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Okay readers. Now is the time to act.
This isn't just about party pills or synthetic cannabis, this bill as written has very broad potential implications on garden plants, herbs, technological devices, industrial processes, commerce and industry in general and many many other products and areas.
We have only until may 1st to make submissions to the select health committee about the upcoming Psychoactives Bill. This committee is responsible for modifying the bill before its second reading, so this small window is our only chance to influence the form of this bill and fix its many and wide reaching flaws!!As it currently stands there are large flaws in this bill I have outlined extensively in this submission. I also worked on this submission in consultation and have had feedback of approval. This is the summary of the issues outlined within:• The definition of psychoactive is far too broad (It could easily be read as applying, for example, to television, smart phones, incense, aromatherapy etc)• The definition of low risk should be objective and specifically defined, and could be prone to bias or subjectivity otherwise• The process via which legal highs are actually created in practice, the catch-22 surrounding human “bioassay” and the bill, which is based entirely on the medical drug model, not on actual legal high development processes. The bill creates unneeded animal testing, by not being informed by the actual legal high development process.• There should be an appeals process for the inclusion and exclusion lists, to prevent unfair inclusions. Existing industry and everyday citizens should not be unfairly affected by laws not intended to effect their liberty or rights but to regulate the legal high industry.So, PLEASE, everyone either:-A) Make your own written online submission at the address given below (under "2.")ORB) If you agree with this group submission, follow these steps:1. Download this file to your PC (If you don't have a google account, or that doesn't work try here)(Give it a read)2. Go here to make an online submission3. Put in the human verification code at the bottom and click the button that says "Make an online submission"4. Enter in your name, email, daytime phone number (use a mobile if you want), and region where you live. Your personal information will NOT be made public if you enter it in here, it is only so the committee can verify you as a person, or contact you if you want to speak to the committee.. Only what is in the submission itself (the document), is public. 5. Upload the file, via "Upload a submission" and clicking "choose" to find the file where you saved it on your PC and then, "upload" to send it to them.6. Finish the form as you wish, and then click "Submit"Done.Lets make this bill workable and reasonable.Again, make your own submission if you'd prefer to, of course. Whatever you do, please speak up, in this small window where our voice is heard. Here is the bill, as is currently formulated in all its flawsPlease help us change this bill, so it only applies to the likes of this (and so it actually works and is fair):
Are you a current smoker? Want to give up but find it very hard? Want to reduce your health risks even if you can't yet quit or switch to something safer? Looking for lower harm alternatives to smoking?
The mainstream advice from big pharma funded anti-smoking lobbyists focuses on a "just say no" policy, that more or less implies "quit or die". While quitting is the best thing you can possibly do, its more than a little harmful to ignore the extremely large amount of people that fail in this. Success rates for quitters even with NRT, and drugs, are as low as 5-7% long term (20 months or beyond) So, being the caring guy I am, I've put together New Zealand's first set of smoking harm reduction tips .
Here you can find low harm alternatives to smoking, tips for lowering the harm while you are smoking, and after you switch or quit. It's full of useful information
Click here to find out more and improve your health!
