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Cannabis prohibition is mostly anti-male

Filed under: Law & Courts — Vman @ 7:06 pm Wed 27th June 2018

Hopefully the readers of this website are mostly well informed about the problems of prohibition of cannabis versus the advantages of legalization and regulation of this plant. If not I’ll be happy to outline them for you.

What I’d like to focus on in this post is how the current cannabis prohibition laws disproportionately criminalise men for doing something that causes no harm to others.

One of the problems with prohibition is that it makes it very difficult if not impossible to get reliable studies on the prohibited item. The general agreement is that, about half of New Zealanders have had cannabis at some point of their lives. About half a million have used cannabis in any given year.

Therefore about half of New Zealanders are criminals, although most of them have got away with it thus far. If the system was working as it has been written, half of New Zealanders would have a criminal record and stuffer all the negative consequences of being criminals.

The system has failed to implement these laws at anything like that level, although they have been doing their best. Thousands of new criminals are created every year in New Zealand for using cannabis. An activity that does not harm others. The New Zealand Police arrest more than 10,000 Kiwis every year, leaving most with a criminal record that does not always go away (despite the Clean Slate legislation).

Research on the demographics of cannabis users is woefully lacking. It seems the ratio of men to women is roughly about 60% men to 40% women. But female cannabis smokers are now more likely to use every day. Fourteen per cent of women users smoke daily, compared with 12 per cent of men.
In the 2012/13 survey Cannabis was used by 15% of men and 8.0% of women in NZ.

One reason why only 10,000+ out of 500,000 annual users are arrested is because police use discretion. Police like the current prohibition of cannabis because it gives police sweeping powers and funding. Police are reluctantly forced to use discretion because the sheer volume of potential criminals is far beyond what the system could process. So how are they exercising this discretion?

If you follow the topic of prohibition you might know that there has been some focus on how Maori cannabis users are excessively arrested. The prohibition seems to be racist.

What has been conveniently overlooked is the massive bias against males in the arrest figures for cannabis users.
Although more than 1 in 3 cannabis users are female.
Only 1 in 11 arrests for cannabis use are female.

Of course it is always possible that male cannabis users are also doing more risky things that bring them to the attention of police. Just as in the general population, males tend to do more risky things that bring them to the attention of the police.
However it seems unlikely that this would explain such a huge difference in the arrest rates compared to the cannabis usage rates.

I imagine that I don’t need to explain here, how much sexism against males exists once you enter into the so called justice system. The arrest is just the start of the bias.

Then, of course once you have a criminal conviction for anything – even something as relatively harmless as smoking a joint – then you are far more likely to face further issues with the criminal justice system.

It seems to indicate that the cannabis prohibition laws are the pointy end of sexism of the criminal justice system.

This combines with the extreme anti-male bias of the family courts in the civil justice system. It all leads to the criminalisation and punishment of men for activities that did not harm anyone else. And it is done on a rather grand scale in New Zealand.

What’s worse in my view is few people ever talk about this anti-male bias of our so called justice system. The tacit message from society is that men are disposable, even when the men were not harming others. Really for the most petty of reasons in fact.

There will be a referendum on ending the current prohibition of cannabis on or before 2020. What many people don’t realise is that prohibition is largely an anti-male law. A vote to end prohibition will remove the criminalisation of over 9,000 men and boys every year. The effects of women will be relatively minimal.

15 Responses to “Cannabis prohibition is mostly anti-male”

  1. Vman says:

    “The effects of women will be relatively minimal.” was meant to be “The effects on women will be relatively minimal.”

  2. Allan Harvey says:

    It is very gendered policing but it is also highly racist policing as well.
    Young, brown, male 55-60% of our total prison population; (young brown female 65% of our female prison muster).

  3. Vman says:

    It is racist as well. However the racist element gets plenty of attention and sympathetic ears.
    As far as I know the sexism of it is really discussed, if at all. And this seems to be an appropriate forum to discuss such sexism.

  4. Evan Myers says:

    What I’ve been hearing is that the price of cannabis has risen sharply due to short supply.

    I’m assuming the growing industry has moved on to meths.

  5. Downunder says:

    What I’d like to focus on in this post is how the current cannabis prohibition laws disproportionately criminalise men for doing something that causes no harm to others.

