Pubdate: Fri, 05 Aug 2005
Source: Press, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2005 The Christchurch Press Company Ltd.
Author: Chris Fowlie
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Dear Sir,

Contrary to the opinion of the former undercover cop Mike Muddiman, 
using the criminal law to control a substance as widely used as 
marijuana is anything but "commonsense policing". (Letters, 1 August 2005)

He is right that the police are already too busy to enforce cannabis 
laws, and there are certainly more important things they could be 
doing. That has not stopped police using up more than 300,000 hours 
per year enforcing the current law, and arresting more people per 
head of population than any other country.

He is also right that police already have discretion to not arrest 
people if they so choose. Trouble is, they rarely use this discretion 
on anyone other than white middle class students or professionals.

Prohibition is unfair, inequitable and does not stop anyone from 
using cannabis. Prohibition endagers youth by criminalising them out 
of all proportion to the gravity of the offence, putting them in 
touch with people who sell other drugs, and abdicating control of the 
cannabis market to anyone who is prepared to break the law.

Chris Fowlie, spokesperson, National Organisation for the Reform of 
Marijuana Laws, NZ Inc.
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