Figures released by Treasury prove the economic viability of The Cannabis Party's policy, while destroying the credibility of police claims about cannabis harms.
The Treasury memo, released to lawyer Sue Grey under the OIA, shows that legalisation of cannabis would save the taxpayer $400m and would earn $150m in taxes annually. A total revenue of $550m.
The memo undermines the credibility of the police's drug harm index, which tries to justify prohibition by focusing on cannabis related harm to society. However, these Treasury figures prove that law enforcement is actually responsible for the vast bulk of this harm to society.
The government could generate $150 million annually by taxing cannabis, rather than spending $400m a year enforcing drug prohibition, a Treasury note says.
An Official Information Act request by Nelson lawyer Sue Grey turned up the Drug Classification note, part of an internal Treasury forum from 2013.
The previously unreleased document said studies showed alcohol and tobacco caused far more harm than cannabis; that there was no evidence it was a gateway drug, and that Māori "take the brunt of current policies" - making up 14.5 percent of the population, but receiving 43 percent of cannabis convictions.
In the latest news in the war against cannabis in New Zealand, it has been revealed the National Drug Intelligence Bureau (NDIB), a police-led agency, refused to pull a report which claimed cannabis is the “cornerstone” of drug harm in this country.
The 111 page report titled New Cannabis: The Cornerstone of Illicit Drug Harm in New Zealand, produced by analyst Les Maxwell in 2007, claims cannabis costs the country more than $30 million annually and results in more than 2,000 hospital admissions a year.
Steve Dawson, an Auckland sociologist, refused to buy the claims in the report and decided to delve deeper.
The Cannabis Party is appalled that Grey Power's national federation president is attempting to censor it's membership and override their wishes, regarding medical cannabis.
Grey Power president Tom O'Connor said he would never let his organisation be "taken over by this crap" regardless of the wishes of its members.
Mr O'Connor made unsolicited, angry phone calls to cannabis law reform organisations on Wednesday threatening to "go to war with you lot of degenerate cannabis people".
Northland MP Winston Peters has agreed to accept a petition by a Grey Power chapter to legalise cannabis.
Mr Peters spoke to Radio NZ about Otamatea Grey Power's enthusiasm for being able to have a few pot plants in their back yards.
Beverley Aldridge started the petition along with a bunch of retirees from Northland who've never taken illegal drugs in their lives.
Californians are set to decide whether to make recreational marijuana use legal.
The proposed so-called "Adult Use of Marijuana Act," which is supported by Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom among others, would allow people aged 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce of marijuana for private recreational use and permit personal cultivation of as many as six marijuana plants.
"Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself," initiative spokesman Jason Kinney said in a statement.
A petition supporting access to cannabis oil for Helen Kelly, has been knocked back by a Parliamentary committee.
Over 4000 people signed an online petition calling for Ms Kelly to be allowed to use cannabis oil to help control the pain and nausea her disease is causing her.
However Parliament's Health Select Committee said the Government doesn't support the use of unprocessed cannabis for medicinal purposes because the dose and potency can't be controlled, and also because of the risk of contaminants.
One year to the day since the death of her 19-year-old son Alex, Nelson woman Rose Renton's fight for medicinal cannabis law reform continued with a protest held outside the offices of Nelson MP Nick Smith on Waimea Road this afternoon.
More than 30 supporters joined Renton on the hour long vigil, as well as messages received from other advocates around the country.
A steady stream of toots from passing vehicles also added their support.
The Labour, Greens and Government parties have turned their back on the the plight of medical cannabis users.
Cancer patient Helen Kelly called for a Citizen's Initiated Referendum after Labour's Damian O'Connor abandoned his plans to introduce a cannabis referendum with a private members Bill.
Damian O'Connor MP told The Cannabis Party that he had no intention of introducing the Medical Marijuana Referendum Bill after he replaced it with legislation that was more acceptable to Pharmaceutical lobbists.
Key public figures are set to assemble at the Auckland Town Hall next week to host a public discussion on the impacts of cannabis laws in NZ communities.
The launch of the "Let's Start The Conversation" campaign – a national vehicle to create informed community discussion and debate around the impacts of current cannabis laws – kicks off on Monday, June 27th with a Town Hall Assembly in Auckland officially endorsed by Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and the New Zealand Criminal Bar Association .
Chaired by Russell Brown and featuring Helen Kelly, Professor Max Abbott (AUT), Warren Young (New Zealand Law Commission, Ret.), Dr. Chris Wilkins (Massey SHORE) and others, the event follows on from the Great Marijuana Debate chaired by the late Sir Peter Williams on 26th Oct 1984.