Any tripme member who paid any attention to the US election should know that Colorado and Washington have become the first two states to legalise cannabis (growing, selling and consuming) for recreational purposes in the US and effectively the world. No "leniency laws" or "police discretion" no “decriminalisation” over there. Regulation like alcohol, is the unabashed order of the day. This is a big step up from Californias dodgy doctors and dispensaries.And it's not like Colorado or Washington are particularly liberal states; in Colorado it took 40% Republican support for the legalisation bill to pass by 4%. Women and latinos, historically hard sell demographics for CLR, have also reportedly turned out in favour or closely divided enough for the high level of support amongst young voters to carry the measure.What happened before the election is interesting. No one from Obama's administration came forward to oppose legalisation. There were a few stuffy press releases about the unchanging status of federal law but in the weeks before the election the Drug Czar, Attorney General and everybody else studiously avoided media on the issue. What's happened since is even more interesting. It was widely speculated that Obama would be afraid to oppose a popular measure amongst his voter base in a swing state like Colorado, once he'd secured four more years however the pessimistic envisaged a quick reactionary response. So far, not a peep.NORMLs Allen St Pierre sees it as a crossing of the rubicon. The beginning of a gradual repeal similar to that of alcohol prohibition in the US during the late twenties and thirties. If Obama and co. continue to ignore the issue then St Pierre may very well be right. Eventually there's bound to be a return match with the supreme court (last time cannabis law reform lost a 6-3 split) but as the conservative justices get older and Obama appoints more liberal replacements the odds swing in Normls favour and in the meantime public opinion is trending against the status quo and toward a new approach.St Pierre says that after years of being a political leper NORML now has senators and congressmen coming to them for advice and funds to support reform. Californian representatives from both sides of the bench now see legalisation as an inevitable step and are approaching lobbyists asking for advice on how best to mitigate conflict with federal laws and directives. In the next two years we could see the draft and introduction of prohibition repeal at a federal level, although St Pierre sees this as testing the waters and believes the real battle will be in the supreme court.That may all be American politics but this is important stuff down here in godzone for a couple of reasons. One, the US has historically been the biggest advocate, enforcer and populariser of the war on drugs. Any softening in their stance gives other countries more room to move without fear of trade based reprisals. Two, as states and countries reform their laws and begin reaping the benefits of harm minimisation and tax takes without imploding into a boxed out haze there'll be more and more evidence against prohibition and for regulation.Couple the forward progress in the US with the the kiwi attitude to weed and it’s easy to see we’re ripe for reform. New Zealanders smoke a lot of cannabis already being some of the top consumers in the world by some measures, large scale production is an income source for violent gangs and public acceptance of personal use is generally high while official harm minimisation products, services and education are anemic or completely absent.New Zealand lagging behind the US states in this regard is a product of our political system. While I'd never dream of swapping MMP for the US Electoral College, many states have provision for voter driven referendums that allow citizens to have their say on specific issues like cannabis law reform. It's easy to imagine that a similar referendum in New Zealand would yield very positive results but Kiwi governments don't have a great track record of responding to petitions and I don't think the Electoral Commission is considering any proposals to include issues specific voting into our elections. The lack of this direct issue voting leaves kiwis somewhat hamstrung. The only party in parliament dedicated to an evidence based reform of New Zealand's drug laws is the Green Party. Labour has poor track record to say the least. National are staunchly prohibitionist as shown when they declined the best chance for reform in twenty years by largely ignored the Law Commission Review. ACT voted for medicinal cannabis which is something but then they threw Don Brash out for mentioning decriminalisation and replaced him with the "moralist" John Banks. If you're a right wing voter and oppose the war on drugs you may need to investigate the libertarianz but it’s couple of years until the next election at any rate.No matter which party you support you can email them and let them know that this is an issue where you think New Zealand should lead the way. If finding your local MPs email is too much google(hint: go here)work for you then at least share a fun fact with a friend or your significant other or workmate or someone: And here in NZ it just might beat John Key too.
Dunne bans substance found in K2 testing Monday, 26 November 2012, 11:34 am Press Release: New Zealand Government Hon Peter Dunne Associate Minister of Health Monday 26 November 2012 Media Release Dunne bans substance found in K2 testing Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne today announced a Temporary Class Drug Notice banning a substance found in tested samples of the K2 synthetic cannabis product. K2 has recently caused concern in communities, particularly in the lower South Island, where it has been connected to a number of incidents, and its use has been tied to elevated heart rate, vomiting, anxiety and psychosis. A substance identified as EAM-2201 was found in two K2 products seized by police from a retail outlet, and will now be subject to a temporary drug notice taking effect from Thursday, December 6. From that date, it will be illegal to import, manufacture, sell or supply the substance. “The Health Ministry considers that EAM-2201 poses a risk at least comparable to other already banned synthetic cannabis substances, therefore I have made the decision that it needs to be banned. “This is clearly not a product we want in the market place, and the fact that it is on the market tells you that we have an industry that does not give a damn about the safety of its customers. “Any product containing EAM-2201must be off the market under this order, which will stay in force for 12 months.” Mr Dunne said a permanent psychoactive substances regime will be in place by the middle of next year, reversing the onus of proof so manufacturers and distributors will have to prove their products are safe before they can sell them. Products that pass testing will still have age and other restrictions applied. “The regime will fix this industry once and for all and make it comply with proper standards. K2 is just another example of why you cannot trust these people to self-regulate and conduct themselves responsibly,” Mr Dunne said. “Temporary Class Drug Notices were always a holding pen until we could bring in permanent legislation, and they have done the job well. With this latest ban, we have now removed 32 substances, and therefore effectively more than 50 products, from the market,” he said. Ends.
