Lack of quorum foils cannabis vote

Abe GrayA move successfully preventing students from voting on a pro-cannabis resolution was deliberate, Otago University Students Association (OUSA) president Simon Wilson says.

But Mr Wilson said there was nothing he could do to prevent the student general meeting last Thursday being brought to an abrupt end.

Just before a resolution from student Abe Gray, the leader of the Otago chapter of the pro-cannabis group National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml), could be voted on, a student called for a quorum count.

The final count was 170 - 27 short of the 197 needed to enable any formal business to be enacted.

Mr Wilson said yesterday he had no choice but to close the meeting.

Asked if he thought the timing of the quorum count was deliberate, he replied: "Yes."

Mr Gray was arrested earlier this month after complaints people were smoking cannabis at a Norml information stand during a student market day.

He has not yet appeared in court.

Last week, he was trespassed from the Union Lawn where Norml holds twice-weekly "smoke-up" protests.

He had lodged two recommendations with the executive both along the lines that OUSA "condemn the actions of Campus Watch and the Campus Cop" for targeting cannabis-using students.

Mr Wilson said Mr Gray was free to put the resolutions on the agenda for the next general meeting, to be held in September or October.

But he said he could not guarantee a quorum count would not be called for at that meeting too.

It was the second general meeting to be abandoned this year because it lacked a quorum.

Mr Wilson said the quorum required was 1% of the total student roll, including students at campuses in Invercargill, Wellington and Christchurch.

It was possible for the executive to propose the quorum figure be reduced, but Mr Wilson said the executive was "not there yet".

Contacted last night, Mr Gray said he was disappointed the resolutions had not been voted upon but would go for ''top of the agenda'' for next meeting.

"A couple of people" on the OUSA executive were "maliciously attempting to undermine the wishes of the student body", he said.

He named one member whom he said was "following a personal anti-drug agenda".



When all else fails

Why should it be frustrating to you if someone else is smoking cannabis? How does it have a negative effect on your life? The only reason NORML smokes up in public is to bring the issue into the open. If not, cannabis smokers would still be hiding in the dark and nothing would be done about it. For every 420 protester there are probably 10 times that many cannabis smokers who are afraid to speak out.
Yes, that's right, in your classes, sports clubs, workplaces and even in your church groups and families are good people who smoke cannabis but are afraid to even admit it to their own families. Fifty two per cent of New Zealanders aged 15 — 45 admit having used cannabis at some time. The law does nothing to stop cannabis use and only serves to criminalise New Zealanders who would otherwise be functional members of society simply because of their choice of recreational intoxicant. A recent study in CHCH showed that 95% of people convicted for cannabis use continued with or increased their use after their conviction.
The health select committee has recommended that cannabis be decriminalised a number of times only to be ignored by the government. When legitimate political means of achieving law change are constantly foiled and expert reports are ignored by the government, people get fed up and this is where campaigns of civil disobedience come into play. There are many examples of this throughout history.
Anybody who is smart enough to think for themselves, do their own research and not lap up the constant lies served to us by the government and media can see that cannabis prohibition is a joke and will act accordingly.

Personal drug agenda??

One person's personal anti-drug agenda?? How about the majority of students' anti-drug agenda? Most of us are law abiding students.... it is Norml who are breaking the law, and by having smoke ups on campus think they are making a point. All they are doing is breaking the law. There are far better ways to get your point across withough frustrating everyone else and wasting government resources... you break the law you face the consequences... fact!