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Drug Hysteria - NZ Herald + NZ Police

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The NZ Herald has today published an article titled "Cannabis haul highest in a decade", submitted by the NZPA, which one could assume to have been a NZ Police press release printed unquestioningly.  The article can be found at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10597228

This 'article' contains a number of false claims and propagandising for the war on drugs.

1) "the potential to cause community harm worth $379 million."

The $379M figure provided by the police is worked out using their internal tool The Drug Harm Index (DHI).  The DHI uses estimates of 'social costs' which are based on the costs of drug law enforcement, production costs of drugs, loss to the labour force, and health costs.

Another way of looking at this 'cost' is to look at it as Prohibition Costs.  And as the DHI figures 38% of harm for drug law enforcement we can estimate that $144M of taxpayer money was spent to enforce cannibus prohibition in the last year.

And as the DHI places a social harm/cost of $11790/kg of Cannabis, the 50 bags many of us buy are costing society about $30 a pop.

A really good critique of the DHI can be found at: http://www.norml.org.nz/article693.html

2) "The results showed cannabis was a "gateway" drug to other criminal activities, he said."

Or one could just as easily state that some people who are involved in the movement of stolen goods also deal in, or grow Marijuana.  And some people who have firearms (note that they were siezed, yet not necessarily illegal) deal in, or grow Marijuana.

It's sort of like saying that because NZ has a drink driving problem, that driving a car is a gateway to alcohol abuse.

3) "the potential socioeconomic harm of $379m the drug could have had on the community was based on a conservative estimate of 226 grams of cannabis from each plant."

Now that's quite a haul.  That's almost 8 ounces per plant.  Every plant is different, but I think that someone will be doing pretty well to get 8 ounces (dry weight) from their plants on a consistent basis.  And this is talking outdoors.  Many of these plants will have been indoor plants, were you max yield might be approaching 2oz per plant.

The Police's statement that this would be a constant yield over all plants siezed is very dubious, and claiming that this is a conservative estimate is a very cheeky claim indeed.

4) "The haul of plants was the highest in 10 years and up by 17,000 on the previous year"

Y'know, the fact that they keep on getting higher hauls is not an indicator that the war on drugs is actually working.  It just means they've found more plants. And that a lot of people like to use Marijuana.  For if there wasn't some sort of demand, there wouldn't be a need for the supply.

One would hope that a reasonable person could look at these figures and the wealth of information around cannabis consumption and effects of prohibition, and make an intelligent decision on prohibition and the use of time, money and persecution that comes with drug law enforcement.

Unforunately most people are unwittingly fed propaganda directly from the enforcers of these laws when they read their daily paper, instead of having a clear factual argument presented to them.  The NZ Herald is allowing the Police to use their access to the public to gain support for drug enforcement, without even the slightest critique of the information presented.  This is a very questionable practice and is feeding people false information, and I call upon the NZ Herald to review these practices.

Some things that people can do in response to this are:

*) Write a letter to the editor:
http://dynamic.nzherald.co.nz/feedback/letters/index.cfm

*) Write to the Police and question their use of the DHI, their propagandizing, how they came up with 226g/plant:
Police National Headquarters
PO Box 3017
Wellington
Phone: +64 4 474-9499

or:
https://forms.police.govt.nz/forms/contact-new-zealand-police/10

*) Stop buying the paper.

Comments

The harm that the police war

The harm that the police war on drugs causes is the real issue.

what harm is that exactly?

what harm is that exactly? can you be specific?

The social harm caused by

The social harm caused by unecessary incarceration. Perpetually there are around 1200 New Zealanders in prison for cannabis related convictions. Last year alone police raided over 1000 houses in this country and arrested 1100 New Zealanders due to their cannabis laws. Whole entire families spanning many generations have now come to accept police raids, arrest and jail as a part of their everyday lives due to the nz police war on consumers of these plants.

0800 hotlines as an example are designed to turn family members against one another, paranoia and mistrust.

The most significant cost to this country is not the hospitalisation due to cannabis abuse, but the legal cost to New Zealanders, both those that are targetted by police raid squads, and to tax payers, which includes the cost of incarceration.

The NZ Police state that cannabis harm equates to $336 million per annum in this country. Even if that total was remotely close to the real cost (probably 10% of their guestimation in terms of health costs), what they are not saying is that the majority of the cost are their running costs to maintain a perpetual war that they will never win.

