Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: We have to rethink the annual cannabis recovery operation – or at least honestly account for its cost

43 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Russell Brown,

    Report this morning from a resident: " ... full tilt operation unlike any we've seen in 12 years at Te Henga. Breaching the rahui on the ranges, pouring poison from helicopters. Handful of plants destroyed and a few hapless home growers dragged off."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    So is that 'kindness' budget touted at Davos already in the red then? Or is it just lag between an idea and its implementation. Either way not a good look

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • cindy baxter,

    Full tilt again in Piha, Karekare this last weekend, with chopper hanging what looks like a camera on a long rope, and police Cessna also circling. Last year this was followed by an Army chopper with people hanging out of it suspended all of 10m above my gardens, peering in, completely freaking out the dog. That they are spending money on the army to do this seems like an awful waste of money.

    The raids will come next. Last year a friend was raided for his TWO plants (turns out previous tenant had been a P dealer but cops hadn't realised this guy had moved in - even though he's been there for at least three years), and the police were apologetic.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell,

    I agree that this is a waste of public resources that could be better used elsewhere, and highly intrusive for residents in the areas getting searched like this. But I have mixed feelings about the complaint concerning the medicinal cannabis grow. I don't doubt the therapeutic value of these products, but everyone involved in the manufacture and supply knows they are breaking the law and they should not be surprised when this sort of thing happens. People seem to think that it is fait accompli that cannabis is going to be decriminalised and even that they can start behaving now as if that had already happened. The reality is that it is probably going to take years for that to happen (if it does at all), the outcomes may not be optimal even if/when it does, and that the Police are not going to just look the other way in the meantime.

    And while I sympathise with Pearl Schomburg, I really don't want to live in country where politicians get to give orders to Police about which laws they should be enforcing and which they should just let slide.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Russell,

    The reality is that it is probably going to take years for that to happen (if it does at all), the outcomes may not be optimal even if/when it does, and that the Police are not going to just look the other way in the meantime.

    And while I sympathise with Pearl Schomburg, I really don't want to live in country where politicians get to give orders to Police about which laws they should be enforcing and which they should just let slide.

    There's a forthcoming amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will explicitly guide police discretion away from prosecution where a health-based response would be more appropriate, or where prosecution would not be in the public interest. It's a pretty big deal.

    But the police have been finding ways to not prosecute possession for more than a decade. That's the reason that cannabis prosecutions have been declining. And two weeks ago, Tamara Garlick just got a warning after being caught growing 45 plants on her property.

    So it's entirely reasonable to ask why this expensive, intrusive annual exercise continues. This isn't just police "applying the law", and the behaviour Cindy describes above reads like a violation of the "reasonable expectation of privacy" guaranteed in the Bill of Rights Act. It's reasonable to worry about that, about the use of military resources for police business, about the fact that no one will say what the total cost is – and about whether there are better uses for that money.

    I realise your point was about the medicinal angle, but there's already a situation where green fairies are taking up the slack while regulations get written – hence the statutory defence in the medicinal cannabis bill for people in palliative care. It just seems odd to go this hard after the small producers of the products the law acknowledges those patients will use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I agree with all of this except the bit about privacy in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Privacy is not one of the rights guaranteed in that Act. It isn't even mentioned.

    Having Parliament change the law would be good. Sooner the better. The bit I worry about is when we start either allowing politicians to dictate to the Police which laws they should or should not be enforcing, or when we give the Police more "discretion" to make those decisions themselves. I think those are exactly the sort of good intentions that pave the way to somewhere unpleasant. Do you trust the Police to make those sorts of decisions in a fair and reasonable way?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Nick Russell,

    I agree with all of this except the bit about privacy in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. Privacy is not one of the rights guaranteed in that Act. It isn't even mentioned.

    No, true. But that seems to be the yardstick legal commentators reach for in trying to define what constitutes an "unreasonable search" under the Act.

    or when we give the Police more "discretion" to make those decisions themselves. I think those are exactly the sort of good intentions that pave the way to somewhere unpleasant. Do you trust the Police to make those sorts of decisions in a fair and reasonable way?

    But that is what's been happening – the Police finding ways not to prosecute because the legislature won't go there. It use to really piss me off when John Key would merrily declare that there was no need for law reform because the police would just use their discretion.

    The (predictable) result seems to be that the usual social and ethnic biases carry over into the exercise of discretion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Hence my concern about giving the Police more discretion. On the whole I think it would be better if they had less.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 122 posts Report Reply

  • Sandra Coney,

    If you were like me and have groups and individuals repeatedly growing dope on your property you would welcome the police blitz. When a fire went through part of my land 11 weed growing areas showed up. Its very unsettling to think that people are getting around on your property doing illegal things. I was curious about the plane and helicopter but it was not troubling. There are far more serious things for Piha to worry abt than a very occasional raid. I have seen people I know well turn into zoned out zombies on weed. It is not harmless. I really think the current stuff about medicinal marijuana is for some people a smokescreen for access for recreational use. Already the big business money-makers are hovering. I have no problem with legalisation of medicinal use, but many want a lot more than that.and it will bring a whole new set of problems related to young people, harm and yet another route to addiction.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2019 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Hence my concern about giving the Police more discretion. On the whole I think it would be better if they had less.

    When you give the Police full discretion, they tend to continue arresting those of us with higher levels of skin pigmentation...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Boden, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There's a forthcoming amendment to the Misuse of Drugs Act which will explicitly guide police discretion away from prosecution where a health-based response would be more appropriate, or where prosecution would not be in the public interest. It's a pretty big deal.

