Smoke & Mirrors: New Zealand Hurts Marijuana Reform

May 12th, 2000 at 2:29 pm by Mark
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     On Tuesday 9 May 2000, Marijuana reform took a knee in the groin from the New Zealand Parliament. In what the media has referred to as a “late session,” an additional tax was imposed in the form of a $1 NZ per pack increase in the cost of cigarettes.

     The public outcry is increasing daily. All I’ve heard on Talk Radio for the last three mornings were complaints about the issue. The few callers supporting the measure have had their arguments shot down quite intelligently by others. Some have protested the sheer cost of a pack of cigarettes, stating that pre-tax prices were nearly expensive enough to be unaffordable. It seems that a good number of non-smokers also protest, speaking vehemently about Government overspending and arguing that the NZ economy has continued to drop against the US dollar despite many other new taxes created in the last year; comparisons to newly imposed gasoline and road taxes were sideline topics.
     The paranoia and anger of other callers compares the current Labour government to that of George Orwell’s 1984. Their prophecies range from home grown tobacco and black market cigarettes to complete bans on public smoking and Gestapo-esque raids of pubs that allow it.

     Government claims the price increase is due to the burden on the Health Care system caused by smoking. That’s all fine and good, but using Marijuana is also smoking. And since this is an attack on Smoking, it nullifies any hope of Marijuana reform, doesn’t it?
     Some say “If marijuana is legalised, they’ll tax the Hell out of it and get their money for Health Care.” This avenue was already discussed. Statements made by MP’s and committees alike have agreed that increasing the street value of Marijuana to compensate will only increase the currently shocking amount of illegal sales by independent growers and dealers.
     And of course, repealing a law they’ve just passed would make them lose face in the sight of the public, wouldn’t it?

     Me? I’m sitting here enjoying a Dunhill and thinking… This brings the price of cigarettes to roughly the same price as a small bag of wonderfully aromatic Northland Marijuana…

     Can’t do it, tho… Damn allergies.


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