Monday, June 30, 2014

Police react to changing attitudes to cannabis

Over the weekend the results of a Herald poll showed:
Public opinion on smoking weed is turning towards decriminalisation, according to a new poll.
A Herald DigiPoll survey published on Saturday shows almost a third of those surveyed supported decriminalisation, saying they thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction.
Twenty-five per cent went even further and said they think it should be legalised.
Among National Party supporters, 45 per cent supported decriminalisation or legalisation.
However, 53.8 per cent said they favoured keeping the status quo...
...However, the government says it doesn't favour the approach.
"We do not think there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise, which outweigh the harm it causes to society," Justice Minister Judith Collins told Fairfax.
This morning the NZ Police have issued this statement:  
Police believe the true success of this year’s national cannabis operation is not the drugs destroyed, the guns seized or the suspects arrested but rather the harm that has been prevented from occurring in the community.
Detective Senior Sgt. Scott McGill said that during Operation Lucy 105,000 cannabis plants were destroyed, 112 firearms seized and 640 suspects arrested.
“The cannabis trade is a destructive force in New Zealand society,” Mr McGill said. “By destroying over 100,000 plants before they were harvested police have prevented significant social damage from occurring in our community.”
Mr McGill said the arrest of 64 patched gang members or associates during Operation Lucy shows the strong connection between organised crime and the cannabis trade.
“We are very pleased with the results from this year’s operation which show our commitment to restrict the influence of these organised criminal groups.”
An analysis of this could lead to a conclusion that the police also support decriminalisation (though I doubt that was the intention). When they say their greatest success is in the harm  prevented they do not allude to any inherent harm in the cannabis itself. It is, the police say, the cannabis trade that is destructive. They go on to describe why, by referring to 64 patched gang members/associates and firearms seized.

Many people who support change do so because of the criminality illegal trade breeds. This statement from the police won't change their position. It will probably reinforce it.

1 comment:

JC said...

Maybe it will change over time and with familiarity but legalising pot in Colorado has likely increased crime.