Arrest stats. show defacto Decrim.

I have been seeing stats. that appear to confirm that either cannabis use has decreased OR that NZ Police have effectively implemented a ‘turn a blind eye/defacto decrim.’ regime, in recent years. I’m actually presuming that their arrest focus has moved to other ‘priorities’.

A newspaper report:

‘The number of people charged with cannabis offences has fallen 60 per cent in the past six years – further fuelling calls for government action on drug law reform.’

‘Ministry of Justice figures released under the Official Information Act to NZME revealed the number of people charged with cannabis offences fell from 8889 to 3554 between 2009 and 2015.’

‘Drug Foundation executive director (name removed) said the drop in charges was because police had “almost de facto decriminalised cannabis” possession and were more likely to issue warnings for low-level drug offending, which do not appear on an individual’s criminal record.’

‘The release of the figures follow a recent Drug Foundation poll which found 64 per cent of Kiwis surveyed said a small amount of cannabis for personal use should be decriminalised or legalised, and 79 per cent were in favour of allowing it for medical use, such as pain relief.’

The Ministry of Police responded:

‘A spokeswoman from the office of Police Minister (name removed) did not respond directly to (Drug foundation spokesperson’s) comments, but said police applied discretion when dealing with low-level offending.’

BUT under the current law:

‘Possession of cannabis can result in up to three months’ imprisonment and/or a $500 fine.’

This from an addiction specialist:

‘He said a Law Commission review from 2011, which outlined drug reform recommendations, was ignored by the Government.’

“It shows how old fashioned our politicians are. They’re just not having a modern conversation about what’s really happening with substances in our society”

This response from the NZ Drug foundation:

“Politicians should now be able to proceed with cautious reform without fear of a voter backlash, but any new system needs to protect young people and those communities that already experience the harmful effects of drug use. Any new approach should be carefully designed to improve not worsen drug harm” (I agree 100%)

Here are some stats from the report:
*Number of cannabis possession convictions, District and Youth courts*

*Auckland, Manukau and North Shore:* (largest city in NZ)
2009: 858
2010: 686
2011: 513
2012: 530
2013: 426
2014: 389
2015: 332

*Hamilton:* (a large city, Nth Island)
2009: 267
2010: 197
2011: 217
2012: 160
2013: 115
2014: 120
2015: 92

*Wellington:* (NZs Capital city)
2009: 191
2010: 169
2011: 127
2012: 108
2013: 61
2014: 53
2015: 75

*Christchurch* (largest city, Sth Island)
2009: 361
2010: 432
2011: 329
2012: 302
2013: 193
2014: 148
2015: 141

Source: Ministry of Justice

** whilst this is great to read.. ALL cannabis users in Aotearoa/NZ still risk; arrest, prosecution & conviction/punishment.. if you come in contact with about a third of Police officers who appear to still support Prohibition/ZERO-Tolerance ! 😦

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