The time for change is now. At Otago NORML we're working hard to raise awareness of the issue of law reform on all levels. So check out our latest news items, articles, and press releases.
Feel free to register and contribute to the continued discussion surrounding cannabis law reform or suggest new ways to make our point on our forums.
Also check out Overgrown - The Otago NORML Radio Show - Fridays 21:00 NZST, 91FM Dunedin (Radio One)! - New Zealand's only Cannabis Law Reform radio show!
Been busted for cannabis? Visit our friends at Bush Lawyer
Slain man suspected drug dealer
Slain Helensville man Lee Ross McMurdo was a suspected drug dealer.
The body of the 32-year-old father of three was found at his property near the small, semi-rural settlement of Helensville, northwest of Auckland, last month. Police said he was violently killed.
Court staff confirmed that Lee McMurdo was facing charges of cultivation of cannabis and possession of cannabis for supply at the time of his death.
He had appeared in Waitakere District Court seven times between January and June 2011 but had not been convicted.
Inquiry head Detective Inspector Greg Cramer declined to comment on whether it was thought the killing was drug-related.
He said the Helensville community probably held the key to solving the "whodunit'' mystery, which was being worked on by 45 police staff.
There had been a "slow but steady'' public response since police launched an appeal for information on Friday. Mr Cramer reiterated the importance of people coming forward with information, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to them.
"I'm still convinced that there are people out there who know what happened that, for one reason or another, are not coming forward.
"Everything we get helps us to build a very comprehensive picture of who he was and his associations and his habitual behaviours and movements.''
Lee McMurdo's body was found in the back yard of the property on July 26, three days after he was last seen.
An LG flat-screen television and a black wallet, containing a cash card and a Video Ezy card with his name on it, were missing from the house.
Mr Cramer would not say whether police had received any new information about these items.
The dead man's parents, Bruce and Sue, last week made an emotional plea for information about what happened to their son.
"We'd just appreciate getting to the bottom of this. We're hoping someone from Helensville or any other area can give the police any assistance whatsoever to solve this crime for us,'' Bruce McMurdo said.
"It's absolutely devastating for our family.''
Lee McMurdo used to operate a business freighting flowers, which he had taken over from his father, but that failed earlier this year.
A new memo from the Department of Justice could threaten production of medical marijuana, even in states like California, where cultivation of marijuana for sale to people with medicinal licenses is legal. This seems to be a response to plans among marijuana growers, advocates, and even some city politicians, to create authorized commercial centers of cultivation.
Campaigner's Sentencing Political Injustice
Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 3:42 pm
Press Release: MildGreens
Press Release: MildGreens. For imediate release.
Politicians and Prohibitors may call Dakta Greens sentencing 'Justice' but health and justice policy activist Dakta Green is right, this is, indisputably political.
It should be obvious to all that there is no New Zealand Alcohol Party, or Tobacco Party of Aotearoa, nor is there likely to ever be on your next electoral ballot sheet a Party of Kronic. But there it is, every by-election, every general election, and many local body elections "ALCP", the monicker for the MMP inspired Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party.
On its merits ALCP polls more than Jim Anderton's Progressives, or Dunne's United Future... It does so without access to mainstream media, televised debates or material resources. Two of its former candidates have been elected, and re-elected to parliament.
What simply does not work is the system of severe penalties for producing, transhipping and selling substances deemed illegal.
During my first four years as a National MP I initiated four policy papers, three of which were ultimately embraced as party policy.
11 June, 2011
A top Government scientist says there is an "appalling" lack of information about synthetic cannabis products - but tests so far do not indicate serious mental or physical health risks.
Products such as Kronic which are available in dairies throughout New Zealand contain chemicals that closely mimic the effects of cannabis.
Tests by the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) have detected a dozen different active chemicals in Kronic, most of which are described by ESR forensic general manager Keith Bedford as experimental and poorly researched.
"But I think although there's an appalling lack of information on the risks and toxicity of these new substances, every indication seems to be that they are not a high or even medium level of risk - there's a low level of risk."
Dr Bedford said he backed the Government's moves to make "legal weed" products restricted substances instead of banning them outright.
He said a "moral panic" was fuelling attitudes to ban the products instead of restricting them.
A legislative amendment expected to be passed next year will clamp down on where the products can be sold and advertised and force distributors to state on packaging what substances they contain.
While banning is the traditional approach to drugs classed as dangerous, a regulatory "no-man's-land" exists around substances which do not clearly pose a "medium" level of risk, Dr Bedford said.
"I know that harm minimisation has got a mixed press in some cases, but there's a lot to be said for trying to manage and contain the situation rather than almost a knee-jerk reaction of banning without the evidence to back that up," Dr Bedford said.
Banning the products would also prove difficult for authorities faced with the myriad synthetic substances involved.
"You're trying to describe a group of chemicals which, in some cases, are quite different from each other and from THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.
Dr Bedford's comments follow a number of anecdotal reports that using Kronic can lead to long-lasting and heightened negative emotions and send heart rates soaring.
A Herald investigation showed that buying synthetic cannabis was as easy as buying an icecream for under-18s.
Otago researchers today told Prime Minister John Key that older teenagers aged between 18 and 21 years should get the same light-handed treatment many teenagers under 16 years get for possession of cannabis.
"The New Zealand youth justice system has evolved a system in which the majority of young people coming to attention are dealt with by diversion rather than prosecution," said Otago University researchers David Fergusson and Joseph Boden.
"There is a clear case for extending these provisions to older adolescents".
While there was increasing evidence of the damage the drug does to some users, a lot of teenagers using it a little were unlikely to be harmed.
The days are numbered for tourists wanting to legally puff on a joint in an Amsterdam cannabis café.
Conservative Holland MPs are pushing legislation that will control who can use the infamous shops that sell marijuana and products containing the drug, the Daily Mail reported.
By the end of this year, only Dutch residents will be able to enter the special cafés.
Customers will have to sign up to a yearly membership to the coffee shops and each shop will be limited to 1500 members.
The law is a bid to reduce the number of foreigners who visit the country solely to get a legal high – and abuse the privilege.
"This law will put an end to the nuisance and criminality associated with coffee shops and drugs trafficking," a statement from the Dutch health and justice ministries said.
But the move has been slammed as "tourism suicide" by opposition MPs and those in the hospitality industry.
A Tauranga man's attempt to make cannabis oil in a kitchen ended in an explosion which blew out two windows and in his arrest.
The 28-year-old local man suffered burns to his hands and face and was treated at Tauranga Hospital, Detective Alan Kingsbury, of Tauranga police, said.
He had been charged with attempting to produce cannabis oil and was due to appear in Tauranga District Court on Tuesday.
The Fire Service were called to the house about 8.30pm last night after the explosion and fire that spread to the walls and ceiling of the kitchen, Mr Kingsbury said.
It was lucky a mother and her three young children, who also lived at the property, were not hurt as many of the chemicals commonly used were extremely flammable, he said.
The explosion highlighted the dangers that came with producing illicit drugs, he said.