Pubdate: Tue, 23 Apr 2013
Source: Timaru Herald (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2013 Timaru Herald
Author: Esther Ashby-Coventry
Page: 3


A Timaru professional man smokes a joint most evenings and does not
think it affects his work.

John believes the locally grown marijuana he buys is safer than
synthetic cannabis which is sold legally.

"People assume legal highs are safe because they are legal, and
marijuana is unsafe because it is illegal."

He would like to see all drugs having the same status because
prohibition does not work. However he would not like them to be
available to anyone under 20, and concedes that no drug is safe. "It's
not good for young minds." John was open about his drug use with his
three children, now adults. One smokes, one doesn't and the other
dabbles occasionally.

Now in his early 60s, John has been smoking cannabis since he was at
university and spends $300 to $350 for an ounce of cannabis, which
lasts him about eight weeks.

"I like the way it makes me feel. It doesn't make me hungover or sick.
I am more affected by alcohol."

Usually dope smokers are portrayed as being on the fringe of society
or in gangs but quite a few professionals and business owners in
Timaru smoke it, he said.

However they hate the fact that they could be arrested.

"I could lose the right to travel for doing something in my own house
that is not hurting anyone else."

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 it is illegal to import, grow,
sell, distribute, possess and use cannabis in New Zealand. The maximum
penalty for possession of marijuana (class C) is three months' jail
and/or a $500 fine.

John concedes that no drug is safe but he is willing to take the risk
and will have a joint when someone else will have a beer to wind down
after work.

"We need more openness and acceptance of individual differences. Let's
have an open debate on the status change. I don't care which way it
goes," he said.

John's name has been changed to protect his profession and staff. The
Timaru Herald.

She applied for the scholarship in December and was invited to an
interview in Auckland earlier this year. She thinks it was her passion
for art history that impressed selectors.

Charlotte discovered the scholarship on the Universities New Zealand

"I just thought it was an amazing opportunity to get an international

"There's no way without the scholarship that I'd be able to do
something like this.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had nothing to

It was a historic university with beautiful grounds and a "great
atmosphere", she said.

"There's extra resources there that make it an ideal place to be
studying art history."

She will start at the college in September.

In the meantime, her time at Otago University would be a good
"practice run", she said.

She had no expectations of her transition to Duke. "It'll be a good
surprise." Facing four years abroad was "a little bit" daunting. "I
haven't quite got my head around that yet."

But home was only a plane ride away. "[And] all those things like
Skype  it's really not quite as bad as it could be."

Charlotte hopes to use her education pursue a career as an art
curator. She plans to get work experience overseas but ultimately come
home to New Zealand.
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