• Drilling For Truth discussion

  • Cannabis claims from Damien O'Connor MP (Waatea 5th Estate)

    from strypey on Mar 04, 2017 06:15 AM
    Kia ora
    A number of claims about cannabis legalization were made by Damien O'Connor MP on Waatea 5th Estate (15/06/2016)
    These can either be added to the existing claims, or if they are already present, the video to O'Connor's comments, or even better text or shorter video of similar comments of his elsewhere, could be used as the claim links if they don't have any:
    1) Legalizing cannabis would remove a large, easy-to-satisfy revenue source - the cannabis black market - from violent, completely uregulated, racketeering group 
    1) We might as well keeping letting unregulat, violent groups make easy money off cannabis, because if we legalized and taxed it, they'd find something else to make money off.
    "If we took away cannabis from the gangs they'd just move into some other area. I don't believe that just legalization removes the gang issue, and the potential for them to use a harmful substance that's illegal for trading purposes and making money. They'll come up with something new." - Damien O'Conner, NZ Labour Party MP for West Coast - Tasman
    2) If cannabis was legal, it could be taxed, providing revenue for public services.
    2a) This is an example of the "handbag economics", the idea that the government has to earn money before it can spend it, whereas government is actually the issuer of the money (a role it delegates to the Reverve Bank of NZ, which delegates it to private, commercial banks). If there isn't enough money to facilitate all the trade that's possible, economic symptoms include high rates of unemployment (labour wastage), product wastage (edible food put in skips behind supermarkets or redirected to charity via social enterprises like Kaibosh and FoodShare), business failures, bankruptcies, personal debt, and product. If these things are happen, governments should run a deficit, to issue more money into the economy, and should only run a budget surplus when it wants to shrink the money supply. What governments do instead, under the "Washington Consensus" model (also known by academics and activists as "neo-liberalism"), is overshrink the money supply to keep inflation lower than growth, to protect the savings and investments of the rich. Hangbag economics and austerity discourse is used as a cover story for why they do this.
    2b) "The big corporations, like the cigarette companies, will move in and take over control of it... But one of the realities of legalization and taxation is that you then simply shift cannabis into the big corporate world." - Damien O'Connor, NZ Labour Party MP for West Coast - Tasman
    3) Not only do the usage rates of cannabis tend to stay the same or even decrease after legalization or deciminalization of cannabis, so do use rates among other more dangerous drugs, including legal ones like alcohol and tobacco, and illegal ones like methamphetamine and cocaine.
    3) "...what has happened overseas is that the uptake has increased often, of marijuana, where its been legalized or decriminalized..." - Damien O'Conner, NZ Labour Party MP for West Coast - Tasman
    4) "...we haven't sorted out care for those people who are harmed by alcohol and tobacco properly, we haven't looked after them, so before we go adding another complication to our drug harm, let's sort out the one around alcohol for a start." - Damien O'Conner, NZ Labour Party MP for West Coast - Tasman
    4) This argument depends on two claims, one that legalization would result in increased use, and two, that increased use would result in more harm. Reported cannabis use could increase, as people feel less afraid of admitting they smoke, although the overseas evidence suggests that usage rates are more likely to drop (see 3). Even if there was an actual increase in the amount of cannabis used, this would only increase harm if people were over-using and abusing, which isn't prevented by prohibition anyway. More likely, based on overseas experience, people will move from more dangerous drugs like alcohol and tobacco, resulting in less harm.