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.
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A Timaru retailer of "legal highs" warns people will go "underground" if the Government bans the sale of cannabis substitutes.
Dizzy Spells owner Megan DeVries said synthetic cannabinoid substances were a popular choice with customers.
Since introducing the products to their shelves about a year ago, they have had to restock twice a week – sometimes even three times.
Some of the legal highs on offer were Kronic, which had just sold out, Dust, Rasta Ganja, Dream, Lazy J and Magic Dragon.
"They fly out the door," Ms DeVries said.
Widely known as "herbal smoking blends", they contain vegetable matter treated with synthetic cannabinomimetic substances. When smoked they give psychoactive effects similar to those from cannabis.
Dizzy Spells already had a ban in place for people under 18, so Ms DeVries welcomed the move by Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne, who this week accepted the recommendations of an expert advisory committee to limit the sales of legal highs.
OPINION: A friend in need's a friend indeed, a friend with weed is better.
They may be words of a Placebo song, but it seems they ring true for many online readers. Just about everyone (a small exaggeration), from dole bludgers to six-figure salary earners, use the substance. Some multiple times daily, while others use it only in the weekends.
Obviously some use it to escape reality, while for others it's just to wind down.
If the copy-cat version is legal than why not make the real thing legal and let the government tax it like they do cigarettes and alcohol? It's a question many (so-called) respectable, tax paying, honest, hard working dope smokers want answered.
The usual reaction from officials is because it's bad for your health, kills brain cells, makes you lethargic, causes mental illness and is very bad for adolescents.
Each of these reasons are debatable. According to most dope smokers, weed has very little effect on your health and any minor effect is nothing in comparison to alcohol and other legal drugs. Comments online point out that anyone who has a drink of alcohol at night and condemns dope smokers is a hypocrite. After all, people use alcohol in much the same way. It's a proven killer and has numerous negative health effects.
Weed, pot, dope or whatever else you want to call it merely amplifies your senses and changes your perception, they say. It makes music sound incredible, makes you laugh, warps time, makes food taste amazing and changes your entire process of thinking. All positive effects most argue.
There are plenty of reasons to legalise cannabis, users say. The usual arguments are that it would stop hard working people from being criminals, it's a great pain reliever, the government would make more money and it would eliminate the illegal drug trade.
All four arguments are most probably true, but that doesn't necessarily mean the government should grant the wishes of the stoners. So I'll leave you with my favourite online comment and let you decide which side of the fence you want to sit on.
"Cannabis users such a farce, trying to blow smoke up our arse, roll it, smoke it, it's such fun, nevermind scores of brain dead young. New synthetic high for you, see the world in dopey hue, still we all are somewhat sinners, but dopeheads hardly ever winners."
So what side of the fence are you on?
- Taranaki Daily News
AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd will not have to worry about problems touring overseas after having his cannabis conviction discharged today.
Rudd, 56, pleaded guilty in Tauranga District Court in December to a charge of possession of marijuana. He was fined $250.
But Judge Alayne Wills agreed with Rudd's lawyer Craig Tuck that the consequences of a conviction were too great, the Bay of Plenty Times reported.
MP aghast at synthetic drug sales
National MP Jonathan Young wants New Plymouth dairies to stop selling synthetic cannabis.
"This is an alarming situation which puts so much at risk and I call upon these dairy owners selling these drug surrogates to act more responsibly towards the communities they serve by withdrawing these products from sale," Mr Young said.
The Taranaki Daily News revealed last week the legal dope was being sold in dairies around the city.
Mr Young said he never thought he would see the day when synthetic drugs "intended to create hallucinogenic experiences" would be sold in local dairies.
OPINION: Illegal drugs make gangs bigger, richer and stronger, and overseas evidence shows that increasing law enforcement only inflates the situation, argues STEPHEN McINTYRE. He says drug prohibition is at the root of the problem, and drugs should be regulated instead.
Police claims they have "smashed" attempts by Australian motorcycle gang the Rebels to set up shop and trade methamphetamine in New Zealand invoke memories of George W Bush years ago announcing "mission accomplished" in Iraq.
The war on drugs - like the Iraq conflict - continues to drag on, seemingly into perpetuity.
New Zealand police admit that, at best, they only ever intercept between 10 and 20 per cent of all drugs trafficked in the country, so this latest round of busts won't change a thing.
Speaking on Radio New Zealand several weeks ago, Canterbury University gang researcher Jarrod Gilbert said there was probably little authorities could now do to stop the Rebels group expanding here.
Gangs that gain power through violence and drug trafficking love prohibition because it's good for business and helps make them powerful.
Pragmatically, the fastest way to reduce a gang's ability to do this is by ending the laws that allow it to happen.
When Tim O'brien played at the Glenroy a few weeks back we made contact with him and he invited us to come listen in on the soundcheck.
Adam knew him from a few years back when they smoked a joint in the parking lot outside one of his shows in Texas, so he played us a special tune dedicated to all the New Zealand cannabis law reform supporters.
For those of you that didn't hear/see, when De La Soul was in town recently, we had the opportunity to show the boys some local hospitality backstage
A man has been charged after police busted his cannabis-growing operation at his suburban Wellington home.
Constable Jana Peterson, of the Wellington Police Crime Control Unit, said officers found 16 cannabis plants, ranging in height from 1.5 m to 1.8m tall, at a Broadmeadows home.
Police also seized two boxes of cannabis cuttings at the address.
A former schoolboy rugby star who represented New Zealand has been sentenced to eight months' home detention on drugs charges.
Six years ago New Plymouth Boys' High School 1st XV captain Zarhn Commerer, of Eltham, was chasing dreams of being an All Black.
But yesterday in the Hawera District Court the 23-year-old admitted two charges of cultivation and one of possession of cannabis for supply.
Now he will not be able to leave his mother's house for eight months.
Commerer was awarded the Bronze Boot trophy for being the most outstanding player in a New Zealand secondary school test match against Australia in 2005 and was touted as a future All Black.
Crown prosecutor Andrew Britton said that last October police had found sophisticated growing operations at the homes of Commerer and his father.
He said police discovered at the two addresses 12 potted cannabis plants worth between $36000 and $72,000, 17 potted cannabis "clones", 350 grams of dried cannabis and sizeable quantities of cash.