Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Potent Drug Bill Passed By House

The Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill (No 4) passed through its final reading last evening, with a rare consensus of the NZ Parliament. Perhaps even more remarkably, the bill introduces evidence to the classification of drugs - in the words of the Minister of Health Annette King: “ensuring proof, not politics is the order of the day”.

While mainly purporting to crack down on emerging drug threats, the appropriate response to existing drug problems is also implied by the new “evidence-based” legislation.

In perhaps the Government’s first sign of political will against ill-considered blanket prohibitions under the Misuse of Drugs Act, Mrs. King said “it would do us no harm at all to look at the current classifications to see if they are appropriate in this present day”.

The bill leaves such technical details to a newly formed Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) - which will also be reconsidering the existing anomalous criteria for “presumption for supply”. Another important part of the EACD’s brief is fulfilling a much needed “public awareness” role regarding the prevention of misuse of drugs and promoting the public health and well-being.

While marijuana was conspicuous by its absence from the hour of deliberations, there is little doubt that the 1998 health committee’s recommendations to review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis will be at the cutting edge of the workings of the bill, and the scientific advice of the expert committee - which is required to be balanced and objective with “consumer representation”.

Cannabis has long been the drug issue which has avoided “macro social change” on the basis of political expediency - the establishment of a statutory expert advisory committee removes significant barriers to resolving the debate.

Parliament is reviewing the legal status of cannabis with submissions into its “Inquiry into health strategies relating to cannabis use” closing on February the 7th. People are encouraged to contribute their perceptions and experiences of injustice under existing policy, to the Health Select Committee.

Although disappointed that Cannabis, Alcohol and Tobacco were not regulated consistently as an evidence-based starting point for the new Misuse of Drugs legislation, Cannabis Party web editors Kevin O’Connell and Blair Anderson said that the final passing of the Bill is nevertheless “a significant milestone for drug law reform.”

Asked whether they would consider appointment to the Expert Advisory Committee as joint consumer representatives, Mr Anderson and Mr O’Connell said that rather than join the “drug prevention gravy train” they would appreciate expeditious implementation of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party policy. The ALCP policy advocates the “social adjustment” advice of Professor David Pennington’s expert Advisory Council to the Victorian State Parliament in 1996 - notably:

 Legalisation of adults’ personal quantities and cultivation of marijuana
 Expungement of simple marijuana convictions.
 Freedom from discrimination.

cc: Hon. Annette King - Minister of Health

Kevin, Blair ph (643) 389 4065


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>

 

Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election