The Beloved Tinnie - Another Casualty of Shrinkflation? Debate Investigates.
For as long as any drug user can remember (potentially not very long), the tinnie has been a pillar of Aotearoa drug culture. The tinnie - a gram of bud wrapped in tinfoil and sold for a modest $20, is deserving of national pride. I'm about as patriotic as any other Gen Z stoner - not very. I don't watch the All Blacks, and I don't care where pavlova comes from. But when it comes to the tinnie, I can't help but feel my heart swell with a sense of nationalism. The tinnie belongs to New Zealanders and is for New Zealanders. It democratises drug use for the masses. For just $20, anyone can indulge in all the wonder that one gram of cannabis has to offer. But does the skyrocketing cost of living put the tinnie under threat?
To investigate, I asked my drug dealer how much bud I could get for $20. I was shocked by his answer - 0.8 grams. My blissful ignorance shattered, I consoled myself by thinking this might just be my dealer - and perhaps there are better deals elsewhere. But consulting fellow stoners on the issue, the anecdotal evidence doesn't appear positive; “I remember the heydays,” laments one particularly jaded stoner,* having just pulled a deep bong rip, his eyes beginning to glaze over. “Weed has gotten more expensive everywhere and I couldn’t tell you why.” He explains that it’s not the price that’s changing, it’s the size. “There are still some bastions of hope out there, if you know where to look. It’s the people who don’t buy often who you worry about [getting ripped off].” Others I spoke to* unanimously agreed with this bleak assessment.
All the evidence suggests the tinnie may be threatened by shrinkflation: a sneakier form of inflation in which the price of a product stays the same, but the size of the product decreases, leaving unknowing consumers worse off. New Zealanders should be appalled - it represents a wrecking ball to a sacred institution of Aotearoa drug culture. The tinnie always has been, and always should be, one gram.
But there is still hope. The government could take the opportunity to extend an olive branch to the New Zealand drug community that it has continuously let down. I would go as far as arguing that there is a moral imperative for government intervention in the tinnie market. Such a move would be unprecedented. But we live in unprecedented times. If this country can't stand up for the sacred tinnie, do we truly stand for anything?
Stoners the country over will have rejoiced at the news of the $350 cost-of-living payment. $350 amounts to 17 tinnies with $10 to spare, which could cover a pack of Clear Eyes. But critics have argued the payment is nothing more than a stopgap solution, and $350 will be very quickly whisked away by rising prices. So, I propose that in a similar fashion to the recent fuel and public transport subsidies, the government needs to directly address the pressures faced by ordinary Kiwis at the local drug dealer's. The government should launch a full inquiry immediately, and subsidise tinnies to ensure they are all fat, and there is no less than a gram of weed in each one.
The 2023 election is looming, and inflation is one of the foremost issues in New Zealand politics; a tinnie subsidy would no doubt prove popular with voters. Analysis shows that around half of the Aotearoa voter-base has used illicit substances at least once. And recent Newshub-Reid Research polls point to a potential neck and neck race between the major parties. Put simply, a tinnie subsidy has the potential to swing the balance of the next election. The New Zealand public has been battered in recent months by the cost-of-living crisis and deserve swift government action to combat the tinnie crisis.
*To protect the identity of those willing to speak truth to power on the tinnie crisis, the sources referred to
in this article shall remain anonymous.