Dunne: legal highs regime costs and penalties announced Wednesday, 10 October 2012, 1:43 pm Press Release: New Zealand Government Hon Peter Dunne Associate Minister of Health 10 October 2012 Dunne: legal highs regime costs and penalties announced Legal high manufacturers will face estimated $180,000 application fees plus $1 million to $2 million in testing costs for each product they want to sell, and up to eight years in prison for selling banned substances, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said today in announcing details of the permanent psychoactive substances regime. “I make no apologies for setting the bar high on public safety and putting in place a regime with the process costs squarely on the legal highs industry, and not the taxpayer,” Mr Dunne said of the regime which should be in place by the middle of next year. “I have said all along that this regime will be fundamentally based on reversing the onus of proof so those who profit from these products will have to prove they are as safe as is possible for psychoactive substances. “We will no longer play the cat-and-mouse game of constantly chasing down substances after they are on the market. Penalties under the new regime will include up to eight years in prison for importing, manufacturing, supplying or possession with intent to supply analogues of controlled drugs that come under the Misuse of Drugs Act, and up to two years for import, manufacture, supply or possession with intent to supply unapproved substances. Other key features of the new regime that have been approved by Cabinet include: • Personal possession of an unapproved product will incur a $300 fine. • There will be a minimum purchase age of 18. • No advertising except at point of sale. • Restrictions on outlets, including barring dairies from selling such products, and labelling and packaging requirements. Mr Dunne said the $300 personal possession fine is deliberately not being legislated as a criminal offence. “What we are trying to do is actually protect young people, not criminalise them and thereby jeopardise their job and travel prospects. The approach we are taking is similar to that used with alcohol infringements,” he said. Labelling and packaging requirements will require all products to have a label listing their active ingredients, the phone number for the National Poisons Centre and contact details for the product’s New Zealand manufacturer or supplier. ‘To date, there has been no ingredient information, so no one who buys these products has the first clue what is in them, which is as ridiculous as it is dangerous and irresponsible,” Mr Dunne said. “We have had considerable success with the Temporary Class Drug Notices that we instituted in August last year. They have taken 28 substances and more than 50 synthetic cannabis products off the market, but that was always a temporary measure until we could get this regime in place,” Mr Dunne said. He said he will introduce the required legislation later this year and it is expected to be in place by the middle of next year. In the meantime, all existing temporary notices will be rolled over so they remain in effect until the permanent regime is in place. The Cabinet paper and Regulatory Impact Statement can be found at www.health.govt.nz/about-ministry/legislation-and-regulation/regulatory-impact-statements/new-regulatory-regime-psychoactive-substances Psychoactive Substances Regime Questions and Answers What are low risk psychoactive substances? This refers to new psychoactive substances for which the risks are low enough that they meet the approval criteria set by the regulatory. We say 'low-risk' to avoid implying that they will be entirely safe, as there will always be some risk. This is because different people have different reactions to pharmacologically active substances. Why is the Government bringing in a psychoactive substances regime? We are doing this because the current situation is untenable. Current legislation is ineffective in dealing with the rapid growth in synthetic psychoactive substances which can be tweaked to be one step ahead of controls. Products are being sold without any controls over their ingredients, without testing requirements, or controls over where they can be sold. The government must prove a risk of harm before controlling a substance. The new regime will require a supplier or manufacturer to apply to a regulator for a safety assessment before any product can be sold. Are we legalising drugs? No. The regime will provide stronger controls over