NZ On Air: History of Kiwi comedy, Patrick Gower’s look at marijuana among the projects funded
A history of New Zealand comedy, a Stuff Circuit interactive documentary series and a two-part Patrick Gower investigation into marijuana are among the Kiwi factual projects which have received funding in the latest round of handouts from NZ On Air. The independent broadcast funding agency announced a $9m investment in 24 new projects on Monday, amounting to more than 7600 minutes of content. Among the most eye-catching were Funny As: The Story of New Zealand Comedy, a series chronicling what has made Kiwis laugh throughout the years, destined for TVNZ1, and Three’s Patrick Gower: The High Road. The latter will explore the opportunities for New Zealand if marijuana was legalised, with Gower looking at the overseas experience, exploring the pros and cons of legalising marijuana for recreational, as well as medicinal, use. MediaWorks chief content officer Andrew Szusterman said with marijuana use likely to be legalised here in the future they felt it was important for New Zealand society to explore how such a decision has impacted other communities.
For his own part, Newshub’s national correspondent Gower said while he always had his doubts that marijuana wasn’t good for anything more than people getting stoned, every day there seemed to be headline from somewhere in the world proving him wrong. Ironically, The High Road comes hot on the heels of another similarly themed two-part documentary In Pot Pursuit which screened on TVNZ earlier this month. It will be distributed on Stuff and will also screen on Māori Television. Prime will screen Recovery 29, a documentary about the potential re-entry to the Pike River Mine, while The Coconet. Tv’s Talune: Ship of Death will be aiming to enlighten younger generations about the story of a New Zealand ship that arrived in Samoa in 1918 carrying an influenza strain that wiped out a quarter of the Samoan population.
Newly funded lifestyle series include Māori Television’s Pio Terei-hosted Off the Grid and a six-part show following New Zealand NBA star Steven Adams’ Kiwi-based basketball camps, a TVNZ medical information series The Check Up and one on teenagers at a high school teen pregnancy unit, which will also air on the state broadcaster. Existing shows funded for another series include Anika Moa: Unleashed, Prime’s Making New Zealand, reality competition Design Junkies and long-running rural lifestyle series Country Calendar. NZ On Air chief executive Jane Wrightson says the 24 funded projects demonstrated the wealth and diversity of ideas of content creators.
Cannabis cruising: five weed-friendly places to get stoned in the Big Smoke
The good news is that this situation has a built-in solution: there are many lounges and cannabis-friendly businesses already operating that allow customers to consume weed. They do have some things in common, like ID-ing and prohibiting tobacco use, alcohol use and cannabis sales. The Hotbox has knowledgeable, friendly staff to answer any questions you may have and a range of events, including Nintendo competitions, live music and comedy shows. Owner and long-time cannabis activist Abi Roach, who spoke at the Municipal Licensing and Standards committee last month, isn’t nervous about the future – she believes councillors are actually beginning to come around on weed lounges. On October 2, Ward 20 Councillor Joe Cressy was able to push a motion through the Board of Health to re-open the issue of cannabis lounges, albeit through a back door.
People who want to learn more about cannabis concentrates and dabbing can do so here with the proper accessories. Owner Joanne Baker is adamant about putting comedy at the forefront of her business and keeps a fresh lineup of big names coming through her doors. Special rules Bring your own bud for the class offering; be quiet and respectful. Before students at this airy space get down to downward dog, they can take cannabis-infused tea or puff on cannabis using a top-of-the-line vaporizer that creates an environment with nearly no haze or smell. Students are asked to donate sativa or more uplifting strains of cannabis for a communal puff before class to help stimulate focus and energy.
Ganja Yoga student Antuanette-Gomez says she got hooked after her first class – but not to the cannabis she was already used to consuming. Owner Lu Pancini has been teaching yoga for 12 years and tells NOW she is proud of her family-run business, which also offers Thai Yoga Massage, Thai Massage School and Yoga School.
America’s marijuana policy isn’t funny. It’s racist.
When NBC’s Meet the Press over the weekend held a roundtable about the New York Times Editorial Board’s decision to endorse marijuana legalization, participants seemed to take the issue very lightly – regularly making jokes between a few serious policy points. The chuckles are typical in conversations about marijuana policy. Hillary Clinton got in some jokes about marijuana before answering a similar question at a CNN-hosted town hall in the spring. It’s easy to joke about marijuana policy when the idea of legalization feels more like a new freedom, which might be the case for whiter and wealthier populations. Poorer populations, marijuana policy is much closer to a civil rights issue.
Marijuana isn’t just a drug that they would like to be able to use and carry out in the open. Marijuana criminalization has historically been used to harass and arrest people in minority and poor communities at hugely disproportionate rates. A 2013 report from the American Civil Liberties Union found that, even though white and black people use pot at similar rates, black people are 3.7 times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession. New York decriminalized marijuana in 1977, but as of 2012 had one of the highest arrest rates for pot possession. The problem: New York law allows arrests for marijuana that’s within public view.
Police officers in New York City regularly used this exception to arrest people, particularly minorities, by getting them to empty their pockets during stop-and-frisk searches and expose marijuana that would otherwise have remained hidden. Because for a large chunk of the US population, marijuana policy is simply no joking matter.