Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jul 2003
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: Allied Press Limited, 2003
Author: Dr Richard Goode


DUNEDIN MAN Mark Patton is to be congratulated for having the audacity to
smoke cannabis in the back of a police truck ( ODT , 18.7.03). This incident
makes it abundantly clear that cannabis prohibition does not work! All
manner of New Zealanders smoke cannabis in all manner of locations and will
continue to do so, regardless of the law.

In sentencing Patton, Judge Stephen O'Driscoll described his behaviour as
"unbelievable". One wonders what Judge O'Driscoll thought of a similar
incident in May this year, when around 20 protesters openly smoked cannabis
inside the Dunedin Central Police Station. On that occasion, the police took
no action, on the grounds that arresting and charging the protesters would
have been a "considerable drain on resources" ( ODT , 5.5.03). Yet police
continue to arrest and charge 10,000 New Zealanders each year with a variety
of cannabis offences. This is a very considerable waste of resources. It is
high time that cannabis prohibition was repealed, so that cannabis users are
no longer unjustly persecuted, and our police can spend their valuable
resources tackling genuine crimes against persons and property.

Dr Richard Goode

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