psychoactive substances. At the moment, these products are unregulated, with no control over ingredients, place of sale, or who they can be sold to. Because they are synthetic substances, there are a huge number of potential ingredients, which makes it unfeasible to deal with them individually. It will be illegal to sell any product which has not been through an assessment. There will be strict restrictions on where products can be sold, the purchase age, and marketing restrictions. What will the implications of the new regime be for cannabis? The legal status of cannabis will not change. This is because the regime will only cover new psychoactive substances that are not already classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. Why don’t you just ban everything? Legislation should not be used to restrict behaviour that cannot be proved to be harmful. Products that meet the approval criteria will be approved. However, our position will still be that not using these products is the safest option. Is this a stealthy way of banning everything and never approving any product? No. Clear testing requirements are being established to determine the risks of psychoactive products. Products that meet the approval criteria will be approved. How will risk/safety be determined? Consistent toxicological and behavioural testing will be required for every product seeking approval. A new regulator will be established to consider the data from this testing for each product. Products that meet the approval criteria will be approved. What do you mean by the regulator? A regulator will need to be established for psychoactive substances. This regulator will oversee the approval of products, monitor for compliance with post market restrictions, and reassess products in light of any new evidence of harm that might arise. How many drugs will get approved? We don’t know this yet. Products that meet the approval criteria will be approved. This will require toxicological and behavioural testing. Who will do the risk assessments? The new regulator will consider toxicological and clinical data for each product. Does this mean the Government is endorsing drugs? No. At the moment these products are available without any information regarding their risks to health. We are changing the system to require industry to prove they do not pose a greater than a low risk of health before they may be sold. Will there be controls to stop children buying these drugs from dairies? Yes, it is intended that there will be restrictions on where substances can be sold and a minimum purchase age which will be set in due course. What happens when the legislation comes into force? Will everything be pulled from the shelves? A transition period will follow enactment of the new regime. During the transition period, a sponsor will only be able to sell: • products with an application pending approval by the regulator; and • that have been legally on the market for at least six months prior to enactment of the new regime; and • provided that there are no health concerns about the products concerned. Will this just backfire and create a bigger black market? No. We expect that having low risk psychoactive products legally available will make it less likely that consumers will resort to a black market. ENDS
It's got to be one of the most often done debates on the internet. Right up there with the death penalty, evolution and global warming, the legal status of cannabis is both a staple filler on current events message boards and a common topic to pop up in any web forum with members under half a century old. Yet for a topic with so much bandwidth dedicated to it's discussion it's appallingly done on average. Both sides commonly descending into a tangle of red herrings, ad hominems, memes and arguments broken off to go get dorritos. Ahhh the internet.Here's a breakdown of my approach to this sticky(icky and skunky) topic:In an argument, particularly an internet argement, it's vital to stay focused on the end game. You're not going to win over the trolls, or make the drive by posters stop and think, but on any thread in any current events forum there'll be lurkers, fence-sitters, people cherry picking opinions to quote like their own; it's from this often silent middle ground that you win your converts. It's to these people, not your supporters nor your detractors, that you have to aim your points, it's for their benefit that you avoid attacking the opposition and instead focus on putting together a clear picture of our side of the debate.
