I have been reading a few news items, on ‘J-day’ in Aotearoa/NZ.. apparently Police ‘used discretion’ when reportedly, not arresting anyone at the 6 events advertised. It’s interesting to hear this, because in several recent medicinal use cases, people were arrested/prosecuted ! (no discretion was used ?)
I most cases, J-day now just gets a passing mention in the media (a bit of a non-event.. no longer really news-worthy) BUT methinks this would be different if the police sent out lines of ‘paddy wagons’ to round-up the 1000s of people smoking the herb in public, then putting them before the courts ? This just highlights that this is now seen, more as a ‘political stunt’, rather than a real ‘law & order’ issue.
At a similar, recent protest there were reportedly a few arrests of ‘high profile ring-leaders’ BUT the truth is, again its about making political statements; rather than ‘ENFORCING the law’.
I read the following comments/statements in local media:
“We want people to be able to come together and meet other cannabis users. All around us are pubs but there is nowhere for cannabis users to go, hang out and meet each other – social connections are important.” said a spokesperson
‘She wanted people to stop judging cannabis users “for their choice of intoxicant”.
“Cannabis is much safer than alcohol so why are we trying to stop people using it?”
‘A police spokeswoman said there were no reported incidents or arrests in relation to J Day in Dunedin.’
“The role of police was to enforce the law and the police approach to cannabis had not changed,” she said.
“Police officers do, however, have discretion on how they deal with a range of matters, including cannabis offences, on a case-by-case basis.”
Whilst most people at J-day, likely realise that they could be arrested, in these cases of ‘civil disobedience’, is has become highly unlikely. It also proved (IMHO) that prohibition; is the ‘bigger harm’ than smoking the herb !