This dishonest approach by the police is also shown in the reverse concerning alcohol harm for which they have attempted to minimalise by falsely claiming in the same breath that the annual cost of harm caused by consumption of alcohol was $4.8 million per year thus leaving out their running costs and only including an extremely biassed cost from NZ Health.

A closer estimate in health cost alone is conservatively closer to $150 million per annum and add policing and incarceration, courts etc and direct social harm on to that and you are almost at the $2.5 billion mark.

Tobacco kills 4700 New Zealanders a year, alcohol kills about 1000 New Zealanders a year. Cannabis killed about 0 people last year.

The police say that cannabis leads to black market criminality....which should be listed as the dumbest statement since dumb statements were recorded. Prohibition of course is the greatest contributor to black marketeering (apologises for stating the obvious).

Cannabis is used regularly by 20% of New Zealanders and at least 50% have tried it at some stage.

Alcohol toxicity results in death.
Nicotine toxicity results in death.
Paracetamol toxicity results in death.
Cannabis (THC) toxicity results in red eyes and sleepiness.

See: NZ Ministry of Social Dev report, 2002, on a case for legalisation of cannabis.

Thanks for this. Marijuana

Thanks for this. Marijuana prohibition is wrongheaded on so many levels its difficult to know where to begin.

Its also disturbing how often mainstream media writes articles with either police or government officials as their only sources. As if this is a good place to go for unbiased 'facts'.

chomsky has a story about the

chomsky has a story about the status quo and the media which applies to this. somewhere in his writing he says he was speaking with a producer of 60 minutes who explained to him that it was far easier to do stories complicit to power as there was only a need to be balanced when reporting a story that challenges the status quo.

The affectionate term we use

The affectionate term we use for this technique is called Copaganda

Copaganda - Nice One Stu!

Last Fridays northern cannabis 'cleanup new zealand' by our boys in blue and the subsequent failure today of anyone to link the prison muster and criminal justice costs attributed somehow  to being brown beggars belief. (correlated, not caused by, although there is an undertow disguised by oversimplified 'social and economic factors' )

Will no one ask just how big were the "P" bags (all three of them)? Just how much cannabis was involved (and how much alcohol was overlooked).

Journalists too stupid Let alone ask - which part of what the Police is doing is ACTUALLY saving society anything. IF current cannabis policy was given the cost-benefit analysis it was promised (national drug policy formulation documents) Police would be ashamed of their track record.

It is utterly implausible that Police define medical 'health' parameters (lets just pretend that we are saving people from themselves by turning them into victims) by incarcerating their arses.

Prohibition masks what is broken... how convenient.

The Medical Evidence!

The beneficial medical evidence for Dr Mary Jane is out there if one cares to seek it out.

As for smoking cigarettes and all of this second hand smoke nonsense the evidence of the stupidity is also out there if one can see past the end of the nose through the oil companies corporate haze. It is the vehicle emissions that are the real root of the problem. For every little of fuel burnt 600 cubic litres of carcinogenic gas is pumped into the atmosphere, I wonder how many packets of cigarettes that is?

It is Alcohol that should be banned for the sheer carnage and leading our women astray, because if one is a man and dares to touch a women who has had a drink then just watch out, even if she initiates the matter.

The real problem here is the NWO agenda to which we are subjected to. NZ is not a free country, it is a corporate feeding trough.

Try reading 'Thirty Pieces of Silver by Anthony Molloy QC this man can outgun Ian Wishart who is also a Kiwi that we can all be proud of.

 

Correction it was the incense up my nose

For every little of fuel burnt 600 cubic litres. It should read for every litre of fuel burnt (petrol or diesel) 600 cubic litres of carcinogenic gas is pumped into the atmosphere.

 

Within 10 years from now a

Within 10 years from now a new generation of New Zealanders will be the mainstay in the halls of power. These will be those that were the rebel weed smokers of the 70's and onward who have been persecuted by the police for their private activities. The majority of the older fundamentalist generations that thought cannabis came from satan will have all gone to their graves with their thinking. The new generations to take the reigns in this country will have been so persecuted that they will not buy into any of the copaganda which tries to convince them that white is black.

So I predict that in 10 years time the police will no longer have popular support for their war against plant growers and consumers.

Hence the maxim: Cessante ratione legis, cessat ipsa lex - The reason for a law ceasing, the law itself ceases.

And they will be forced by the masses to change their ways.