(xkcd)Which simply stated is that "Law Reform doesn't have to be perfect it just has to be better than prohibition." This is the crux of it and what I base my argument around. Doesn't matter if pot is safer than booze. Doesn't matter if it's your 'right,' or if the government should be involved in your life. Doesn't matter if god hates it or jesus was anointed with it. What does matter is the net balance of social outcomes, or to put it in a less wanky manner, whether things on the whole get better or worse.Of course this is just one approach and attacking in other ways may better suit certain demographics. Never limit yourself, but by making the issue 'utilitarian;' about the balance of benefit and harm, you avoid being labeled a hippy, libertarian or idealist, and if you think utilitarian sounds nobbish you can call yourself 'practical' which is a good term for winning the middle ground. Another winning term is 'honest' which means you should be careful how much you claim and how strongly you word your points; remember everyone has google and all it takes is someone to know how to use it and your off-hand comments can look sneaky and underhanded. Which we don't need because we're not saying MJ is gonna save the world here, it doesn't have to cure cancer and fix the economy in one swoop, all we need to show is that regulation looks a good option what with how badly prohibition is doing.So just how bad is prohibition? Massive income for organised crime is bad. Avoidable health effects are bad. Turf wars and drug murders are bad. Wasted police, court and jail time is bad, doubly so when the punishment and conviction impair a persons life more than the weed ever would. Patients not getting effective (and cheap!) treatment is bad. The erosion of respect for government and law enforcement is bad. The under utilisation of hemp is bad... The status quo is really pretty damn bad! Unfortunately a lot of people are isolated from these negatives and part of any argument is getting across the cost in taxes, cost in human potential, cost in increased crime and loss of social liberty. Many will take some time to realise the evils they once associate with "drugs" are the product of prohibition. Other people though, just can't get past the idea that people using cannabis recreationally is bad, period. For these people we have to bring out one of the more counter-intuitive arguments against prohibition; that prohibition isn't stopping people. Look at Holland, Portugal, studies across US states with differing legislation. Aotearoas laws and our incarceration rates. They all point to the same thing; people who want to get pot can generally get it, regardless of legal status. You make this safer and legal for them and it doesn't lead to a giant upsurge in users because the prohibition we have is failing to provide a deterrent anyway.The other half of the argument is what makes us think cannabis law reform will make things better? Apart from the obvious; the opposites of everything mentioned above. The hobbling of the gangs, the treating of the sick, toughening up on serious crime and saving a lot of money, there are three things which ensure the positive outcome of the repeal of prohibition. Education, Regulation and Taxation; the three pillars of cannabis law reform.Taxation. To cover the costs of health, education and compliance enforcement.Regulation. To ensure the product becomes safer with better quality control, labeling, age restrictions and price minimums.Education. So people can make informed decisions if and when they choose to take recreational drugs.Three simple ideas that improve the safety of the product, the safety of the consumer and the safety of the market. A trifecta of winning moves that ensures we're not shoveling harm from one area to another. If someone still has doubts throw 'Rehabilitation' at them as a fourth foundation for reform, because with Cannabis Law Reform there'll be funds for addiction services that have been forever promised but never delivered upon under prohibition.
For specific points, facts and refutations check out the cannabis section on the TripMe forums or Norml.org(.nz), or google; there are many many great sources out there and despite prohibition plenty of cannabis related science has been done. Google scholar is your friend when it comes to academic papers, reference your best claims when you can and keep an eye out for a follow up article where I'll look at Resources and Research for CLR.Remember, you don't have to paint legalisation as a cure all. You don't have to save the world with weed. What you have to make people understand is that we have three rough options: get tougher and multiply the negative effects of prohibition, endure the current situation and hope for organic change(sixty years and still waiting), or update our laws to minimise the harm of cannabis use and start addressing real problems rather than filling our jails. If you do this well enough you don't so much win arguments as win people.
America has been hot with debate recently about sugar, particularly soft drinks. Many are considering size limits, taxes and even age restriction on high calorie sugar based soft drinks. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a ban on the sale of sodas in containers that hold more than 16 ounces in identified venues, from movie theatres to fast-food restaurants. Similarly, discussion in New Zealand has recently turned to the issue of refined sugar.
Before we get too narrow in our look at sugars, let us consider also there other high sugar products, such as chocolates, ice cream, cheese cakes, pastries and fruit juice drinks (which have about as much sugar as soft drinks). What complicates matters more, is that it seems to be more the fructose which is the main health offender, because it’s processed in the liver and that means that fruit juices, honey, agave nectar – any other naturally sweet product you can think of, is no better than sugar itself, and some of these are perhaps worse. Of course, fruit, in its whole food form, is not all that sweet, and contains a lot of beneficial nutrients.
I recently have sworn off all sugar (Except moderate amounts of fruit). I found the cravings I experienced, are more profound than when I ceased cannabinoid use. Yes less than the cravings I got from stopping cigarettes, but still more significant than some illegal drugs of abuse. It doesn't make it easy either that sugar is everywhere. The whole experience has really opened my eyes.
