Cannabis campaigners light up at Parliament
Thu, 11 Nov 2010 6:00p.m.
By Dan Parker
Police turned a blind eye to protesters openly smoking cannabis in the grounds of Parliament today.
The police attitude was in marked contrast to at least one previous occasion when they made arrests.
About 120 people took part in the pro-cannabis march, and now some of them have gathered outside the Wellington Central Police Station where they have a cunning plan.
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Protesters marched to Parliament to demand a law change decriminalising cannabis; it's a law they have no respect for and one they were quick to break, and all under the watchful eye of police.
“Our role is to make sure this protest is peaceful and everyone gets away on time and in good humour,” said senior sergeant Scott Miller.
Bucket bongs, joints and a pipe lit with a magnifying glass were used to smoke up; there was even a hash cake although the decorator may have eaten some first.
Click here to see how not to make a cannabis cake
But no matter how much was puffed there was still no movement from police – does this signal a change in stance by police?
“Well that's not a comment I can make in relation to an overall stance by the police,” Mr Miller said.
Police say it was the Speaker Lockwood Smith's office who issued the directive to only arrest protesters if they climbed over the barrier or became violent. Those two problems never threatened to fire up.
“I think it’s an appropriate action on the police part,” says pro-cannabis campaigner Dakta Green.
Rally organiser Dakta Green says over a thousand New Zealanders are currently serving prison sentences for cannabis only offences and Mr Green is pleased that number wasn't increased today.
But inside the Beehive the mood wasn't as jovial; Police Minister Judith Collins wasn't impressed to learn what protestors had got away with.
“Well there is a moron born every moment, you know, people like that,” she said.
“I'm sure if you look at the policing act you'll see that I'm not in a position to tell police how to enforce the law but I also know that if they do enforce the law in matters like that there will be plenty of people willing to criticise them for doing so.”
That was the case in 1996 where a different approach by police ended in violence.
Although on that occasion protesters might have argued provocation.
“Anyone that smokes marijuana and thinks that they are clever is stupid, how many people out there are stupid?” John Banks said at the rally.
But the only MP who attended today's protest was there in support.
“For too long we have avoided the conversation we are having one on alcohol at the moment but when it comes to cannabis the debate has been defined by hype, by exaggeration and outright lies,” says Gareth Hughes.
Over 4,000 signatures were presented to Mr Hughes asking for the decriminalisation of cannabis; activists calling for peace on Armistice Day.
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14/11/2010 4:09:49 p.m.
Alcohol causes foetal alcohol syndrome and death and legally available substances including prescribed medicines, alcohol, tobacco and over-the-counter medications account for more than 99% of all drug deaths...yet they are all LEGAL.Cannabis is the only intoxicating naturally occurring substance that has absolutely, provably ZERO LETHALITY. The lethal dosage potentionals of all the others are known to science and proven and yet the Big Pharma and Big Booze and tobacco industries lobby and succeed in keeping NZers from full ownership of themselves, their bodies and whatever they choose to ingest...it's absolutely outrageous, as the government should have no say over consenting adults bodies nor their private lives. It's well past time to stop the hypocrisy and medicalize all drug issues and normalize pot for adults only, tax it, and deny the gangs their big $ revenues or at least register growers and collect taxes for it.
13/11/2010 7:48:47 p.m.
The Police Minister is the moron, criminalising people for doing nothing but choosing a healthier alternative to legal substances of alcahole, tabacco, caffeine, pharamacuetacils and any others, Marijuana should not be a drug and the facts should no longer be ignored, FREEDOM
12/11/2010 4:59:42 p.m.
People should not be criminalised for using cannabis. If someone has a problem - send them to the doctor not to jail. The government allowing Sativax for medicinal use is a great breakthrough.
12/11/2010 9:05:44 a.m.
Alcohol is far more dangerous and destructive than herb. David you sound like you are still listening to American propaganda from the 1930's on cannabis.
12/11/2010 8:18:02 a.m.
David ,there is a body of evidence to say otherwise ,wont post links here . I used to smoke alot of cannabis ,although i dont now ,has not affected me in any way ,nor did affect me in being able to obtain a degree.
As for Crusher Collins comment,“Well there is a moron born every moment, you know, people like that,” she said.
well here she is again showing her complete ignorance and reationary attitude tinged with a dose of venom.She shouls spend of bit time in hearing this side of the debate instead of mouthing of like that ,lest she be branded a "moron" as well.
12/11/2010 3:41:00 a.m.
i smoke weed everyday and wish i could stop but i like it so much and am too lazy to do so. yes i like getting "high" and i would like laws to be looser so i could grow my own and not have to worry about convictions ect but i wish i was never introduced to buds so early and in such an accepting environment/community. i regret getting addicted to smoking weed.
11/11/2010 10:46:15 p.m.
There is insufficient evidence to ascertain the safety of cannabis, in fact there are a number of negative effects scientifically attributed to longer term use of the substance, including schizophrenia and paranoia. The state needs to grow a pair and enforce the law as it is.
11/11/2010 9:13:08 p.m.
Having smoked a bit of pot and hash in my time all over the planet I supported the "smoke up" at parliament, however I can't believe the idiots who later descended on the Wellington Police Station and lit a dope bonfire inside. Do they really think that the public at large have been drawn to their cause?I would have arrested the lot of them if I were the cops especially that dickhead who is their spokesperson.If you really want marijuana legalised you might not want to behave like drunken bogan dicks.
11/11/2010 7:34:01 p.m.
The writing has been on the wall for a long time about this issue, politicians just don't care to hear it. I'm reminded of the final days of prohibition of homosexuality. In the early '80s in a lot of workplaces and social circles it was widely tolerated. However, it only took one person to make a fuss and the law against homosexuality was still in place. When I first joined the workforce in 1985, there were two very openly gay guys where I worked. Nobody cared, but they were taking a terrible risk. The boss could have fired them in an instant. One formal complaint against them and the boss might have found himself forced to sack them. Where I work now, there are a number of people who make no secret of the fact they smoke cannabis at home. However, the boss is keen to bring in random drug testing. If he does, he will have evidence that they smoke and could make an issue of it even if it doesn't occur in the workplace. I hope in the near future persecuting people for smoking cannabis in their private lives will seem as crazy as trying to fire gays was less than 30 years ago. There are a lot of differences with those two issues. They both touch on whether or not your boss should punish you for what you do in your private time. However, there is no piss test that will alert your boss to the fact you did something gay three weeks ago.
11/11/2010 7:24:48 p.m.
Good on ya Dakta green!
Let the war end!
Cannabis is safe!
Alcohol is the problem in our nation, lets free up police time and resources and end prohibition... it simply DOES NOT WORK!
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