The bleak future of a no vote:
- Gangs continue to control the drug market.
- Kids can buy drugs anytime.
- The economy struggles post COVID-19.
- Harms from drug abuse are kept in the dark.
- Patients with serious conditions can’t access medicinal cannabis.
The bleak future of a no vote:
“Get a rat and put it in a cage and give it two water bottles. One is just water, and one is water laced with either heroin or cocaine. If you do that, the rat will almost always prefer the drugged water and almost always kill itself very quickly, right, within a couple of weeks. So there you go. It’s our theory of addiction.
Bruce comes along in the ’70s and said, “Well, hang on a minute. We’re putting the rat in an empty cage. It’s got nothing to do. Let’s try this a little bit differently.” So Bruce built Rat Park, and Rat Park is like heaven for rats. Everything your rat about town could want, it’s got in Rat Park. It’s got lovely food. It’s got sex. It’s got loads of other rats to be friends with. It’s got loads of colored balls. Everything your rat could want. And they’ve got both the water bottles. They’ve got the drugged water and the normal water. But here’s the fascinating thing. In Rat Park, they don’t like the drugged water. They hardly use any of it. None of them ever overdose. None of them ever use in a way that looks like compulsion or addiction. There’s a really interesting human example I’ll tell you about in a minute, but what Bruce says shows that both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an adaptation to your environment.
We’ve created a society where significant numbers of our fellow citizens cannot bear to be present in their lives without being drugged, right? We’ve created a hyperconsumerist, hyperindividualist, isolated world that is, for a lot of people, much more like that first cage than it is like the bonded, connected cages that we need.
The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection. And our whole society, the engine of our society, is geared towards making us connect with things not people. If you are not a good consumer capitalist citizen, if you’re spending your time bonding with the people around you and not buying stuff—in fact, we are trained from a very young age to focus our hopes and our dreams and our ambitions on things we can buy and consume. And drug addiction is really a subset of that.”
~ Johann Hari
For more …
** About the work of Bruce K. Alexander
Unfortunately here in Aotearoa, we have a serious problem with child abuse. According to a a 2012 report prepared for the Ministry of Health, approximately one child a day was admitted to hospital with injuries relating to assault, neglect or maltreatment. Sadly these figures appear to have increased over recent years.
With this in mind it is understandable many people are worried about the effects legalising cannabis may have on child abuse, particularly neglect. Though there have been many child homicides linked to the use of alcohol or drugs such as methamphetamine and synthetics, there has been no link between the use of cannabis by itself, and child abuse. When cannabis has been involved in these cases it is almost always secondary to other substances like alcohol.
Legalising cannabis will mean that those who do want to use it on a recreational basis will have a safe and accessible way to get it. It will also people will no longer be prosecuted for using a substance that is relatively harmless. It’s pretty hard not to neglect your children from jail!
Samantha, 32 told us about her experience growing up with heavy alcohol users as compared to cannabis smokers:
“As a child my parents separated when I was young. I grew up with my mother who developed a heavy dependency on alcohol, and became a daily drinker along with her partner. I regularly visited my father and eventually moved in with him. He was a regular cannabis user and had a joint most days with dinner, and only drank occasionally.
Living with alcoholic parents was extremely volatile and unpredictable. I never knew what mood they would be when I came home. Whether they would be in a happy drunk mood, or angry, smashing dishes and yelling at each other. If they had too much alcohol, sometimes they would pass out in the afternoon or evening and leave us kids to our own devices. A lot of money went on booze, and they were often too drunk to cook or anything else, so we mainly lived off sandwiches, noodles and fried food and we didn’t do any extra curricular activities.
When I lived with my dad it was a much calmer environment. Although he used cannabis almost daily, it didn’t interfere with what he had to do during the day, including taking care of his children. He would often be a bit spaced out in the evenings, and that’s it. I remember him having legal troubles due to growing plants for his personal use.
As an adult I smoke rarely but I support the legalisation of cannabis, because I don’t think people like my father should be prosecuted for something that is usually pretty harmless.”
Guest Blog by Angelina Stanton
A gentle reminder that Cannabis is a plant.
On September 19 we are voting on something that occurs completely on it’s own in nature. The plant has been used for centuries for herbal and medicinal uses across continents and cultures.
The use of cannabis as a mind-altering drug has been documented by archaeological finds in prehistoric societies in Eurasia and Africa. The oldest written record of cannabis usage is the Greek historian Herodotus‘s reference to the central Eurasian Scythians taking cannabis steam baths. His (c. 440 BCE) Histories records, “The Scythians, as I said, take some of this hemp-seed [presumably, flowers], and, creeping under the felt coverings, throw it upon the red-hot stones; immediately it smokes, and gives out such a vapour as no Greek vapour-bath can exceed; the Scyths, delighted, shout for joy.”
In the Middle East, use spread throughout the Islamic empire to North Africa. In 1545, cannabis spread to the western hemisphere where Spaniards imported it to Chile for its use as fiber. In North America, cannabis, in the form of hemp, was grown for use in rope, clothing and paper.
Glad you asked!
TO NAME A FEW…
The WE DO campaign has just launched and is about showing other New Zealanders that it’s OK to support this bill – We Do are looking for good people to convey that message. We Do are asking for volunteers to be photographed for a poster campaign to show that all kinds of Kiwis back this bill because it’s the right thing to do.
If you live in Auckland We Do would love it if you could spare a little time to be photographed and make your voice heard in the lead-up to this crucial referendum. (Bonus: you get a sweet professional photograph of yourself, possibly with a loved one or buddy too.)
It’s what WE DO.
Please apply here before the shooting dates of August 15 and 16.
This recent opinion piece on Stuff is a really good read. In this opinion piece the anonymous author describes growing up in a family that grew and enjoyed cannabis and her perspective on cannabis now as a mother with her own family.
I know we haven’t always been the best of friends. (Sorry I borrowed your bin the other week…)
I wanted to write to you about the upcoming cannabis referendum. I have no idea where you stand on these types of things. But I wanted to let you know that I use cannabis to help with my anxiety. When the world starts to spin and I can’t calm my breathing, I use a small bit of cannabis and then I can think straight. It means I don’t break up with my partner, it means I can buy groceries without having a panic attack in the supermarket. It means I can sleep at night enough to go to work the next day. I’m a lawyer.
I know a lot of people think those who enjoy cannabis are just a bunch of stoners. The truth is, a lot of people use cannabis for a lot of different reasons. We can’t assume anything these days – as long as they are smart and safe about it I don’t see the problem.
I talk to my therapist about my cannabis use – she is onboard and we monitor it together.
Right now, a prescription for CBD aoil is about $400 and it would last me two weeks at most.
I just want to be able to walk into a shop, ask the shopkeeper what’s on offer, and be able to pick a cannabis product out with clear potency labels and pay for it legally (and without spending a fortune). I’m pretty tired of these weird picking cannabis up out of my postbox situations.
I know we are pretty different. But you seem understanding too. I hope you consider voting yes in the referendum. And that maybe you see cannabis a bit differently now?
Wishing you all the best,
Your neighbour 🙂
The purpose of the Cannabis Legislation and Reform Bill is to review the cannabis related sections within the current Misuse of Drugs Act. Find out more about The Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 by reading the act online. The act covers more than just cannabis of course, and is well worth a read.