Sugar it turns out (no surprise really), stimulates a drug-like response, especially in high concentrations. Sugar is psychoactive, it’s a drug. Studies have shown that sugar elicits a mu opiod effect similar to opiates, and a d1 dopamine effect similar to stimulants of abuse, like amphetamine. This effect is theorised to be mediated by the beta endorphin receptors.
Here’s a good recent study showing just that - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11733709
But there’s more. Sugar was chosen over cocaine, in cocaine addicted rats! It has been observed that sugar addiction exactly matches the DSM-IV criteria for drug addiction.
Sugar has been linked to a raft of health issues, including diabetes, obesity, fatty liver, abdominal and organ fat. Sugar is universally associated with overeating. And it serves no specific nutritional purpose that cannot be served by other energy giving nutrients.
If we look at sugar, as an addictive drug of abuse, then the modern state of affairs regarding sugar appears very insidious. Children are addicted to sugar at a young age; they are marketed sugar in the form of brightly coloured animals and other appealing shapes.
Adults, it seems, become so accustomed and tolerant to the effects of sugar, that they tend to regard it as an every day item, despite drug like effects in the brain. The pattern of use of sugar in society is remarkably similar to drugs of abuse – they are used to compensate for bad moods, anxiety, depression, anger, and the more you rely on them, the less capable you are of dealing with such issues without more sugar. People would be outraged if similarly acting cocaine or opium where sold and marketed in such a manner.
If you doubt that sugar is a drug, give a child who has never had significant amounts of sugar, and therefore has no drug tolerance, a large soda - and see what happens to their behaviour.
Sugar is also the number one predictor of future drug use. It’s a far more potent predictor of illicit drug use than even cannabis – sugar is the number one gateway drug, which makes sense considering how similar it's effect are to many illegal drugs.
But let’s not get this entirely out of perspective too; fruits are a seasonal naturally occurring source of lower amounts of sugar. They are very high in nutrients (although commercial fruit juices are both very high in sugar, and lower in nutrients because of heating and processing). There is clealry supposed to be some place for natural sugars, in low levels in the human diet, evolution-wise. While sugar serves no unique nutritional purpose, there is a big difference, both in health and addiction, between a small amount, and a highly concentrated amount.
But one could argue, as I indeed would, that we should really have a hard look, talk about, and think about regulating, taxing and even restricting age of purchase for any products containing significant or higher levels of sugar.
It would seem prudent not to supply young kids with an addictive equivalent of illegal drug highs, setting their brains up to crave both narcotics and more sugar or have eating disorders, or die. It would be better if they didn’t have to struggle with any addiction at all.
A tax on sugar content would decrease consumption, reduce obesity and reduce the many deaths related to sugar, much like it does with cigarettes. And it seems a bit on the nose that sugar is marketed to children directly, echoing the “get em while they are young” mentality that used to exist in the tobacco industry, and still is controversial in the alcohol industry, yet is 100% prevalent in the sugar trade. Marketing restrictions, and even an age of purchase restriction could help mitigate this.
And while I support personal freedom of choice, for those over 18 to use cigarettes, alcohol, or some drugs I don’t think these things should ever be over marketed, portrayed as totally safe, associated with strong positive imagery or easily available to young and impressionable children. And tax and regulation acheives this, and also mitigates the associated health costs, so that non-users don't have to pay for others choices. I think a similar attitude to sugar would be more consistent, and more aware.
So it’s magic mushroom season.
This means a flurry of activity, and a lot of mushrooms being consumed by mushroom users.
But before I address the mushroom, I’d like to reflect first on the psychedelic experience itself.
It’s been said that the psychedelic experience is like dying a thousand deaths. Little bits of self, belief, ideas that fall off, fall down, fall short – die. They call this ego death, but its nothing so foreign or wordy ;-
In every way, this is like the experience of life itself, somehow compressed into a few hours, little bits of self, belief or ideas that fall off, fall down or fall short – die. Change is the only constant in life.
Science says one of the immutable laws of the universe is “entropy” – that order turns to chaos, that things die, end. Likewise Buddhism says that all things are temporary. The 90’s band Oasis says in one of their songs “Life is like a dying dream, if you know what I mean”.
