This year New Zealanders go to the polls to elect a new government.
We will also be asked to decide, by referendum, cannabis control and legalisation, and end of life choice.
These are two interesting choices to make with long-term impacts on our communities.
For me, the end of life choice referendum is easy, I am for it.
My reasons are simple and uncomplicated. I have killed animals to put them out of the misery and agony of a prolonged death. They are mammals just like me, no different and in many ways better examples of mammal than the human species.
Why should a person linger in absolute desperation for his or her coming end in pain and discomfort when there is absolutely no hope of recovery?
Why shouldn't that person, if of sound mind, have the right to say "let me die quickly now"? Simple. We kill other sentient beings to ease their distress, why can't we enjoy the same privilege?
The cannabis control and legalisation choice is complicated.
I am all for medicinal dope, great idea, should have done it years ago.
We have used opium derivatives for years, otherwise a Class A controlled drug. Cannabis is a Class C controlled drug so what's the problem?
Cannabis is endemic in many communities in New Zealand. It contributes to the economy of many an, otherwise, broken community, where unemployment, inter-generational poverty and hopelessness abounds.
There are many places like that in Aotearoa, in the big cities and isolated rural areas.
It brings some form of income and also some comfort and ease to otherwise blighted lives. These people are at the bottom of the heap. They risk arrest and, if dealing, imprisonment. They do not really care, life is hard anyway.
Cannabis is also used by all other classes of New Zealander of all educational backgrounds and most occupational groups, mostly occasionally but some are huge tokers.
Alcohol, the poison of choice for most New Zealanders, is an evil drug yet we consume it like it's going out of fashion.
It causes more death, illness, injury and misery than any Class C drug does. It ruins relationships, homes, jobs and lives and a small number of businesses make huge profits out of that misery.
Being an ex-cop I still, nearly 30 years after hanging up my baton, have cordial and humourous conversations with several of my old "clients", bad boys in their days, now mostly harmless granddads like me trying to get our heads around getting old and all that means.
These were tough guys, non-compromising, usually of high intelligence, who decided to be bad and enjoyed it while they could.
That's what a lot of experts do not realise, many criminals love their lifestyle and are extremely good at their craft, but they become dads and partners and, basically, just get tired of looking over their shoulders, the booze and the dope, going to prison periodically and missing their families.
These are not the evil, psychopathic nasty people who are just wired totally different to normal people, but just men and women who decide making an easy buck illegally is the way to go.
These are the type of people who used to make money out of dope, maybe still do on the quiet. They are rubbing their hands with glee, hoping that the cannabis control and legalisation referendum gets the big tick.
Hell, most will probably vote for it. Why? They can undercut the licensed dealers, pay no tax, continue to grow high THC product, which licensed dealers will not be allowed to do, and still maintain their very happy client-base among all levels of our society.
Has the idealistic but possibly naive Green Party spent any time with these fellows? I assume not, they do not move in such circles. People like me still do, not judging, just reminiscing, certainly not condoning.
Old crims can be great company and they will share their stories and experiences with anyone if they feel respected.
My very reliable sources tell me that 14g of dope a day is a lot for one smoker. That is the daily limit in the bill. Most sources say 6g a day is more than enough - but they are happy to sell more, of course.
Saying yes to this bill will not stop tinny houses and dope-growing. Were we not committed to stop smoking by 2025? Most users smoke their dope. Are the Greens okay with this? While alcohol is evil, is legalising dope, another mind-altering drug with some bad effects for many, the right thing to do.
Two wrongs do not make a right.