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LETTERS: Cannabis, the burning questions

Wednesday 16 March 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


LETTERS: Cannabis, the burning questions

Dear Editor, does the Cook Islands News have an editorial page that essentially states or supports the position of your newspaper in relation to various topics in our community?

If not, then why not?

And isn't it time Cook Islands News makes a stand one way or the other on government cannabis laws?

After decades of criminal prohibition and law enforcement efforts to either limit or rid our nation of cannabis use and cultivation, does the Cook Islands News oppose this criminal prohibition against marijuana or support it?

Does Cook Islands News believe prohibition of cannabis is a proven success or proven failure?

Does Cook Islands News believe it is justified to arrest and imprison otherwise law abiding citizens who use and cultivate marijuana, or do they think it is unjustified?

Does Cook Islands News believe that when government tries to enforce cannabis laws, it violates the fundamental rights of privacy and personal autonomy that are guaranteed under the Constitution, or does Cook Islands News believe that no such laws are applicable or afforded to cannabis users and growers under the Constitution?

Does Cook Islands News believe that marijuana users and growers do harm to themselves and others and should be punished, or don't do harm to themselves and others, and shouldn't be punished?

Does Cook Islands News approve or disapprove that police resources are spent on marijuana users and growers like violent crimes, including rape, assault, robbery and drink drivers?

Does Cook Islands News demand candid discussions of alternatives to prohibition by public officials, or want the existing state of affairs to remain the same?

Is Cook Islands News in favour of legalised medical marijuana or are they opposed?

Are they in favour of legalised recreational use of marijuana or are they opposed?

Do they favour one above the other, or both, or are they opposed to any new legislation?

Does Cook Islands News want to formulate any viewpoints based on objective analysis of our cannabis laws or would they rather not do that?


Steve Boggs 

At the request of the editor, Cook Islands News publisher John Woods responds to Steve Boggs:

The answer, Steve, is that we are not prepared to make a stand on this political issue, essentially because our position as a neutral and unbiased media outlet, is that we need to remain impartial if we are to provide a forum for open debate and uncensored discourse on what is primarily a moral issue.

Our job is to report and allow freedom of expression of all points of view, and to allow lawmakers to decide what influences they will allow in exercising their democratic right to govern, according to the laws they see fit to put in place and enforce.

It is up to voters to persuade politicians what they want, and it is not our right or prerogative to favour any particular point of view, which is why we give space and opportunity for expression of all views, no matter how radical or extreme, popular or otherwise, they may be. This includes the one-eyed views of Mr Boggs.

We do not have a particular space or slot for editorial opinion other than pages like this for letters and opinion pieces, and we are not about to be told by opinionated individuals how to organise and run our business.

So, no Steve, Cook Islands News will not be pronouncing judgement on the cannabis laws of this country.

Personally, I have some sympathy and empathy for the view point that Steve Boggs expresses in these columns, as I happen to believe that fundamentally marijuana use has more virtue than alcohol use and abuse, but I don’t support legalisation of marijuana unless it is for medicinal purposes, as I believe constant use of marijuana leads to bad habits and behaviour that precipitates greater evils such as addiction and reckless substance abuse.

But I would never bow to pressure to support or favour any faction in a moral issues debate, nor would I allow it in any media organisation under my control.

John Woods, Cook Islands News publisher