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Russell Brown

Auckland journalist and media commentator. He is the owner of the Public Address community of blogs,


What Australia's surprise MDMA and psilocybin move means

10 Feb 2023

Russell Brown takes a look at how Australia's recent move to allow psilocybin and MDMA for prescription would work in practice, and whether a similar shift could be possible in New Zealand.


What can we learn from Canberra decriminalising drug possession?

11 Nov 2022

Commentator Russell Brown takes a look at the ACT's road to decriminalising drug possession, and asks what New Zealand could learn.


The global cannabis policy being developed behind closed doors

24 Dec 2021

In 2019, the WHO made a historic recommendation: that cannabis should be rescheduled in the UN global drug treaties to reflect its potential as a medicine. Since then, civil society groups have been shut out of the process


Overdose prevention: A walk in the park?

2 Sep 2021

Free naloxone kits, fee training, oranges to practice on – and a barbecue lunch. That's how they do overdose prevention in British Columbia.


D-Day approaches for new medicinal cannabis scheme

25 Aug 2021

The number of products are set to be slashed and prices are expected to spike when a transitional medicinal cannabis scheme expires in October.


Johann Hari on his film about Billie Holiday and the war on drugs

16 Apr 2021

On the eve of the NZ release of The US vs Billie Holiday, Russell Brown talks to Johann Hari about the movie, compassionate drug policy & what's next.


Turning away from the 'war on drugs'

25 Mar 2021

Recently Oregon became the first US state to decriminalise all drug use, the latest of many changes there and around the world.


Surprising direction of US drug law reform

17 Dec 2020

Drug law reform got majority support in several US states, and is heading off in new directions. Russell Brown pulled this summary together


Unawareness and cost block cannabis prescriptions

1 Nov 2019

Although medicinal cannabis was made legal in New Zealand, the medical profession has been slow to widely adopt the new option. Russell Brown finds that a scarcity of use data, lack of awareness and cost are some of the barriers.


Surprise finding: cannabis may beat cold turkey

1 Jul 2019

A growing body of overseas research has revealed that cannabis could help break harder drug dependence. Legalisation could allow more research into this emerging trend


The big ask: Ensuring the best legalisation referendum question

1 Jul 2018

There is no clear picture of what question will appear on the cannabis referendum ballot. The details are important, argues Russell Brown.


We should have known

1 Oct 2017

The recent extraordinary spate of 20 deaths linked with synthetic cannabinoid use could have been avoided. Russell Brown talked with those willing to go on the record about how we got here.