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April 7, 2008 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Mary Jane the Cannabus

Maryjane, the NORML CannaBus, is usually parked at Auckland’s Albert Park, where she hosts 4:20 pm protest smokeups on Wednesdays and Fridays, with a ‘bring and share’ policy. But she left Auckland on 14 March this year to spread her message. She spent the rest of last month touring the North Island, bringing public 4:20 smokeups to various towns along the way. By the time she reaches Dunsterdam (or ‘Dunedin’) on 25 April, in time for Otago NORML’s Cannabis Awareness Week, she will have visited 42 towns. After each town’s 4:20 session, she’ll host a 6pm ‘pot luck’ dinner.

Maryjane will visit Wellington twice: first on 11 April to host a smokeup on parliament lawn, then again between 13 and 15 May to visit the Members of Parliament.

While many of the more intelligent police departments in this country – particularly Dunsterdam’s – have come to accept public marijuana smoking as a legitimate political protest, the same cannot be said for Palmerston North. When Maryjane came to that town on 21 March, three locals and one bus crewmember were arrested. They plan to plead ‘not guilty’ on the basis that smoking cannabis is not a real crime.

In the last editorial I explained why prohibition does not reduce drug abuse. Aotearoa has tougher anti-cannabis laws than most of Europe and North America, as well as a higher percapita rate of use. We spend over $50 million every year arresting more than 7000 pot users, which does nothing to help those who abuse the drug. If a kid is found using pot, current practice is to suspend them from school and hand them a conviction. If this kid has turned to cannabis as a result of other problems, then making their life worse is hardly a good move. But since I intend to talk more about the unbelievable idiocy of prohibition in future issues, for now I’ll just shut up and say this:

Come along to parliament lawn at 4:20 pm on 11 April to oppose prohibition and smoke some good weed.

Letter of the Week:

Fuck Studylink
By Anonymous

Might as well share some personal information – I work about 11 hours a week, earn close to a $100 a week, and qualify for some student allowance which I top up with the loan. Studylink required me to give them a letter from my boss informing them of how much I earn, which I did. While I was in the Willis Street office I also checked ahead of time that they were set to pay uni my fees, and the friendly face at the Studylink counter assured me they would… aaaah being organised is such a good feeling.

A couple of weeks of uni and a couple of $150 textbooks later, I noticed my bank balance was far far in the red: it turned out Studylink wasn’t giving me any money at all. I rang up Studylink to see what was going on and, after being put on hold several times, I was informed that the wage summary my boss had given them wasn’t enough evidence of what I was earning. I asked why I was left to find this out by the state of my bank balance, but was not supplied with an answer. So it seems inevitable that I’ll be paying my rent of $110 a week with $100 (who cares about food) until my next shift, where I’ll get an earning summary verifying two of the five working days that Studylink’s head orifice is required to know about.

I wasn’t unhappy though; I was confident that Studylink would take care of me. I mean, it IS supposed to be financially possible to learn at a tertiary institution right?…….”Muahaha,” cackled the man at the Studylink desk as I received a phone call from Vic Uni’s head office early this week informing me that my fees hadn’t been paid. When I walked into the Willis Street Studylink shop and asked what was going on, I was told to call their service centre (which made me wonder what the point of the building is). As it turned out I no longer had an account with them for a student loan. Perhaps one of the three copies I was sent asking me if I wanted to add course related costs to my loan could have been altered to ask me if I wanted my fees paid. Of course I asked why I was told my fees were going to be paid, and was told very politely that I had been “misinformed”… right-o. The correct form was sent out a couple of days later, and I signed it while pondering how much quicker this process would have been if carried out right then and there in the office.

I received an email last night from Vic Uni’s head office telling me I was incurring the $150 late penalty, which took me into the dark depths of my overdraft to pay today. It turns out Studylink does not pay late fees. Well, I dont think they’re very nice people, not so different from the banks that line up in the quad in O-week to violently harass you into signing up with them; avoiding eye contact is the key to not being late to your lecture, but I was eventually coerced into signing up with ASB and ANZ, as they both promised me $40. Neither actually gave me this promised $40, I might add.

If there was an anthropomorphism of Studylink they would be ugly, no-one would talk to them and they’d probably ask fucking annoying questions in lectures


About the Author ()

Tristan Egarr edited in 2008. He threw a chair once.

Comments (1)

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  1. lol says:

    I’m so there

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