Pubdate: Fri, 31 Dec 2004
Source: Nelson Mail, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2004 Independent Newspapers Limited
Author: Duncan Eddy



The sizeable police presence at a Nelson protest against cannabis 
prohibition was a totally unnecessary waste of police resources.( 20 Dec 
2004 ,Nelson Mail) Not many people care about adults smoking a little 
cannabis these days, yet eight uniformed and two plainclothes officers 
spent over 2 hours at this peaceful demonstration, eventually arresting two 
cannabis smokers.

Twice in recent years cannabis law reform supporters have smoked cannabis 
in the central Dunedin Police Station foyer, with no arrests 
made.  Southern district commander Superintendent Nick Perry has defended 
the no arrest policy, noting that the offending was not at the higher end 
of the scale and police resources were better used elsewhere.

Could Tasman District Commander Superintendent Grant O'Fee please inform 
readers how many serious crimes against people and property were carried 
out while police dealt out heavy handed ' justice' at this small non 
threatening protest?

How long were victims of real crimes forced to wait for a police response 
because police resources were diverted to this minor matter? Enforcing 
cannabis prohibition should not be a priority when there's real crime going on.


Duncan Eddy

Tasman district acting police commander Inspector Brian McGurk replies: 
"The right to lawfully protest is a fundamental right of each and every 
citizen and the police will always strive to protect that right. However, 
the highly publicised breach of the criminal law like the Happy Cannabis 
protest certainly invited a response from the police.

"There were no serious crimes or crashes reported to Nelson police while 
the protest took place and normal routine police policing services were 
maintained throughout. The police are not aware of any delays to any calls 
for any services as a result of the policing activities associated with the 

"Crime trends in the Nelson bays area are generally trending downwards. A 
notable exception includes offences involving violence and more offenders 
now appear to be under the influence of alcohol and other drugs including 
cannabis. Another emerging local trend creating additional demand on 
policing and (and other services) is dealing with people suffering from 
health related and other problems as a result of cannabis use. The use of 
cannabis is not a minor issue."
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