04 September 2005

Advice for Rodney Hide - Legalise Cannabis

Dear Rodney

You are the best leader ACT has had or could ever have of your current crop of MPs. You actually do believe in ACT being the "liberal party", you believe in less government, less regulation and you believe not only in economic freedom, but personal freedom.

It is a shame that those who pull the strings behind ACT don't.

Rodney, even if you pull off winning Epsom - which I think you will - ACT will probably be left with just you and maybe Heather Roy. It is a mere shadow of what it once aspired to be.

So I propose you drop a bombshell, something that will change the base of ACT's support once and for all, it might frighten your Board, your funders and the party, but frankly what have you got to lose? ACT needs to be more than the party of Business Roundtable economics - sound though that is.

It needs to sell freedom.

You should state openly that you support the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal use by adults on their own property. It may not even be able to be ACT policy, but you should state this. Hand in hand with this is supporting the prescribing of cannabis based products for medical purposes.


Because there is nothing more fundamentally liberal, than asserting that adults own their own bodies, and have the right to ingest a substance on their own private property without the state criminalising them for it.

It would be a declaration of an end to the war on cannabis for adults. Supply to children would still be a crime, and rightfully so.

The Economist called for this two years ago - hardly a newspaper of the lunatic fringe.

You would be yanking from the Green Party one of its key platforms that attract new voters, dealing to the war on drugs. You would certainly frighten some of your supporters to National, but how many are left? It would differentiate National from ACT - Brash will deny that a National government would legalise cannabis.

More importantly, ACT could actually start to claim to be consistently a party of freedom and less government.

The war on drugs is failing, and you can challenge National, Labour and all of the other authoritarian parties on this issue - if they TRULY believe in the war on drugs, will they accept all of their family members who have tried pot being arrested and put in prison for smoking one joint at a party some time?

Most cannabis users use it occasionally, for a short time in their lives, and move on. Just like most alcohol users don't abuse it regularly.

Tell those who think it will see a jump in stoned driving or people being stoned at work, that such behaviour will still not be tolerated - people have freedom AND responsibility.

Just like drinking alcohol or any other activity.

Tell those who think it makes smoking dope cool for kids how it could possible get MOREso?

but most of all - ask every single candidate why an adult should go to prison for peacefully smoking this substance on their own property when no other person has been harmed?

This isn't about whether smoking dope is good for you or not - eating loads of butter isn't good for you either, neither is getting drunk every day - but the state doesn't put you in prison for doing it. It is about freedom.

Then, if you are brave. Support voluntary euthanasia, retention of the drinking age at 18 and maybe even say you support allowing gay couples to marry - even Labour wont do that.

Political correctness? Hardly.

I know you understand why this is philosophically and morally correct, and I know how hard it is for a good portion of ACT members to swallow.

Give it a try. What have you got to lose?


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