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