Whether dream or not, life IS like thousands or millions of moments of surrender, and release, many little deaths, leading up to a final and complete death of self, actual physical death.
Magic mushrooms where recently shown scientifically to help those dying of terminal illness, cope with their fear of physical death. But let’s consider a broader meaning of the term death here. Perhaps too, magic mushrooms can help us with fear of the little deaths, fear of change. Studies on recovery from addiction, and depression and anxiety would seem to back this up, that psychedelics might help reduce resistance and fear of change, like the wind blows away leaves of autumn, or time erodes a building.
If you’re “experienced”, you’ll probably know what I mean. Even if not, there’s plenty of commonality to sober states of mind, as I am trying to allude here…
So while we have come along way from the pseudo-mysticism of the 60’s, in the flurry of “the magic season”, do remember the power of the tool that’s doing the rounds – you might just lose something you no longer need, even if you were clinging onto it hard - it may shake your tree.
And lets not forget, that “wind” still blows, whether you ‘shroom or not. A near death experience brings a potent sense of authenticity and acceptance as can many other sober loss or change type experiences. European philosophers wrote about this in depth. What these all have in common, is a sense of acceptance of the immutable nature of life itself – viewing, even briefly the seemingly alien truth, outside of the constructed self and personality.
When I first heard of the Search and Surveillance Bill, I thought that it only applied to terrorism or something, and I discounted it. Silly me!
I am a fair bit more informed now, the newly passed Bill, extends power to some 70 government agencies, greater than some of the surveillance laws implemented by the with-reason-to-be-paranoid US and UK.
Under the guise of reformatting our older laws, and introducing some new ones for special cases, what the law in fact does is completely re-write what is necessary to spy on someone, and generally invade their privacy. This affects everyone, every citizen. Not only does one not need to be a proven criminal, one only needs to be suspected, and ones relations, friends, contacts etc, all become also vulnerable to the same.
Seventy government agencies, obviously most of them not police or customs, have to power to play “six degrees of separation” to target, search and spy on virtually anyone they wish.
Our currently obviously authoritarian even totalitarian minded right wing government wants to make Labours old nanny state look like a tiny fairy next to a large menacing troll – the government is about to be heavily involved in our private lives, with more power to search and spy in some respects than the FBI. This current government, and its caretakers, it seems, wants to ensure we lose all out rights in order to better serve the State.
I am starting to wish I had actually read 1984.
Between this, Facebook versus the CIA, cell phones tapping our locations and activities, and now government powers to put all that and CCTV, EFTPOS, wire taps, intercepts and the net generally all together without a warrant, proof of guilt or even personal liability of any kind, all just from a Justice of the peace – well it makes all that very real.
Here’s the Bill itself. Makes some scary reading, from the skim I had of it.
I am asking everyone with any sense of their own rights and liberties to raise general awareness of the Bill, and oppose it where possible. It’s the imminent death of personal privacy, in this authors opinion. Write to your MP, the justice MP, or check out these groups opposing the bill:
Stop the Search and Surveillance Bill!
October 15th Solidarity
The Mana party, and the Green party are vocal opponents. Labour also, but less vocal. Get involved, this affects everyone!
The Green party raises some issues with it here.
The Mana party raises some issues, re-posted on the TripMe forum here. Feel free to add to the discussion. Both Parties raise some serious specific issues, so I won't repeat them here.
Now interestingly as a ranty take on the subject of viewing and power, the Panopticon is a building design principle used for building prisons and mental hospitals. It’s also a concept – One eye sees all, and thus gets total and complete control (or with buildings, one place where you can see everyone, but they can’t always see you).
You’ll notice that in these buildings, even in places where you are not visible to the central location, you still “feel” like your being watched, due to the design.
Seriously, now, I can say that we are all being treated like prisoners and not citizens, and not be a total loon, because we are all now in a NZ-global technology driven Panopticon, under this new Bill – the government eye is on all of us really – except on the watchers themselves.
