Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Crown v. Switched On Gardener

The recent bust surrounding Switched On Gardener is quickly shaping up to be a landmark test case in NZ law. The story so far; a two year undercover police operation focused on hydroponics supplier Switched On Gardener, as well as their customers. 750 charges against 250 people so far, caught in the nets of Operations Lime and Bitters. Under a more honest regime, it might have been called Gin and Tonic.

A range of criminal charges are being brought under the Misuse of Drugs Act, including conspiracy to commit gardening. If you thought Easter was tough on gardeners, this is the Judeo-Christian jackboot stomping through the Great Satan's veggie patch. By God, we can't jail crooks like the Bridgecorp directors, but we can take a few small business hippies down no worries. You. fucking. cowards.

There are also many asset forfeiture notices being sought under the bright and shiny new Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act as well. Reasonable doubt? Pah. There have been a few minor test cases that the MSM has all but ignored. The sheer scale of assets attempted to be stolen seized by the government this time should keep the MSM's attention. Police accountants are just starting to tally their dibs list from the raid. Homes. Businesses. Jobs. Families.

There's also political consequences. Switched On Gardener is a prime advertiser in NORML News. They also helped sponsor J Day. I'm taking this as a personal attack by a government keen to shut down dissenting voices. It will not work. On a public good basis, I'm goddamned livid. Violent crime is going to go up as the other suppliers fight for vacant territory.

Oh, and breaking news. Parliament has passed an emergency bill raising the tax on roll your own tobacco by 50 percent over two years. Tariana Turia has supported a tax increase on half her voter base. That's taking the excise to around 75 percent of retail cost. The poor get poorer, the rich get richer. And so on.