Sunday, 14 December 2014
A decade ago, a group in Christchurch looked into the issue of drug testing in the work place, and in particular looked at the unfairness of the pre-employment test. A better and more accurate test to prevent injuries would be using a breatha-lyser for alcohol. Not so long ago a more broad based form of drug testing was to take place for all suitable job applicants on WINZ benefits. Again the value of this practice versus the cost and benefits of the exercise see only the tester benefiting. Failing a drug test because you have cannabis or other drugs in your system does not make you a bad employee. Cannabis is a drug that is remains in low non-active levels in the blood system for weeks. This does not mean you are impaired or stoned. It may mean you went to a party last weekend and shared a joint or it may mean you are a regular cannabis user and see it valuable for treating your illness. This is why cannabis is a health issue not a criminal issue for many medical marijuana users in New Zealand. The media is particularly bad at reporting numbers as facts where as they may show nothing. A recent coroners report found that 40% of the quad bike accidents on farms were stoned. This is untrue and cannot be claimed. What the truth is and should be reported as such, that the Coroners report showed some cannabis was present in the system. There needs to be a scale to measure what levels are indicative of use within the past 1 or 2 hours. Last nights cone before bed is not the reason the quad bike caused a death. It may be the rider was not wearing any safety gear or protective helmet. In Canada it has been unlawful to drug test workers as it does not measure impairment and is deemed an abuse of your human rights. I think to claim to be pro-work party that Labour stands for the worker, a policy such as not looking at the decriminalisation of cannabis and it's subsequent law changes is a step in the wrong direction. If you are not moving forward it's maintaining the status quo which is going backward while others move forward. As a person looking at a cannabis charge I am not feeling like a criminal or even a harm doer. My use of cannabis is my choice. As an educated drug counsellor I can describe what safe cannabis use looks like in America where it is legal. I can see no evidence why New Zealand should not develop a legal cannabis industry. When the leader of the Opposition publicly states that the Labour party will not be relaxing any cannabis laws I feel ill. It seems to me there is a lack of compassion and understanding what the rest of the world is rediscovering about the medical uses of cannabis.To be so blunt takes away the hope the a growing number of parents are needing with exemptions to the current law which prevents the use of medical marijuana. Why not allow people to use cannabis. Why not allow sick children to use cannabis for epilepsy under medical guidance? What is the point of not allowing people to grow their own cannabis if it makes them feel they achieve a greater quality of health? I for one cannot understand the position Andrew Little and the Labour Party has taken. The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party and the Greens have a very big group of potential voters wanting better. We want to be patients not criminals , How can anyone not understand that?