Cannabis decriminalisation could happen through a citizen-initiated referendum, says reform advocate Helen Kelly.
At a public meeting at Auckland’s Town Hall last night on the effects of cannabis law Ms Kelly said she hoped a referendum could be pushed through by a dedicated team of volunteers.
About 60 people were at the launch of the ‘Let’s Start The Conversation’ campaign – which also featured AUT professor and cannabis legalisation advocate Max Abbott and Warren Young of the New Zealand Law Commission.
Ms Kelly – who has lung cancer – maintains cannabis is the best drug available to help ease her pain.
‘I think we could pull it off if we had the team to do the work’ the former trade unionist said of a referendum.
‘It’s my view we need 500 volunteers getting 800 signatures each [from members of the public]’.
(ed:..i’d stick my hand up as one of those volunteers..
but the main problem i see is people being unwilling to put their name to such a referendum…not wanting to ‘out’ themselves in some way..
..and i can also heed the arguments that this will be a large amount of effort..and will take a long time ……and as it would be non-binding…for what..?.
..and a referendum could even be welcomed by the powers-that-be as another excuse to do nothing for the forseeable future..’we’re waiting for the referendum-result’…..
..so taking all of that into account – i would counsel against a referendum..and would instead urge that all possible pressure be put on political parties/politicians between now and the next election to ensure that when the government changes – the law will change..
..i feel this focus on the actual people who will make that change would be much better use of that reformist energy..)
Switzerland is voting on a radical proposal to provide the entire population with enough money to live on.
Voters are being asked on Sunday whether they want all Swiss citizens – along with foreigners who have been resident in Switzerland for at least five years – to receive an unconditional basic income or UBI.
Supporters say providing such an income would help fight poverty and inequality in a world where good jobs with steady salaries are becoming harder to find.
The Swiss government and nearly all the country’s political parties have urged voters to reject the initiative – advice which 71% are inclined to follow – according to the latest poll.
Critics have called the initiative ‘a Marxist dream’ warning of sky-high costs and people quitting their jobs in droves – to the detriment of the economy.
‘If you pay people to do nothing – they will do nothing’ said Charles Wyplosz – economics professor at the Geneva Graduate Institute.
Ralph Kundig – one of the lead campaigners said: ‘For centuries this has been considered a utopia – but today it has not only become possible – but indispensible’.
(ed:..we in nz should also be moving towards this..and as with the swiss proposal.it must be enough to sustain a basic lifestyle..
..any halfway-ubi will only leave most of the problems a ubi is designed to solve..
..and will make impossible the huge savings/contributions to cost of ubi to come from the dismantling of the likes of government agencies like ‘work and income’ + no more welfare bill..
(and let’s just call it a (phonetically/one-word) a ‘u-bee’..eh..?
.u.b.i. is so clumsy..)
..it’s time to unpack that protestant-work-ethic that has so brainwashed the populace/served capitalism so well..eh..?..
..let’s try and move beyond the current belief that we are on this planet to be wage-slaves..our lives consumed/taken by the efforts/time needed just to house/feed ourselves..
(go read the philosopher seneca on this..!..he makes so much more sense of this than i am making here..on what we should/could be doing with our lives..)
..and those who claim that everyone will just lie around doing nothing..are just spouting bullshit..
..some will do that…some already do that…but most people if given the time/opportunities would now have the time/energy to pursue the better things in life..what interests them..
..and that may well be working in a ‘job’ for those who choose this..it would involve a huge amount of volunteer-work..it may involve starting a business..it would give the freedoms that come from choice..
..and in one fell swoop – would eradicate the miseries/evils of/from poverty..that so currently have us in their thrall..
..and such a ubi…providing enough to do this..would also create a huge number of new business opportunities (for those so inclined..)
..and with the economics-rationales/arguments for a ubi the same as those for raising current benefit-levels..
..in that it is an economics-101 fact that any increase in incomes for the worst off churns straight back into the economy – through the tills of retailers/service-providers..
..a ubi would do the same – would give people the time/ability to pursue new interests/amusements etc..
..and of course the business opportunities that will arise from that ubi ‘churn’..
..and in fact wage-costs for employers may well drop – as those pressures to pay enough to employees to enable then to live on are gone..any job will be a top-up to the ubi..
..and we could/would have a real ‘free-market’..where people could weigh how much they want to do something..and having the basics of life already covered would leave such agreements entirely up to the employer/employee to negotiate..
..of course another argument against ubi is where would we get the money?/how could we afford it..?
..and those arguments may be valid if money was still fixed to gold…but it isn’t..and where do people think the billions have come from for the u.s. (as just one example)..to pump all that money into their economy..?..i.e..quantative-easing..?..
..money is a construct by central banks…all it takes to survive is that we believe in it as our tool of transaction..
..this is as it is now..a ubi would not introduce anything new in that sense..
..it would just liberate us all to live lives of much more freedom/meaning..than is currently possible for most..
..and would help the economy…
..as i said at the beginning – we just need to unpack that tool of capitalism…the protestant work ethic..
..we can have ‘something for nothing’..and we will all be better off for it..in a myriad of ways..