a 'cat and mouse'

game with their anti-paraphernalia laws. For instance, we could sell keep selling bongs by removing the cones and sticking a plastic flower in the stem and calling it a vase."

"While we are pleased the time frame has been extended, we will continue to trade in these health-protecting devices, and if they want to prosecute us then that's their choice. We have a legal team ready and waiting."

"The Government likes to say it supports the principle of harm minimisation, but actions like this show they are more interested in punishing marijuana smokers than in protecting

their health. Pipes and bongs protect the health of smokers.

Water pipes in particular filter out carcinogenic tars, burning embers, ash, and cool the smoke. They specifically want to ban utensils that cool the smoke by passing it through water, and will also ban retailers from putting gauze in the bowls of pipes, even though their sole purpose it to prevent the inhalation of ash and burning embers."

Minister of Health Wyatt Creech today published a Gazette Notice in accordance with the Misuse of Drugs Act section 22(A) to make the importation and sale of certain defined 'paraphernalia' an offence punishable by up to 3 months in jail or a fine of up to $5000. Forty-one submissions were received by the Ministry of Health, including those by NORML

and the Hempstore. The Ministry noted there was "strong opposition" to the proposed time frame of 3 months to sell existing stock, so it will now come into force on the 1st of

July 2000. This appears to be the only change to the ban as originally proposed.

"This ban is directly contradictory to the principles of the

National Drug Policy, which was based upon minimising the harms associated with drug use, upholding people's rights where they don't infringe on the rights of others, increasing people's control over their own health, and favouring education to law enforcement.

"In our submission we offered to work with the Government in

getting information about cannabis out to our customers, but

obviously they're more interested in sending 'tough on drugs' messages that they are protecting people's health. It

is election year, after all."

The text of the submissions by NORML NZ and The Hempstore Aotearoa to the Ministry of Health are available by contacting Chris Fowlie at the numbers below. Additional information is also available on the NORML NZ web site

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

Legendary Bassist David Friesen Plays Wellington’s Newest Jazz Venue

Friesen is touring New Zealand to promote his latest album Another Time, Another Place, recorded live at Auckland's Creative Jazz Club in 2015. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Father - Descending Into The Depths of Dementia

Florian Zeller's dazzling drama The Father explores the effects of a deeply unsettling illness that affects 62,000 Kiwis, a number expected to grow to 102,000 by 2030. More>>

Howard Davis Review: Blade Runner Redivivus

When Ridley Scott's innovative, neo-noir, sci-fi flick Blade Runner was originally released in 1982, at a cost of over $45 million, it was a commercial bomb. More>>

14-21 October: New Zealand Improv Festival In Wellington

Imagined curses, Shibuya’s traffic, the apocalypse, and motherhood have little in common, but all these and more serve as inspiration for the eclectic improvised offerings coming to BATS Theatre this October for the annual New Zealand Improv Festival. More>>


Bird Of The Year Off To A Flying Start

The competition asks New Zealanders to vote for their favourite bird in the hopes of raising awareness of the threats they face. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books:
Jenny Abrahamson's John & Charles Enys: Castle Hill Runholders, 1864-1891

This volume will be of interest to a range of readers interested in the South Island high country, New Zealand’s natural environment, and the history of science. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland