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Ed

Kiwi battler turns around life of addiction and abuse thanks to newfound love for running

TVNZ One News 25 September 2020
Our additional comment: Unfortunately for Chris, he made all the wrong choices as a result of a difficult upbringing. “I was 16, got top of the form at Wellington Boys College, started smoking cannabis heavily and I went from the very top of the year to the next year I got very last,” he said.

Let’s not make bad choices even easier. Vote NO.

For more than two decades, Chris O’Riley was trapped in a web of addiction and abuse.

Unfortunately for Chris, he made all the wrong choices as a result of a difficult upbringing.

“I was 16, got top of the form at Wellington Boys College, started smoking cannabis heavily and I went from the very top of the year to the next year I got very last,” he said.

Chris’ fall wasn’t because of a lack of love though – his mum Barbara was always there for him.

“Mum had the biggest heart, and the most caring person I’ve ever met,” he said.

“And I grew up like that too – she passed it onto me. I used to think it was a burden, caring so much, but it’s a gift, I just had to learn how to handle it.”

But beyond caring, his mum had her own demons; alcohol addiction and schizoaffective disorder.

It soon became a battle Chris would experience himself with his addictions eventually leading to a 14-month stay at a rehabilitation clinic last year however he’d barely been there a fortnight when tragedy struck.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/sport/other/kiwi-battler-turns-around-life-addiction-and-abuse-thanks-newfound-love-running

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A Warning on the Failure to take Cannabis Use Seriously

College of Psychiatrists of Ireland 24 January 2019
Family First Comment: Cannabis is the main drug responsible for patients being seen within the child and adolescent addiction service, accounting for 80% of all cases. “Modern weed is grown in such a way as to maximise the THC concentration and as a consequence it seems to minimise the amount of CBD in it, so the chemical make-up is completely different to what was around 10 to 15 years ago,” Dr Smyth maintained.

More than 40,000 Irish people are addicted to cannabis in Ireland yet societal attitudes towards the drug are softening.  Around a decade ago, cannabis would have been the main drug in just 30 per cent of presentations, according to Dr Bobby Smyth, a child and adolescent psychiatrist specialising in addiction in Dublin.

Cannabis is the main drug responsible for patients being seen within the child and adolescent addiction service, accounting for 80 per cent of all cases.

Between 2006 and 2009 cannabis referrals related to hash and tended to cause “low level concerns”. “Objectively, their lives weren’t massively affected by their drug use,” Dr Smyth told the Medical Independent. But this began to change over subsequent years as the chemical make-up of the drug altered to become more addictive and harmful.

“We began meeting young people whose lives were consumed by the use of cannabis. It moved from hash to what would generally be known as weed; ‘herbal cannabis’ would be the medical term,” Dr Smyth related. “They were reporting quantities of use and a pervasiveness of use that seemed completely different to previously.”

The departure of hash and the arrival of weed has meant “we are dealing with a completely different drug”, Dr Smyth said. The chemical constituents of hash and weed are broadly similar, but the two key cannabinoids that doctors pay attention to are known as THC and CBD, Dr Smyth explained.

THC is the cannabinoid that causes the negative intoxication, addictive and paranoid effects, while CBD can potentially offer medicinal value for people with epilepsy, for example.
READ MORE: https://www.irishpsychiatry.ie/blog/a-warning-on-the-failure-to-take-cannabis-use-seriously/

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1 NEWS Colmar Brunton Poll: Support for cannabis legalisation dropping

TVNZ One News 26 September 2020
Our additional comment: Only 35% said they supported the bill, a drop from 40% at June’s poll, 39% in February’s poll and 43% in November, 2019’s poll. The amount of people who did not support the bill has risen to 53% – up from 49% in June and 51% in February.

Only 35% said they supported the bill, a drop from 40% at June’s poll, 39% in February’s poll and 43% in November, 2019’s poll.

The amount of people who did not support the bill has risen to 53% – up from 49% in June and 51% in February.

Eleven per cent either did not know or refused to answer.

The groups of people who were more likely than average to support the Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill were Green and Labour Party supporters, people aged 18-29 and Māori.

Those who were more likely not to support the bill were people aged 50 and over and National Party supporters.
READ MORE: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/1-news-colmar-brunton-poll-support-cannabis-legalisation-dropping-end-life-choice-remains-steady-v1

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New Zealand divided over historic marijuana vote

Reuters 25 September 2020
Our additional comment: And the world is watching our referendum…
“The black market will remain, and a new legal market of 400 stores appearing around the country, and then a whole lot of people growing cannabis plants in their backyard. It’s hard to believe in that scenario that cannabis use will be reduced,” said Aaron Ironside, spokesman for the Say Nope to Dope campaign.

A referendum next month on legalising recreational cannabis has divided opinion in New Zealand with ruling party politicians staying clear of the contentious issue ahead of a general election they are likely to win.

If passed, New Zealand would be only the third country in the world after Uruguay and Canada to legalise the adult use and sale of cannabis, and the first in the Asia Pacific. The referendum will be held along with the Oct. 17 general election in which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is seeking a second term.

Ardern is a strong favourite to win the election but opinion is sharply divided on the referendum – 49.5% of respondents in a nationwide Horizon Research survey earlier this month said they were in favour of legalising cannabis while 49.5% were against, and 1% gave no response.

Campaigners against legalising marijuana, which include some faith based institutions, refute these claims.

“The black market will remain, and a new legal market of 400 stores appearing around the country, and then a whole lot of people growing cannabis plants in their backyard. It’s hard to believe in that scenario that cannabis use will be reduced,” said Aaron Ironside, spokesman for the Say Nope to Dope campaign.
READ MORE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-newzealand-election-cannabis-idUSKCN26G176

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Reefer-endum? NZ’s marijuana vote and how it could affect Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald 27 September 2020
Our additional comment[SayNopeToDope] opposed the legalisation because it did not protect young people who were particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by the drug.  “It doesn’t stop them [young people] from buying on the black market – therefore the law doesn’t accomplish its goal,” he said.

New Zealand’s looming referendum on legalising cannabis could have a significant impact on drug law reform in Australia, according to Harm Reduction Australia, and could even trigger marijuana tourism when borders between the two countries reopen.

Medical marijuana is legal in Australia and New Zealand and pot was decriminalised in the ACT under strict conditions on January 31. But legalising the growing, sale and consumption of the drug for recreational use in NZ would represent a significant expansion of the drug’s availability.

Gino Vumbaca, the president of Harm Reduction Australia – which advocates for drug law reforms – said his organisation was watching the events closely and was in regular contact with their counterparts at the NZ Drug Foundation.

Aaron Ironside, the spokesman for the Say Nope to Dope campaign, said his organisation supported medical marijuana and recent legal changes to the Misuse of Drugs Act. It instructed police to focus on people who sold and distributed the drug, rather than casual users.

The organisation opposed the legalisation because it did not protect young people who were particularly vulnerable to the health risks posed by the drug.

“It doesn’t stop them [young people] from buying on the black market – therefore the law doesn’t accomplish its goal,” he said.

That’s because, Ironside said, the proposed tight regulations on the profit a grower or seller could make from a $20-gram of the drug – and harm minimisation tax that would be imposed – mean it would still be more profitable to sell it on the black market.

“14 grams a day is a lot. It’s like saying we are going to control alcohol consumption by limiting people to three bottles of vodka per day.”

Ironside was cautious about predicting the referendum outcome saying “the indications are the message is out there and getting through, and we hope New Zealanders make the right decision”.
READ MORE: https://www.smh.com.au/world/oceania/reefer-endum-nz-s-marijuana-vote-and-australia-20200925-p55z6v.html

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YES or NO to cannabis?

TP Plus 26 September 2020
Our addditional comment: “Say Nope to Dope campaign are working hard to try and convince the public to vote no. Tuitasi’s views are informed by his 25 years in the police force, where he’s seen first hand the devastating effects of cannabis on young people. “I worked with young gangsters, the Bloods and the Crips at the time, and I noticed what the impact of cannabis had on their lives, and when parents brought their kids to me saying, ‘Oh you know, he steal from the grandmother,’ the first thing I’d find out was that they had an addiction.”

Former police officer Nick Tuitasi, now working for Family First New Zealand, is a strong advocate against the bill and believes Pasifika people are not informed enough about what they’re voting for.

“Our families are struggling. We have two families living in a three-bedroom state house, those trying to put food on the table… They’re going, ‘Really? I’m just trying to keep my head above water. I don’t have time to think about those things,’” says Tuitasi.

Family First and the Say Nope to Dope campaign are working hard to try and convince the public to vote no. Tuitasi’s views are informed by his 25 years in the police force, where he’s seen first hand the devastating effects of cannabis on young people.

“I worked with young gangsters, the Bloods and the Crips at the time, and I noticed what the impact of cannabis had on their lives, and when parents brought their kids to me saying, ‘Oh you know, he steal from the grandmother,’ the first thing I’d find out was that they had an addiction.”
WATCH & READ MORE: https://tpplus.co.nz/news-politics/yes-or-no-to-cannabis/

Kate Hawkesby: Listen to the professionals on the harms of cannabis legalisation

NewsTalk ZB 25 September 2020
Our additional comment: “I’m in the no camp because of all the mental health professionals I’ve spoken to who work at the coal face. The ones who have no agenda around cannabis other than trying to help clean up the harm it’s done to young people’s brains, and by young people I mean under 25’s. Remember the legal age limit here will be 20. The psychiatrists and psychologists I’ve spoken to despair at the misinformation being peddled, the confusion that this is somehow a vote on medicinal – it isn’t. Or that it somehow will keep people out of prison – it won’t.”

23 days until we vote on cannabis.

You’ll know if you’re a regular listener to this show that I’m of the vote no brigade.

No, I’m not on a moral crusade, although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with moral crusades.

I’m in the no camp because of all the mental health professionals I’ve spoken to who work at the coal face. The ones who have no agenda around cannabis other than trying to help clean up the harm it’s done to young people’s brains, and by young people I mean under 25’s. Remember the legal age limit here will be 20.

The psychiatrists and psychologists I’ve spoken to despair at the misinformation being peddled, the confusion that this is somehow a vote on medicinal – it isn’t. Or that it somehow will keep people out of prison – it won’t.

It won’t have anything to do with prosecutions and convictions because most of the very small number of people jailed for cannabis are either dealers, manufacturers, or have a string of other more serious convictions to go with it. You don’t get locked up for smoking a joint.

But the health professionals I’ve spoken to say all the arguments for legalisation do not balance out, on the scale of what it practically will cost the healthcare system and the stress it’ll cause our mental health sector. A sector that is of course already stressed.

The other thing they tell me is that despite people’s best hopes, it is a gateway drug. Many of their patients are people who were just looking for bigger highs. Many of the patients they deal with say they wish they’d never touched the stuff.

So it’s not the legalising that’s problematic, it’s the normalising. That drugs are OK, that cannabis is not harmful, that as long as you smoke it legally and buy it from a government approved weed store, you’re all good.

What a message to send to young people, and I do note a lot of the pro campaigners happen to be people without children, who’ve never attempted to raise a young person.

So we want to be smokefree by 2025, but we’re happy to have people smoke weed?
READ MORE: https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/early-edition/opinion/kate-hawkesby-listen-to-the-professionals-on-the-harms-of-cannabis-legalisation/

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Aurora Cannabis lost more than C$3 billion and the stock is falling (Canada)

MarketWatch 22 September 2020
Our additional comment: Not such a profitable business as they try to pretend – because the black market doesn’t go away…
“One of the biggest problems for Aurora had been its focus on premium cannabis that costs more to consumers, a strategy that fell apart as Canadian consumers sought the cheapest buzz for the buck. Aurora has pivoted to selling cheaper pot, but that has hit its margins and revenue totals.”

Aurora Cannabis Inc. lost more than C$3.3 billion, about $2.5 billion, in its recently completed fiscal year, and predicted softer sales than expected at the outset of its new year Tuesday, sending shares down roughly 10% in after-hours trading.

Aurora ACB, -2.88% ACB, -1.88% reported fiscal fourth-quarter losses of C$1.86 billion on sales of C$72.1 million on Tuesday, a decline from a break-even quarter with sales of C$98.9 million in the same period a year ago. Aurora did not provide a per-share loss calculation. Analysts on average expected losses of 66 cents a share on sales of C$73.2 million, according to FactSet.

Shares dove 10% in after-hours trading immediately following release of the results, adding to the roller-coaster ride Aurora investors have experienced in the past year. Aurora’s stock shot up 15.8% in Tuesday’s regular session, after falling 45% since record gains in the wake of the company’s previous earnings report.