    Just one example: How many times have we seen on this site comments relating to a Family Court Case that originated over a mother’s drug use and the Family Court defending her right to her individual freedom regardless of the impact, danger or abuse of the child.

    This combines with the extreme anti-male bias of the family courts in the civil justice system. It all leads to the criminalisation and punishment of men for activities that did not harm anyone else. And it is done on a rather grand scale in New Zealand.

  6. Downunder says:

    Your main focus in this post Vman (and correct me if I’m wrong) is the legalisation of cannabis use and you’ll even find Family Court orders by Family Court judges authorising mothers to use cannabis, rest assured you’re on the same team.

    The way you might want to view this is that it suits society to turn a blind eye to female offending.

    So, a mother on the DPB meets her supplier at the ATM on benefit day hands over the money and the drug is supplied to her address that afternoon.

    Not to be seen to be beneficiary bashing here, your child support goes up in smoke because her supplier has moved into the house as an irregular step father.

  7. Evan Myers says:

    The effects ‘of’ women

    That ‘mistake’ as such may be the most important part of the post.

  8. Downunder says:

    The general agreement is that, about half of New Zealanders have had cannabis at some point of their lives. About half a million have used cannabis in any given year.

    Therefore about half of New Zealanders are criminals, although most of them have got away with it thus far. If the system was working as it has been written, half of New Zealanders would have a criminal record and stuffer all the negative consequences of being criminals.

    This is also a very important mistake.

    A criminal is a person with a criminal conviction. A conviction for an indictable offence – the more serious offences brought to trial.

    Having a police record or a conviction does not make you a criminal.

    We have two grey areas;

    A) a non criminal conviction

    B) a civil observation, collection of data, gender propensity, anti-male blah blah blah …

    This is where the boys are getting screwed over and the girls aren’t.

  9. Evan Myers says:

    The Civil Record

    Louise Nicholas demands a meeting with the Police Commissioner to remind him that a man did something 20 years ago and she’s not happy about it.

  10. JustCurious says:

    I have had a dream once after visiting Amsterdam.
    I noticed at that time millions of Europeans invaded Amsterdam just to be able to legally consume the best grade cannabis worldwide.
    I wondered then what it meant for their economy.
    Turned out, in my estimates, that millions flew in, drove or took trains into Amsterdam and spent more millions.
    This simply meant the economy was booming, the drug trade was huge income for the city, the hotels and the restaurants. Full time employment for everyone and every one that had been in jail previously, rather than remaining there, had an income and a job they loved.
    Europeans have always consumed alcohol with more discretion anyways than Kiwis (teetotallers), but what I heard is that alcohol sale did not go down overall, rather top shelf was sought more rather than the cheap nasty stuff.
    I have seen a few documentaries of the effects of legalisation in the US. At first In california, there were about 200 000 registered medical users. When it became legalized, overnight, over a million new users flooded the scene.
    Before you knew it, it became a billion dollar industry. And I doubt not it will be in the trillions before long. And what is rather funny is that the few states whom have legalized it do not have enough to supply themselves and nonetheless the other states.
    NZ has a chance to take the bull but the horns. A chance for all kiwis to be legally and lawfully employed. And a chance for us to welcome tourists at a higher rate and a real boon in the economy.
    And the farming and the forestry…and our waterways…

    The fact that almost every kiwi, of course not all, between the age of 13 and 45 is a regular user of cannabis cannot be overlooked. And this is spread across all social categories, from the super rich to the super poor who grows it. In fact the rich tends to go more for the coke and heroine or P than simply cannabis.

    It makes sense to decriminalize it. In fact john Keys and National’s immigration input has been no less than a debacle. Cannabis is the solution not mass immigration which means more kiwi on low income loose jobs and more rich people exploit immigrants. The housing crisis is a direct consequence of National actions and the selling of public assets is another knife at the throat of NZ economy.

    The only economically viable system that works and has proven to work is that there is full employment with reasonable wages so that Kiwis can afford to have a saving.

    Governments can then borrow from those savings. At the moment the governments are instead indebted to the banks and thus under their control.

    The way the system is simply that no one has cash anymore or savings. Everything is borrowed and this is why we live under terror. The terror is of loosing our material possessions which we never own, the home (stop paying your rates and see what happens), your car (stop making payments to the finance companies and see what happens), your power bill, your ….

