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Cannabis Campaigner challenges for Te Tai Tonga

Cannabis Campaigner challenges for Te Tai Tonga “Partnership”

“I am respectfully asking that Maori of Te tai Tonga consider my humble and symbolic offer to cross the racial boundary as a non-separatist candidate”, says political hopeful Blair Anderson of Christchurch. In a dramatic statement today Mr Anderson is challenging the way New Zealand usually thinks about race relations, and making evidence based suggestions as to how they may be radically improved.

Mr Anderson, formerly deputy leader of the Aotearaoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP), is believed to have had extremely positive feedback within and without of Maoridom, over his partnership plan of running as a Kiwi in the Southern Maori electorate this election. “The response is spontaneous, and I feel privileged and excited so far”, said Mr Anderson, born in Invercargill of Scottish extraction, and a computer and technology specialist, with an academic interest in social ecology. Blair will need the nomination of two Te Tai Tonga electorate Maori to secure a head-start as an INDEPENDENT in the race for a ground breaking representation.

“I am seeking nomination on the basis that, while race relations is a major issue to be resolved, reforming cannabis law is the highly indicated key to success”, says Mr Anderson, “because if we can succeed on reforming the disreputable cannabis law, we are empowered to effectively fight systemic prejudice and make New Zealand a New Free Land where self respect and community spirit can finally be visualised and restored”.

Mr Anderson wants voters to realise that cannabis law reform is not about promoting marijuana smoking, but stopping a law which is manifesting racism, crime and alienation, creating an impediment to anti drug education (e.g. tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana)- and costing the country, and Maori especially, “untold heartache” he says.

“Government have refused to consider the stupidity and injustice of creating cannabis criminals, even though young Maori, males and unemployed suffer massively disproportionately under this dangerous law”, says Mr Anderson. (answers from the Minister of Justice, [5684 Tim Barnett], 20 March, 1997)

“I am here to save the Kiwi”- he says, adding “We need to be understanding of our social and ecological environments- and reject the harm production of building new Prisons under a vicious, unnatural, and unsustainable definition of crime”.

Anderson is disturbed by the non-delivery of representation of Tangata Whenua in the House: “While Tuariki Delemare is admirably seeking accountability for the tobacco health disaster, there is a stony silence on the other popular, outlawed form of smoking, and the corresponding insanity of making criminals where there would be no crime”.

It would be so simple to change the law to give adults the right to “grow their own herb” and allow legal production of the hemp resource, but even unanimous Select Committee Recommendations to review the appropriateness of existing cannabis policy appear to be downplayed or ignored in race relations or law and order discussions. “We have to question credibility of Parliamentary representatives, when compelling and exonerative evidence hasn’t found the currency it deserves with MPs, says Anderson, The current crop seem to steadfastly avoid the drug criminalisation double standard, at a deeply wasteful cost to the community, he says.

“How long must it remain politically safe to hurt people with a discriminating law, without it being called apartheid?”, says the advocate. “It is my sincere belief that only by accepting the failure of prohibition, can we provide for our future and a healing of the mate wairua (sickness of spirit) that afflicts our community.

As Kiwi’s together, we have a stakehold in controlling, through legal regulation, the availability of marijuana to consenting adults who have unfettered access to information about the health implications of the use of the drug.

By expunging convictions, and implementing effective education and treatment, we can learn to respect this plant and its trade, which have become such unavoidable aspects of the culture of the Land of the Long White Cloud.

Aside from the Health “Cannabis” Inquiry (1998) evidence, Anderson backs his claims citing studies and commissions showing cannabis is not criminogenic, whereas “prohibition is”,. (Judge McCart, Ontario, 1998). He highlights particularly the health promotion/ harm reduction precedent of the Netherlands- “Their cannabis use and uptake is dramatically less than ours”- he points out- the Dutch have found it is best to normalise use, separate the cannabis market from harder drugs, and make sure people know about how to minimise harms without repressive state interference.

The reformer, who was born in the district of Awa Rua which means “place of two rivers”(between Oreti and Mataura), wishes to share a karakia for harmony, that the new millennium will see a subtle cultural revolution and the realisation of the partnership promise of Te Tiriti O Waitangi.

“Let our mountains, lakes, and taniwha, ngahere, manu, and tangata find a lasting Peace and fulfillment together, as we flow in Te Awa O Te Ora (the river of life)”

Anderson will continue in a joint effort with the ALCP, which he believes is the one Party to definitely give the list vote to, this election - “its Our Country, Our Choice, Aotearoa- and the ALCP are an Awesome Lot of Conscientious People, says Mr Anderson.

Anderson, by entering his millennium challenge to end prohibition apartheid, hopes to turn the other election candidates on to his vision, and make reality, a land where adults are free to share the occasional peace pipe together as friends, and brothers, and sisters.


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