Police swoop on cannabis protest

Abe GrayPolice have made good on a promise to crack down on marijuana smokers on the University of Otago campus, arresting a student and issuing two people with trespass notices at a regular cannabis-smoking protest yesterday.

And it will not be their last visit, police have promised.

At least two people "scarpered" when five police officers joined university proctor Simon Thompson yesterday at one of the Otago branch of marijuana law reform group Norml's twice-weekly "4.20" meetings on campus, police tactical squad leader Sergeant Chris McLellan said.

A 35-year-old student was arrested during the meeting and charged with possessing cannabis and a cannabis pipe. Two 17-year-old youths were issued trespass notices banning them from the university for two years.

A school pupil in uniform was seen among the group.

Last week, police threatened to clamp down on the meetings, saying there was evidence they were being infiltrated by gangs and convicted drug dealers.

Police were fed up with the group continually thumbing its nose at the authorities, Inspector Dave Campbell said.

A university spokesman said the university had increasing concerns about the group and had asked police to do something about it.

Otago Norml leader Abe Gray said last night club members were not happy about what they believed was a "gross misuse of police resources".

He questioned police grounds for issuing trespass notices and debated whether one of the 17-year-olds was smoking cannabis.

Sgt McLellan said police had issued the teens with trespass notices because they believed they were there with the intention of associating with the protest and smoking cannabis. Mr Gray said members were disappointed with the university's stance on the matter.

"If the university is going to act in a heavy-handed manner towards people who are prospective students just because they don't like the way they dress or they are scared they are going to smoke marijuana, then they won't come here at all."

He said the 4.20 club would not be intimidated and would continue to meet as usual.


Police swoop on campus protest

My immediate reaction was 'If police are going to be at the university then perhaps they should show some intelligence'. Of course the same could be said of some students! However, the stupidity some students show is usually because of short-term brain damage caused by indulgence in a legal drug called alcohol.
Nothing stupid about the police's use of the media though - the article gives the impression that the police have actually achieved something, even though their "huff and puff" has done nothing to stop the 4:20 protests. People who spout law and order clichés, should realise that civil disobedience is a long established technique in trying to change unjust laws.

Police obliged to turn up

Hey guess what newsbud? I agree with you that the drug laws in NZ need a complete overhaul.
I think that balancing a drug's health harm (and EVERYTHING has negative health effects in one way or another) against ONLY medicinal benefits, not quality of life, and then ignoring that principle for drugs which are historically widespread in society, is a complete dog's breakfast of a legislative practise. But "breaking a law" is not the same thing as "debating a law".
4:20 groups, if dope were smoked in the meeting, involve breaking the law. Would that all armed robbers distributed flyers announcing the time and venue of their plans! No, I'm not saying that NORML are as bad as armed robbers (although I think one point made by cannabis protestors is that the law makes them associate on occasion with real criminals in order to pursue their pasttime). I'm saying that if you announce to all and sundry that a couple of dozen people are going to break even a minor law, the police practically have a categorical imperative to turn up.

The law is unjust?

So lawbreaking can be justified by the lawbreaker's belief that said law is unjust? Tell that to the court.

Unbelivable (sic)?

I'll tell you what's unbelievable: that you, Macdoc, are 79 years old. That is not consistent with your language and writing style.

Goal of the protest

The fact is that the "protest" is an election year ploy - the public declarations of "dozens of us are breaking the law" had to have a police reaction, and arrests and "oppression" would be good for the political campaign. Of course, it would be bad for any 18yr-old. first year who happened to believe Abe Gray when he claims that "refusing to recognise the law" would affect the result in any good way. I suppose he's prepared for one or two people to have a drugs charge on their record when they graduate, but I'm not sure that they know how it might affect their careers - and the Undie 500 has apparently ruined the "I might want to go to the USA someday" defence (if you follow the court news).

Police swoop on cannabis protest????