So it’s been a busy week in the legal high scene. DMAA also known as 1,3-dimethylamylamine was added to the Gazzette, and placed on a Temporary Class Drug Notice. The common party pill ingredient will be illegal to sell from April 9.
Now it’s worth mentioning that all evidence seems to indicate DMAA has a similar safety profile to caffeine - that is, as a stimulant, reasonable safe. Of course bans tend to lead to development, and this ban has missed an opportunity to slow that product development with DMAA.
Not to mention that when BZP was banned, there was a large scientifically proven increase in MDMA and methamphetamine use. Given the poor state of the pill scene, where you don’t know what your getting, and the addictiveness of methamphetamine, this no question that this move could cause harm on some level.
A new legal high called DIME has been sold, discussed intensely here on TripMe, until the issue came to the awareness of Close Up. The active chemical in DIME is apparently, 25c-nbome, which Close Up confirmed with an ESR test. Now the close-up article has faults, such as a poor characterisation of psychedelics and other ambiguities about the substances classification – but they assert that DIME is an illegal drug analogue under our NZ analogue laws.
However it appears, legally the matter may not be so simple, it may be that DIME is sufficiently different from any illegal drug. Only time and the courts will decide, especially as our analogue laws are vague to begin with.
Temporary Class Drug Notices
Peter Dunne has been running around quite pleased with himself that he has temporarily addressed the legal high issue with the temporary bans. It was personally most pleasing when Close Up asked Dunne, where exactly his new safety law was – Dunne is not solving the situation at all, so thank you Close Up for calling him out on that!
Such complex laws often take two years to pass from first reading. It hasn’t had its first reading yet, or even, as far as I know, been partially written. The whole purpose of the temporary bans was to last until the safety law could be in place – and yet this is something we hear nothing about the progress of.
These Temporary Class Drug Notices last for one year. The law stipulates they can only be renewed once, for one additional year. Because the first Notices where handed out at the end of last year, those initial temporary bans, for compounds like JWH-018 will expire at the end of next year – well before its likely any progress will be made on the law commission recommendations for legal high safety testing.
Of course if this situation went on forever (thank god it wont!), because these instant and constantly increasing bans force development, moreso because the bans are so quick and numerous: If we keep relying on this style of approach, the market could be flooded with novel and unknown substances from the forced development.
Its well known than the legal high industry used DMAA because it was low-level, and thus shouldnt have pushed any buttons - they wanted it to remain legal, and they had and have other options they would not release because of this attempt to appease. If anything they introduce will automatically be banned, why bother trying to appease the goverment or masses? There would be less point in doing this, and more motive to make more short term profits.
Of course one also still wonders at the ethics of having one man capable of banning anything with no consultation in just one week. The idea, of one rather unqualified person, deciding what is safe for everyone else, is scarily like some form of dictatorship. For everyones benefit, I hope they get right onto this new law.
Drug Law ambiguities
Something that I have been giving some thought this week, is just how ambiguous, and selectively applied our drug laws are. It began with talking about DMAA on the forum. Apparently it may occur naturally in Geranium. Yet, geranium essential oil is very unlikely to be prosecuted despite containing the soon to be class drug. Confusing? Well, prepared to be more confused.
When our government was banning GHB and the like, they saw fit to make the commonly occurring, amino acid, GABA also class B. Yes GHB occurs in trace amount in wine, as well as occurring in meat – and yes that’s a little odd for an illegal banned drug – but even weirder, GABA occurs in high amounts in some foods, like brown rice, and is sold in pure synthetic form in health food stores. So, they sell pure synthetic class B drugs at your health food store – but because the law is used rather than followed, they will never be prosecuted. Here's an example of a local vendor selling the class B drug.
It makes one wonder why they bother having drug laws at all, if they are going to ignore it most of the time, and selectively choose, on personal whim, when to prosecute. I had once naively thought that the law specifically defined what was illegal and what isn’t. Rather it seems, at least with drug law, it tries to catch everything, just in case the prosecuters don’t like you for some reason. I can't even get my head around at how unevenly applied the law is. Something worth keeping in mind, if your trying to figure out in black and white what the Misuse of Drugs act actually says, especially given what happened with DIME.
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