Category: Featured

6 posts

Drug Driving Discussion Document

Drug Driving Discussion Document

The Government initiated a discussion document on drugged
driving. The deadline for submissions was Friday 28 June
2019. You can find the discussion document detail here.

The #makeitlegal viewpoint on Drug Driving is that cannabis law reform
will have an impact on workplace drug testing and on the enforcement
of traffic regulations. Concerns around this have been voiced by
employers, unions and the NZ Police. It should be noted, however,
that substance testing for impairment is an ineffective health and
safety procedure. It rarely tests the number one drug of abuse in
the workplace (alcohol) and does not test impairment from cannabis
use but rather the presence of long-lived cannabis metabolites.

Cannabis law reform will require that we address these difficult
issues, as the simple presence of cannabis metabolites will no
longer be grounds for punitive action. The issue of impairment is
not just about cannabis use. Impairment in the workplace can arise
from sleep deprivation, relationship problems, pharmaceutical products
and a range of other conditions that are difficult to individually
test for. For this reason: – We recommend that driving under the
influence of cannabis is prohibited as per existing regulations on
impairment. – We also recommend that the Government investigate
impairment testing (as opposed to substance testing) as a more
accurate measure of actual impairment in the workplace.

Donate to #makeitlegal on Give-a-Little

Donate to #makeitlegal on Give-a-Little

#Makeitlegal is the campaign to get a strong YES vote in the upcoming New Zealand Cannabis Referendum – set to be held at the 2020 general elections. This referendum will be binding – meaning if we get more than 50% of voters voting yes, cannabis law reform will happen.

We need to get out to people all through NZ to have conversations about cannabis law reform and what the government is proposing with the referendum. We will need billboards, social media and information to hand out. This Givealittle page will help us raise the funds we need to do that.

New Zealand is well overdue for a change to our drug laws and the time is now.

Polling shows a good level of public support – 60% of the general population and 75% of Maori want law reform. But we need to translate that support into votes because the largest voting block – people over 70yrs old – has only 30% support for law reform. Basically – the people who support law reform don’t vote, and the people who oppose it do.

All over the world, countries are moving to change their drug laws so that cannabis is dealt with as a health issue, not a crime. Portugal, Canada, Colorado, and California are leading examples of why change is a good thing, with law reform leading to reduced drug use and drug related crime, better healthcare available to people who need it, and fewer people in prison for harmless drug incidents.

But it is expensive to run a referendum campaign, and we are not part of any political party or organisation i.e. we are not funded. And as referendum campaigners will need to follow all the same rules as a political campaign – including financial reporting and limits on what we can do.

So please donate – even $5 can go along way!

What happens to your donation?

Funds will be paid to a verified bank account of the Make It Legal NZ Trust and used for activities to promote the upcoming cannabis referendum and the #makeitlegal campaign e.g. publicity, campaigning, marketing, research and polling. If we raise sufficient funds we will be able to employ a campaign manager and other key people. Having dedicated, skilled campaigners will increase our chances of achieving law reform.

If you want to become a #makeitlegal supporter please contact

“I believe that drug policy needs to evolve from a substance-based to a people-centred approach. Harm reduction, prevention, and evidence-based treatment have shown their effectiveness around the world. I have witnessed this from New Zealand to Belarus. Now is the time to address the policy barriers to better outcomes.”

Helen Clark – Commissioner at the Global Commission on Drug Policy

Drug Policy and Deprivation of Liberty

Drug Policy and Deprivation of Liberty

Drug Policy and Deprivation of Liberty

Drug Policy and Deprivation of Liberty

The new position paper by the Global Commission on Drug Policy shows how the deprivation of liberty for non-violent drug crimes is a wrong and ineffective response, notably because it does not take into account the social and psychological root causes of drug consumption, nor does it consider the economic and social marginalization of low-level actors in the trade. Furthermore, people who are incarcerated are vulnerable, exposed to risks, particularly health risks, for which they are not well-equipped and do not receive adequate care.

