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Instant Fines Unjust, Inequitable & Plain Stoopid!

Instant Fines Unjust, Inequitable And Just Plain Stoopid!

The Greens 'guilt tax' on cannabis sells debate and reason short. Despite the UFO/Progressive/Labour confidence agreement, instant fines by way of a private members bill adds another distracting breach to the already interrupted due process law review and 'evidence based' policy development.

Instant fines widens the net while catching the sprat. It fails to address 'criminalization and the black market' (2003 HSC report) 'double standards' are retained (1998 HSC report) as are the 'impediments to health promotion' (Ottawa Charter 1986), worse, that these proposed possession fines fail as a regulatory tool is cited as a "worst possible scenario" in the 660 page Canadian Senate Report Sept. 2002.

Nandor confuses middle ground for no-mans land. Why should someone who lives within 99 meters of a 'place young people use' be fined 5 times more than the neighbor who lives 101 meters. This is arbitrary, making it capricious to suggest it affords anyone protection where even prohibition with full force and effect has failed. Even five plants and 28 grams for an annual plant doesn't stackup. The devil is in the details, I doubt Nandor's Bill will make, let alone deserve, a second reading.

However, this vexing question puts the ethics and policy standards of all political parties to the test, perhaps none more so than 'bottom line' United Future Outdoors.

Drug policy is not constrained to domestic debate. We do know that the majority of European elected representatives want reform (Catania Report 2004). And we know that internationally the nexus of arms, drugs, borders, politics, crime, corruption, laundering and terrorism turns simple green and white agricultural substances into conflict chemicals (Lord Birt report 2003, UNODCP 2004) while prohibition has neither reduced global demand, or supply.

So New Zealand, what happened to the 'law review'?

We should be asking National's Don Brash - how reformers have 530 Endorsing Economists ( http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/endorsers.html saying marijuana policy is an unaccounted mess and yet neither he, nor Cullen, Peters, Dunne or Hide can produce even baseline 'prohibition' cost-benefit analysis, let alone produce a peer or academic economist arguing status quo is good public policy. [See www.prohibitioncosts.org]. What we have is "grossly deficient" according the retired original member of the 1972 Blake-Palmer Committee Prof. Emeritus Fred Fastier, Pharmacology, Otago School of Medicine. Fastier wrote the original cannabis prohibition advise notably tagging it with 'maintaining prohibition so long as it is seen to be effective'.

I would gladly forgo tax cuts for a parliamentary term to entrench and enjoy the social capital benefits of the cumulative value of a well considered reform. Voters may also agree, but don't expect parties to represent this issue, electors must take it up with your 'electorate' candidates and vote in the peoples choice. Even if unlikely, there is room in the house for 60 independents under MMP! That's a lot of good people round the select committee tables, all unfettered by party foolishness.

Blair Anderson,
Educators for Sensible Drug Policy

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