Tuesday, December 08, 2009

De facto decriminalisation of cannabis in NZ

I missed this article by Mike Sabin at Voxy last week, where the anti-drugs campaigner bemoans a scheme that all but decriminalises cannabis possession:
"Unfortunately, while the Police will be making the most of this new legislation, at the same time they are effectively waiving a white flag to the customers whose demand supports drug dealers, with a trial of a new policy of warnings for minor offences being widened across Auckland and likely to go nation-wide" said Mr. Sabin. Following a three month pilot on the North Shore in Auckland, Police have announced that they have extended the trial for six months across wider Auckland and will see Police under new 'formal guidelines' issuing warnings at their discretion for offences with maximum penalties of 2 years imprisonment or less, including shoplifting, possession of knives, common assault and possession of cannabis.
Even more telling is the support for this scheme coming from Auckland mayors Len Brown and John Banks:
Super Mayoralty candidates Len Brown and John Banks have signalled their support for the scheme but according to Mr. Sabin "they seem to be missing obvious points regarding their call to maintain a 'zero-tolerance' mantra, in that an endless stream of warnings to offenders, none of which attract any real accountability is hardly likely to deliver any sort of deterrence. To the contrary in fact I believe it sends clear signals that Police see pursuing these sort of minor offences as 'pointless', something already stated by frontline officers to some media" claimed Mr. Sabin.
Working on the principle that anything that annoys Mike Sabin is a good idea, I am impressed that cannabis decriminalisation has occurred under a National government, not a Labour one.