    WE live in a reactive society in a sense that we consume what we do not own and then slaving the rest of our lives trying to pay it off. And as we do, we tend to loose sight of everything that is of importance. And that is real.

    I have just recently been detained and saw the inside of holding cells and the system’s belly. It was an atrocious experience but then I realized the people in jail are free. It is us whom are prisoners of our homes, our fears, our mortgages, our jobs, our wants which are never satisfied and our divisions (race, nationality, religion….). We are prisoners

    The worst emprisonment is in our minds.
    The people I saw and met there were fascinating.
    One of them was like, ” I turned myself in but the cop asked me to come back the next day and so I did… he was shocked when he saw me come back the next day.”
    He was asked, “why did you turn yourself in?”
    He said, “I need rehab and they turned me down. I am wasting my life out here. I hope they send me to Auckland tho.”
    “why Auckland?”
    “SO I can see my brother… he is in jail there.”

  11. Evan Myers says:

    I don’t think that’s a realistic overview of the Dutch situation.

    Cannabis is still illegal apart from some areas where it is decriminalized for personal use.

    They still have court cases over production and supply.

    They’re working on theory that treatment of the hopeless is cheaper.

  12. Downunder says:

    What many people don’t realise is that prohibition is largely an anti-male law.

    I can see where you’re coming from historically and the US prohibition battle may be the best example where there was one group dictating social rules and another trying to defeat that game. The compromise was legalised distribution.

    Men were the economic wheel of society and the foot soldiers in that social battle.

    When woman were seeking the vote Kate Sheppard was standing on the political ticket of the Christian Democrats who were seeking prohibition at that time.

    We had areas of prohibition where electorates made that choice. It’s perhaps the inverse to Dutch situation where they have legal pockets for cannabis use.

    Perhaps we haven’t faced reality in what is actually happening with women.

    Today there are state funded girls out there making some good cash in their spare time dealing meths.
    They only need a cash float of $600.00 to buy a gram which can be quatered and resold for a $1000.00

    $2000.00 a week is not an unrealistic profit for them, and enough to pay for a habit or share the spare.

    The economic wheel has changed. When it comes to prohibition is that actually on female offending?

    And this reality is going under our noses while we’re arguing over a cannabis referendum.

  13. Man X Norton says:

    Re Netherlands, my understanding is that cannabis hasn’t even been decriminalized but there has been a government policy not to enforce the law generally. However, if there is trouble from individuals or around a ‘coffee shop’ the authorities will apply the law.

    This is also one of the reasons our police continue to support maintaining illegality of cannabis and other drugs. It allows them a way to target individuals who they believe have committed crimes police don’t have evidence to get them for. It can also be used conveniently to suppress people who cause political problems. While there may be some merit in having such laws of convenience, the ethical problems with that probably outweigh any positives.

  14. Vman says:

    I note the comment that,

    “A criminal is a person with a criminal conviction. A conviction for an indictable offence – the more serious offences brought to trial.”

    This may be semantically correct. However you don’t need to be found guilty in a trial to suffer long term consequences from this prohibition.
    You can find your job prospects diminished. Even international travel can be problematic or denied regardless if you ever had a trial.

    And if it is not a man’s first charge he will be denied diversion so he’ll end up with a court date anyway. Regardless if it is not an indictable offense.

    As you point out, the anti-male bias and anti-male consequences of prohibition are real, regardless of the semantics of “criminal”.
    I maintain it is criminalising people.

    There is absolutely zero evidence that this criminalisation of people does anything to reduce people’s use. If anything, usage has increased dramatically during prohibition.

    Prohibition laws are doing far more harm to 9,000+ men per year than the plant itself does. If the plant has done any harm, it has done that harm to people who chose to use it. And the harm it does do, is less than paracetamol.

    No. Prohibition is not about reducing the harm of a plant. It is a largely anti-male law applied to the unlucky for the purposes of having another mostly anti-male law.

  15. Evan Myers says:

    @Vman

    In recent history we remember a time when the man was responsible for supporting his family and perhaps prohibition of substances likely to interfere with a man’s work habits was a good idea.

    Now since only women are necessary to raise a child and child support is a % of his income I suppose you could argue it is unfair restriction on him especially when mothers can smoke dope while they’re looking after the child.

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