I believe that this protest has lost its way. The fact that dealers, and prospective dealers, have found this a lure, and the attraction that the protest presents to wayward school-aged youth should not have been tolerated by this law reform organisation. In allowing these inceptions the protest has asked for all the attention that it is currently getting from the police. The fact that to date only three arrests have been made, and none for dealing or even conspiracy to deal, should be a clear indication that the police do not want to waste resources here but send a message to the fifty or so that frequent the protest. The organisers need to review their policy and the issues that they are fighting. Are the protests still about cannabis law reform, or has the protest become a quorum for the cannabis market. The group needs to get real. However, this may take sometime as their heads reel with paranoia and conspiracy about the arbitrary use of police power. Stop! and take a hard honest look at what has happened.

What do we do with all of the criminals?

So being tough on law breakers is the way to do things? What do we do with all of the criminals? Build new multi million dollar prisons to house them, use taxpayer money to fund them, feed the crims and keep them warm, or not arrest cannabis smokers and use that money for other things like schools and hospitals, or prehaps more tax cuts? You only need look at the American model of prohibition to see how many tax dollars get spent each year keeping innocent people locked up. Youth are everywhere and will be involved in everything. Is this such a bad thing having motivated educated people discussing prohibition and the associated effects? Now is the time for informed talk on the legal status of all drugs. - newsbud


Cannabis is illegal, and yet two select committies (one under a labour government, and one under a national government) recommended reviewing the legal status, and both also concluded that the current system of prohibition caused more harm than good.
You seem to believe that everyone who smokes cannabis will move on to harder drugs! This is incorrect and misguided.

Cannabis smoking on campus

We are breaking a law but the law is unjust.
With regards to parliament:
a) Cannabis was smoked on parliament grounds several times as part of the 2008 Cannabus Tour. It's been done.
b) We don't live in Wellington.
Do you not think we've contacted politicians? Hell, two politicians were in attendence last Friday.
And we are flouting the law as an act of protest. It can be both, not just one or the other.

Cannabis smoking on campus

Those who participate in the 'protest' are breaking the law, pure and simple. If you are willing to break the law, you should accept the consequences. What, exactly, is smoking pot on university grounds going to achieve? If they were serious about their cause, the parliamentary grounds have a lovely big lawn. That is the place to protest against laws. We have access to politicians, contact them. The university can do nothing to change the law and is right to act when it sees the law being broken on its grounds. Norml are flouting the law, not protesting it.

Police swoop on cannabis protest

I say good on the police. Cannabis is illegal and just because you are a student does not mean you can get away with it. We need to be tougher on people who break the law - especially the minor offences. I read that 17 year olds are involved, which makes it even more necessary for the police to take serious action before these people get addicted to even more powerful drugs.

I can't believe

I can't believe the police and the university think that this is even an issue. I walk past this group on my way home from work and the idea that this is some kind of gang meeting is absolutely ridiculous. I'm sure the police will accuse them of being on P next.
This group is a weekly peaceful protest. The police officers who thought that it was a good idea to arrest any of their number should have their tax dollars spent on the court case; because I'm sick of mine being used to punish people for smoking a plant when we don't have enough hospital beds or primary school teachers.

Police swoop on cannabis protest

If you'll notice the fact that the arrests are occurring at a protest then you'll see that this is totally about the legal status of cannabis. For years now the group have been quietly protesting about the law and nothing has been done about it, other than innocent people becoming criminals for enjoying a joint. Can anyone remember the days of alcohol prohibition and all the fuss that was created about its legal status. Now why are alcohol and pot so different? Is it because of the money being made by the breweries? Is it that freedom of political activities during an election year need be hushed, or does the university believe in a prison state rather than open and free thought. - newsbud

Police swoop on cannabis protest

It has nothing to do with legalising it. It is the blatent arrogance and disrgard for the law that currently stands.

Police swoop on cannabis protest

This is just so unbelivable...don't the cops have something better to do? Pot is no differnt then beer....
I can't believe it's 2008 and we are still aresting people for pot....or protesting pot being outlawed....I'm 79 years old and think pot should have been legalised years ago...