New Zealand feature documentary Druglawed has won best feature the New York Cannabus Culture Film Festival.
Director Arik Reiss said it was the first time the documentary had been screened in the US.
"It is awesome to win this festival and get some recognition for the hard work that went into producing Druglawed," he said.
The popularity of the first films has inspired Reiss to produce a sequel to Druglawed.
In 2011, the Government and the Green Party promised a law that would encourage the use of Natural Health Products alongside conventional medicine as a precursor to an integrated, science-based approach to health.
Instead the law has emerged from the corridors of power as a draconian and restrictive approach which is very different from the integrative approach to medicine which is beginning to flourish overseas.
A significant number of herbs will be restricted without just cause. Very common kitchen foods and well known folk remedies are already on the list to be restricted in various ways by Medsafe.
UN Secretary General nominee Helen Clark has confronted Peter Dunne at the recent UNGASS meeting, regarding New Zealand's lack of progress on decriminalising cannabis.
A New Zealand representative at the global drug policy conference told The Cannabis Party that Helen Clark approached the New Zealand delegation and asked Peter Dunne what he was doing to progress the decriminalisation of cannabis.
Dunne was reportedly lost for words as he was not making any progress towards cannabis decriminalisation.
The minister responsible for medical cannabis, Peter Dunne, has been challenged by patients after claiming strong expert support for existing medical cannabis regulations.
The doctors surveyed were "hand selected" and have "little experience with medical cannabis", according to patient Rebecca Reider.
"The Ministry failed to consult the many patients who the system has failed, those who are using cannabis unlawfully as an effective pain relief, those who have used it legally overseas, those who suffer in pain though fear of breaking the law, or doctors who understand the benefits cannabis offers," she said.
Winston Peters has spoken out in support of the rights of tobacco smokers, linking his argument to the issue of legalising cannabis:
We all know smoking might not be good for your health, but the government hiking tobacco taxes in their 2016 "Get-Stuffed" Budget is just a lot of fat people sitting in their ivory towers telling smokers what to do.
You would view their action in a more sympathetic light if they showed any consistency – for example dealing with the negative impacts of obesity and the abuse of alcohol on people’s health and coming up with policies.
The government's so-called review of the medicinal cannabis access guidelines has failed to protect patients.
"These very minor changes will only help a few people, and even these seriously ill people will need to jump through quite a few hoops to have any chance of approval," said Chris Fowlie, spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML New Zealand Inc).
The current guidelines were shown to be cruel and unnecessarily tough after terminally-ill cancer patient Helen Kelly failed to qualify for the special exemption required under the current law. "However, the guidelines have barely been touched."
Helen Kelly has called for a Citizen's Initiated Referendum (CIR) on cannabis laws after Labour rejected her bid for a Parliamentary created referendum.
Helen Kelly helped Labour draft a legislation to create the referendum but Little later denied his party was even working on such a plan.
Out of desperation, Kelly has by-passed Labour and taken to Twitter to promote a cannabis CIR.
Andrew Little appears to be the one with brain damage given his outdated rhetoric on cannabis, according to the Cannabis Party.
"Conjuring up tired Nixonian drug war era propaganda and seemingly justifying unfair workplace drug testing policies makes Labour look dopey," Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford said.
"At the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy conference in Auckland last week, international experts agreed that the only way to minimise harms from youth use of cannabis is to end prohibition by decriminalising and regulating it."
The Cannabis Party are defending Wicked Camper's right to freedom of speech, relating to cannabis references, following an "offensive ruling" by the chief censor.
The censor's ruling has been labeled as an offensive publication by the Cannabis Party leader Julian Crawford, who has referred the ruling to the censor.
The censor banned images on vans depicting cartoon characters Scooby Doo and Dr Seuss with cannabis references.
The offensive slogans are "someone pass Shaggy the baggie so he can roll Scooby a doobie" and "I did a bong I did, I did a bong! A bong I did".
Evidence has been produced by the Cannabis Party to verify its claims about Labour's two question referendum on cannabis.
Photographs of legislation written by the Clerk of Parliament on behalf of Labour MP Damien O'Connor, back up the Cannabis Party's claims.
The Cannabis Party was forced to release evidence of the legislation after a misinformed Labour spokesperson said the referendum's existence was "absolute rubbish" and "nonsense".