I was wrong on all counts.
Act split makes hash of dope policy
The Act Party's Epsom seat hopeful John Banks has dramatically shot down his leader Don Brash's views on decriminalising cannabis, saying it will never become party policy.
"Just because it's the view of the leader doesn't mean it has a paradigm effect on my free thinking around drugs," said Mr Banks, who is vehemently opposed to decriminalising marijuana or any softening towards drugs and alcohol.
The stance puts him directly against the views of Dr Brash, who at the weekend said his personal view was decriminalisation.
"So what?" said Mr Banks, a former police minister.
"So many of our vulnerable young people are at sea with alcohol and drugs and often both. They need life-rafts, not concrete boots."
Opponents have leapt on the diverging views as further evidence of the disintegration of the party, which will not have any current MPs in the next parliamentary term and has been plagued by caucus in-fighting and a leadership coup.
Labour's Epsom candidate David Parker put up a sign across his billboards in the electorate: "Vote Banks - Get Both Dopes!"
"This is a circus," Mr Parker said.
"Mr Banks is anti-abortion, anti-gay and now he's tied up with someone who is pro-decriminalisation of marijuana."
Mr Banks, who was not told of the marijuana announcement beforehand, said a softer stance on cannabis would not be party policy.
When asked if he alone made those decisions, he said: "No, but I'm telling you, the decriminalisation of marijuana is not going to happen.
"I'm in no awkward position. I've had people [in Epsom] asking me [about Dr Brash's speech]. It's his personal view, not a party view. It's not [party] policy, and it won't be.
"We need a public conversation around all of this. What we don't need - and I respect other people's view, including the leader of the Act Party - is to send out a message that we're going to go soft on marijuana."
Dr Brash is in lonely political territory; both National and Labour oppose decriminalisation of cannabis.
He said he would like the party to adopt his stance as its policy, but did not expect that to happen given that the board had set up a law and order sub-committee, chaired by Mr Banks.
He said it was not antagonistic to have the opposite view to the person he is relying on, given current polling, for his ticket back to Parliament.
"It's different. I accept that. We are close friends and I respect his judgement. We don't agree on this particular issue. We agree on virtually everything else."
He said it was an important debate, given the vast amount of police resources that appear to be having no impact on consumption.
Prime Minister John Key shrugged off suggestions that Act was imploding, and said National would continue to pursue mainly the party vote in Epsom.
Act candidate Don Nicholson said he did not have a view on marijuana, but he agreed with Dr Brash that current policy was not working.
Apparently there are huge debates going on everywhere all over the internet, and the blogosphere regarding the legalisation of marijuana now.
This is so dumb.
Watching Don Brash is like watching your grandpa trying to put on the cool moves and get all jiggy with it. Next he will be shuffling.
I am left sitting here wondering why this has gotten Don so much attention? Are the students and the stoners whose attention, and votes that Don is trying to get really so stupid as to believe that a vote for Don Brash means that marijuana will be made legal? Don Brash has about as much chance of making marijuana legal as Winston Peters has of stopping Asians moving to our country.
Is Don Brash so stupid as to not realise that most stoners don't get off their butts and even enroll - let alone get out of bed, or stop munching on junk food long enough to get their wasted asses to the voting booths?
And when are the Greens going to acknowledge just how huge marijuana's carbon footprint is?
While i don't agree with drug addicts being treated like criminals - i believe that addiction should be treated as an illness rather than a crime and that entrenching addicts in the criminal justice system does nothing but create a vicious cycle that is damn near impossible to extricate oneself from - i also don't agree with legalising the brain damaging stuff.
I have never been a pot smoker. I tried it a couple of times. The stuff stinks, made my mouth dry, and put me to sleep. I have though, known a few people that have been daily pot smokers for decades and not one of them has been sane. I wrote about my last experience with a man that thought there was nothing harmful in smoking marijuana every day. Lovely guy that he was - he was not all there.
The most compelling argument that pot smokers seem to have in support of the legalisation of the awful stuff is that alcohol is worse, or does more damage. Seriously? Is that the best they can do? That is like arguing that it is less harmful to jump off a bridge, than to walk out in front of a bus.
This whole argument is ridiculous, and nothing more than attention seeking from Don Brash - not unlike his silly Orewa speech - and our silly media play right into his hands.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. The Act Party are DUMB.
Don Brash is high on his supply.