I read some further stats. on cannabis convictions, for possession/use only in Aotearoa/NZ (2015) : Total – 1,105
Here is a breakdown based on ‘ethnicity’: European 532 (48%), Maori (indigenous) 475 (43%), Pacific Islands 67 (6%), Other 26 (2%), ‘unknown’ 5 (>1%)
BUT the telling stat. is the number of Maori/Indigenous people, who make up about 15% of the general population, but 43% in these figures & about 50% of the total prison muster.
The report points to figures from a recent poll (UP; on other ones, from recent years):
‘A majority of New Zealanders now support the decriminalisation of ‘marijuana’, according to a poll released last month by the New Zealand Drug Foundation.’
‘The survey, conducted by the same company that polls for the National Party (governing party), Curia, indicated almost 65% of New Zealanders think cannabis should be either legalised or decriminalised, and 52% think growing for personal use should follow suit.’
The report talks about our current Prime Minister saying, he (& his Govt.) have no plans to further reform/relax the laws.. BUT seems to accept the issue that has further come to light; Police using ‘discretion’ in whether to arrest ‘drug offenders’ based on the situation. This has been deemed similar to ‘defacto decriminalisation’ in about half of the cases (small quantities), that Police come across ?
Estimates are that about 400,000 kiwis (amongst highest rates, per capita in the world) use cannabis on an ongoing basis BUT these stats show that only about 0.28% of this number were actually arrested, at least once in 2015. Again; the telling figure is that Maori are being arrested at over twice the rates of ‘non-maori’. This seems to mirror figures overseas, amongst Indigenous Peoples. It could be that their use rate is twice that of other ethnic groups, BUT I seriously doubt that ?!
Then there are these comments/opinions on the Prime Minister’s stance:
‘Our prime minister remains adamant the cannabis law will not change under his leadership, regardless of what the public thinks. In fact, (the PM) indicated that while he doesn’t support /de jure/ decriminalisation, he is happy for the police to continue their policy of informal decriminalisation. That’s a strange, logically inconsistent approach. It becomes even more problematic given the disproportionate rate of Māori convictions.’
‘It is concerning too that he seems to think that formalising what is essentially the status quo would be “sending a message” that “increased drug use is OK”. Since when is it the job of the government to be sending messages by implication? This isn’t about morality – people’s lives and liberty are at stake.’
‘And if there’s a message to be sent, how about this: “It’s not OK to support an approach that risks targeting the most vulnerable and feeding systemic racism in the name of political expediency”
* I agree 100% on these statements.. this current Govt. seem increasingly poll driven, BUT on this issue are totally ignoring them; ‘Why is this so ?’
“What do we want ?” LAW REFORM
“When do we want it ?” NOW !!!