In this report, members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy analyze the last thirty years of over incarceration in closed settings, from prisons to migrant administrative detention and from mandatory treatment to private rehabilitation centers. The paper highlights the responsibility of the State towards people who are incarcerated, and demonstrates how their health and well-being are at risk.

Download the paper here

An environmental opportunity

An environmental opportunity

In our rush to convince people that legalised cannabis will be strictly managed, we run the risk of forcing our fledgling cannabis industry to adopt the least sustainable practices available. When regulations are being developed by the Health and Justice Ministries, how can we ensure that environmental issues are taken into account?
Canada legalised cannabis last year, introducing strict controls to make sure legally grown cannabis wouldn’t leak into the illicit market – which they were trying to eliminate. They also wanted to make sure children didn’t accidentally consume cannabis products.
This has resulted in many companies cultivating cannabis indoors – a high energy system growing under lights, with air conditioners and dehumidifiers.
Even when cannabis is grown outdoors, intensive cultivation of thirsty plants has the potential to harm rivers and lakes. It is estimated that a cannabis plant uses around 22 litres of water, compared to grape vines which use around 12 litres.
Once gown, Canadian cannabis products tend to be over packaged, with layers of plastic to ensure no-one accidentally consumes cannabis, and to provide space for all the information labeling.
The New Zealand Ministry of Health is developing regulations for medicinal cannabis this coming year. Working in waste, as I do, I can assure you that the health industry does not have a great track record for waste minimisation or environmental considerations. It concerns me that Ministry of Health officials may fail to even consider regulations to encourage this new industry to be sustainable.
And it could easily be a world leader in sustainability.
A new industry, with multiple well-funded companies setting up systems and processes from scratch, could readily ‘gear up’ as sustainable from day one. Instead of layers of wasteful packaging, the new industry could be regulated to introduce sustainable packaging that still ensures products are safe and well labelled
This new funding for developing sustainable packaging could be a shot in the arm for a packaging industry crying out for funding to help them move away from the plastic packaging consumers so dislike. And once established, sustainable packaging regulations could easily be rolled out across all products.
Regulation for cultivation could ensure products are not only high quality and secure, but also minimise environmental impacts. At the very least they could avoid forcing growers into the least sustainable practices, and at best direct them towards methods which cause the least harm.
Regulations should cover aspects such as:
• Sustainable packaging and waste minimisation
• Suitable site locations to minimise environmental harm, including requiring renewable energy use for indoor growing
• Water monitoring and management systems to reduce the need for irrigation
• Compostable waste management during cultivation and guidance on soil health
• Protocols on chemical application – ideally with a focus on organic cultivation
We have an opportunity. A new industry. Let’s not blow it by applying outdated production systems when we could be world leaders with the greenest cannabis products on earth.

By Sandra Murray, Environmental Consultant

Responsible Legal Regulation

Responsible Legal Regulation

What does responsible legal regulation mean?
Under a model with legal regulation, cannabis related activities (use, possession, cultivation, sale etc) are no longer criminal activities, but regulated through administrative laws, as is the case for other products such as alcohol and tobacco.

While offences still occur, these are not criminal offences, but related to failing to adhere to regulations. For example – a person may grow cannabis at home for personal use legally, but if they sell it, they may be fined for unlicensed sale. Or if a licensed supplier sells to a child, they may be prosecuted and fined for underage selling, and have their license revoked.

Legal regulation itself covers a range of scenarios from strict regulation (such as with the regulation of hazardous substances or medicines containing opiates) to responsible regulation (as proposed for cannabis) through to lax regulation (such as with alcohol) and then on to unrestricted access (such as with ice creams and soft drinks). This can be seen in the graph above, taken from Regulation: The responsible Control of Drugs by the Global Commissions on Drug Policy, showing the range of models from decriminalisation through to unrestricted access, and the level of harm each model is likely to result in.

Responsible legal regulation is what is proposed for cannabis.