Part of the decline in recent months stemmed from Aurora’s admission earlier this month that it would take an impairment charge of roughly C$1.8 billion in this earnings report largely related to goodwill charges for previous acquisitions. In that same announcement, Aurora announced its third chief executive of 2020, Miguel Martin, who replaced interim CEO Michael Singer after Singer took over for the departed Terry Booth in February. The company also guided for fourth-quarter revenue of C$70 million to C$72 million.

One of the biggest problems for Aurora had been its focus on premium cannabis that costs more to consumers, a strategy that fell apart as Canadian consumers sought the cheapest buzz for the buck. Aurora has pivoted to selling cheaper pot, but that has hit its margins and revenue totals.

“Total volume of dried consumer cannabis sold increased by 36%, but was offset by a 30% decrease in the average net selling price per gram of consumer cannabis as the Company’s value segment brand, Daily Special, accounted for a greater percentage of consumer cannabis net revenue, at 62% of flower revenue compared to 35% in the prior quarter,” Aurora disclosed in Tuesday’s announcement.
READ MORE: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/aurora-cannabis-lost-more-than-c-3-billion-in-a-chaotic-year-and-the-stock-is-falling-11600808375

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Using weed during pregnancy linked to psychotic-like behaviors in children, study finds

CNN Health 23 September 2020
Our additional comment: NEW STUDY: Children whose mothers had used during pregnancy were more likely to have psychotic-like behaviours and more attention, social and sleep problems, as well as weaker cognitive abilities. If the woman continued to use after she discovered she was pregnant, the negative effects were more pronounced, the study found, and stayed after adjusting for confounding variables. Use of marijuana by pregnant women has been growing in the United States and other countries such as Canada in recent decades. 

If you’re one of the growing numbers of women who use weed while pregnant, think twice: A new study found it may increase psychotic-like behaviors in children.

The study, published Wednesday in JAMA Psychiatry, analyzed data on 11,489 children who were followed as part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, which says it’s the “largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States.” The children’s cognitive and behavior patterns were evaluated in middle childhood, around age 9.

Of those children, 655 were exposed to cannabis while in utero, according to statements from the mothers. Compared to the 10,834 children with no exposure, children whose mothers had used during pregnancy were more likely to have psychotic-like behaviors and more attention, social and sleep problems, as well as weaker cognitive abilities.

If the woman continued to use after she discovered she was pregnant, the negative effects were more pronounced, the study found, and stayed after adjusting for confounding variables.

“Use of cannabis despite knowledge of pregnancy might represent a preexisting and more severe form of cannabis use,” the authors wrote.

A growing problem
Use of marijuana by pregnant women has been growing in the United States and other countries such as Canada in recent decades. A 2019 analysis of over 450,000 pregnant American women ages 12 to 44 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found cannabis use more than doubled between 2002 and 2017.

The vast majority of marijuana use was during the first three months of pregnancy, the study found, and it was predominantly recreational rather than medical.

Yet the first trimester may be one of the most sensitive times for the developing brain of a fetus, when it’s most susceptible to damage. Not only does THC — the compound in marijuana that makes you high — enter the fetal brain from the mother’s bloodstream, but once there it can impact the baby’s developing brain.

Studies have found receptors for cannabis in the brains of animals as early as five and six weeks of gestational age.
READ MORE: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/23/health/weed-pregnancy-childhood-psychosis-trnd-wellness/index.html

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Passengers tried to take the wheel as Napier youth hit truck at more than 100kmh

NZ Herald 24 September 2020
Our additional comment: “An evidential blood test taken at the hospital did not detect any alcohol, but the blood did contain active cannabis ingredient tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Winson admitted he had used cannabis earlier and that he should not have been driving.”
Ya’ think?

A car driven by a cannabis-using youth was estimated to be doing more than 100kmh after it struck a parked truck on a main road in Napier.

The details of the crash in fine weather on the Sunday afternoon of February 16 this year unfolded as the now 20-year-old Brayden Thomas Winson, of Napier, appeared in Napier District Court today after admitting a charge of careless use of a motor vehicle.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh fined him $600, plus court costs of $130, and disqualified him from driving for six months.

Winson was aged 19 at the time and as a driver on a restricted licence was not entitled to have passengers, according to a police summary.

It said all three in the car had been smoking cannabis at an address before the incident, which included the car being driven along a footpath and hitting several fences, as passengers tried to take control of the vehicle.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12367661

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