Julian Crawford: Total legalisation of cannabis would be benifical to New Zealand

In New Zealand, one person is arrested every 25 minutes for Cannabis possession, dealing, or holding. According to Julian Crawford and his Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, this just isn’t good for the country.

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Crawford and his party want total legalisation of cannabis in New Zealand, allowing people to use the drug for recreational, spiritual, medicinal, and industrial purposes. They propose home growing also, which would see people being able to grow cannabis in their own home and not be criminalised for it.

Julian Crawford said “we want the legalise cannabis issue on the political agenda”.

According to Crawford, an ounce of cannabis (28g) can cost anywhere between $300 and $500. For smaller amounts, $20 is the price for a single gram. The average purchase, which is said to last the user anywhere between four days to a week, costs $50 for 3 grams.

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The party is also keen on bringing in Cannabis Cafes, where people would be able to go in and smoke or purchase cannabis much like at a restaurant.

“There would be dispensaries where you would be able to buy cannabis and sit down with other people to socialize and consume that cannabis. We are going to have look at what smoke free regulations are in terms of having some outside areas. We will also look at using vaporizers as a safer form of using cannabis.”

Licenses would be issued to Cannabis Cafes through an application to the government.

Crawford also wants to see cannabis legalised for medicinal purposes.

“It is a high priority that cannabis gets legalised for medicinal purposes especially, people who need it urgently with conditions like epilepsy, and we have seen a large reduction in seizures.”

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party states that the revenue to the New Zealand Economy through legalising cannabis would be at around the $1billion mark, but only a quarter of that would come from recreational use, and another quarter would come from freeing up the money currently spent on forcing prohibition.

A big focus in the policy that the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party has put forward is that under their control, young children and anybody under the age of 18 could not use cannabis by law.

But how is this regulated and controlled?

With home growing being legal under their policy, it would be a push to assume that children in the house wouldn’t either have access to cannabis, or be given it by other people. Crawford argues that the situation is no different than alcohol, where parents would have to be responsible and not expose their young to cannabis.

“We can’t know for certain but we would still make it an offense for an adult to supply cannabis to a child.”

Under the current law, many are already growing cannabis illegally in New Zealand, and young people are already using.

Some could see Julian Crawford and his party as potentially making a growing problem worse rather than rectifying it.

Despite the lack of attention that the party receives from the major oppositions in parliament, Crawford and his Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party remain committed to lobbying government. In their minds, legalising cannabis could change New Zealand for the better, but some of their policies particularly around the claims that cannabis would not be accessible to young children need to be seriously looked at.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party is aware of the risks its policies have, but feels the upside of cannabis being legal in New Zealand is fruitful, not only for users, but for everyone.

John Key comes out defiant over NSA claims

Prime Minister Key has once again heavily denied speculation that New Zealanders are under mass surveillance, but Edward Snowden’s claims haven’t helped National’s image as the election draws nearer.

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John Key came out fighting in the media this morning, saying the claims that Kiwi’s living in New Zealand are under mass surveillance are purely “rhetoric”, and talk of NSA bases in New Zealand was strongly and actively denied by our countries Prime Minister.

According to Key, neither Edward Snowden nor Glenn Greenwald have offered any evidence to their claims.

According to the National Party, the controversial GCSB does not allow for mass surveillance in New Zealand, but Key has already said that there are databases in New Zealand that intelligence agencies have access to. The government say that information can only be accessed if there is a “person of interest”, like rebel fighters or criminals carrying out activity on these shores.

Over 50% of the nation who voted on the NZ Herald website today said they didn’t believe that they were under mass surveillance.

Kim Dotcom has already called John Key a liar, the Labour Leader and main opposition to the Prime Minister says there is evidence of this in an email.

Unfortunately for Key, many people are already saying they don’t believe his claims over either Dotcom or any of his statements surrounding the GCSB that go back over a year now.

Another thing to keep in mind is that despite what Key has said today, and despite what Snowden is claiming, in 2014 we live in an age of terrorism and increasing criminal activity which is being fed on an ever increasing platform through online means.

If there are NSA bases in New Zealand and surveillance is indeed taking place, can it be argued that it is simply only for the protection for everybody? Probably not, and that is a topic for another day, but Key’s claims are certainly hard to believe for a lot of reasons.

This has been a blunder filled campaign for Key and his national party, and it isn’t getting better.

Reaction: Cunliffe impressive in first Leaders Debate

The first leaders debate of 2014’s New Zealand Election is over, and no doubt the opinion of the nation will differ greatly as both John Key and David Cunliffe put in strong performances.

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For the most part, Cunliffe’s answers were to the point and didn’t have the rambling beat around the bush statements that Key’s did on occasion. But the logic to the current Prime Ministers answers were powerful. John Key made his answers, particularly surrounding foreign investment, simple and logical for anybody to understand, and he will have many thinking that the National leader won tonights debate. 

John Key believes that the NZ Economy cannot grow without foreign capital investment. Can we really deny that? 

David Cunliffe believes that not sacking justice minister Judith Collins in the wake of Dirty Politics shows willful blindness from John Key. Can that be denied? 

Those two talking points were impacting, and credited and discredited both party leaders in tonights debate.

Key claiming that foreign investment will grow the NZ economy is logical, but Cunliffe has a point when he says that Judith Collins should have been sacked well before now, and was strong to bang home the point that had this Dirty Politics drama occurred under his Labour led government, Collins would have been gone. 

When asked if New Zealanders would receive a tax cut under National should John Key remain Prime Minister, the answer from our leader was “I hope so”. 

Such a weak answer to a simple question, and it reflected in a performance for Key that seemed quite rattled. However, given the state of the economy, you can’t entirely blame Key for not having enough numbers and statistics to give a definitive answer regarding tax. 

The NZ Prime Minister was quick to play down talk that political firestorm Dirty Politics, a recently released book written by Nicky Hager, has had any major impact on Nationals campaign. 

Currently, Stuff from Fairfax Media have kiwis voting for John Key over David Cunliffe as their preferred leader following tonights debate. However, the NZ Herald from APN have David Cunliffe as the majority winner in the votes.

Cunliffe put in a great performance tonight and as the voting continues, so do his numbers. 

In closing, both John Key and David Cunliffe both did their homework for tonight, and taking the day off instead of spending the day campaigning may have helped Cunliffe to be more composed.

But nobody can deny, despite the poor results in the polling, tonight may indeed be a turning point for David Cunliffe and the Labour party as their leader was calm and composed throughout, as apposed to the longer and more confusing answers that John Key brought to the table minus his logic surrounding foreign investment.