    My reading of that is the amendment is that it requires the Police to justify using prosecution, which in a sense is de facto decriminalization (which you already know I'm in favor of).

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Sandra Coney,

    welcome the police blitz

    If you fire off your address to 'em Im sure they'll be right over.

    zoned out zombies

    What did you expect polite conversations about the weather.

    a whole new set of problems related to young people, harm and yet another route to addiction.

    I think your barking up the wrong tree there, try the one marked P.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Joe Boden,

    My reading of that is the amendment is that it requires the Police to justify using prosecution, which in a sense is de facto decriminalization (which you already know I’m in favor of).

    Yep, it is, for all drugs. I was astonished that the Parliamentary National Party banged on about the very limited statutory defence in the new medicinal cannabis being “decriminalisation by stealth”, but had very little to say about a measure that actually did fit that description.

    But I’m very conscious that the undesirable trends in North American youth cannabis use that various people have highlighted largely took hold under regimes of decriminalisation and/or permissive medicinal regulation. And that they've slowed, halted or reversed under legalisation,

    Canada has now legalised with the express aim of addressing problems with youth use and I think there’s decent evidence that half-pie measures are the wrong way in the case of cannabis.

    I don’t think a Uruguay-style government monopoly will work in New Zealand. That came out of two factors: the first being that Uruguay already had (but has partially abandoned) a state monopoly on liquor supply; and the second being that the existing black market was full of shitty weed from Paraguay, so even the government weed was attractive.

    I’m interested to see if there’s a sustainable path to Small Cannabis, basically.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall, in reply to andin,

    I think you are way too dismissive of Sandra's post. You have to remember that less than 20% of adults use cannabis annually. Many of the rest of them will largely have negative associations with it.

    They tried it a couple of times at University but never since then. Their "nice" middle-class friends don't use it (perhaps some actually do) and the people they do know who use do will be the loser relative who smokes all day and can never hold a job.

    Sure they will empathize with the elderly white guy with the bad back who can't get pain-relief otherwise, but recreational use has no positive associations.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    Any more anecdotes or simplistic generalizations you'd like to share there Simon? How about more condescending summations about the lives of other people who arent like you? Or who do things easily laughed at around the the table at dinner parties?
    That is the real problem threatening the future of humanity, closed minded status seeking insecure people who constantly seek to denigrate others to make themselves feel secure. Blind to the cost of a narrow life view, it always has been. Entire races have been wiped out, and vast sections of the population have suffered through miserable lives just because they were different, or didnt adhere to an imaginary norm. If you'd like to look at history.

    My apologies to Sandra and Russell if I have caused offense. You didnt think it was funny fine. If we cant laugh at ourselves or others or our egos must be constantly stroked and we must be careful not to cause offense well, it will all end up in litigation. and the Trump's, Weinstein's, Koch's or Duerte's of the world will run the place. meanwhile ..the changes we have to make as a matter of survival just get pushed further out.
    Now where were we.. thats right discussing heavy handed police tactics. Sorry Russell.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall, in reply to andin,

    Andin, the point I am trying to making is that a lot of people are like I said. They do think like that about "drug users". However making the jump to them all being in favor of genocide is a bit much.

    Of course maybe I am making simplistic generalizations about people who are opposed to recreational drug legalization. Perhaps there are a few here that can give their reasons for opposing it.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Lyall, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    I've had a look around and it appears some people are already in a heated discussion on the topic of legalisation elsewhere on this site and probably don't need a duplication of that here.

    I now understand some of the posts here may be influenced by posts over there.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 57 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    I now understand some of the posts here may be influenced by posts over there.

    Heh. You're saying people are under the influence of cannabispolicydebate?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    I think you are way too dismissive of Sandra's post. You have to remember that less than 20% of adults use cannabis annually. Many of the rest of them will largely have negative associations with it.

    I realise it's not the point you're making, but I do actually empathise with Sandra on the element of trespass. I get how that would feel violating.

    The solution, of course, would be to remove the need for clandestine growing on other people's property by letting people grow a couple of plants at home.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And that goes back to the discretion issues raised earlier. Some people do and they get caught but because they are not seen as “crims” they are ok.

    Driving a Range Rover when not white is a high risk activity and it shouldn’t be. I.e. not everyone experiences (application of) the law in the same way. We need transitional thinking about upcoming policy changes as well as better recognition of the cultural nuances of law enforcement.

    Legal people prefer some form of test of what discretion would be like. So I agree with Nick from earlier comments – but discretion can be codified and seems like there is an opportunity to do that as part of transition policy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 364 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    the element of trespass

    I would rather see police focus their resources on that aspect - which does not generally require helicopters, poison, or military people.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Simon Lyall,

    a lot of people are like I said. They do think like that about “drug users”.

    That is a perception in their minds IMO often they are just wrong and they need to change their mind. Not just think they have a right to inflict their moral\legal judgment, and just maybe things might change.

    making the jump to them all being in favor of genocide

    I was making a point by extension, I know it probably wont happen in this case. My bad I guess.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Alistair Goodwin, in reply to Sandra Coney,

    Sandra they are growing cannabis on your property BECAUSE it is illegal. I’m sure they are not growing flowers or vegetables on your land.. As for your views on zombies and pot you are perfectly entitled to them of course ( I’m sure you are in a small minority though) however as you are a councillor I don’t want those views influencing council policy. In my opinion local body politicians should stick to providing ratepayers with infrastructure matters to a high standard at a reasonable cost. I certainly don’t want them making paternalistic moral decisions on my behalf. Also I find your acceptance of the aerial herbicide drenching at odds with your support of restricting public access to the Waitakeres.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2019 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I get how that would feel violating.

    There is a world of difference between a land owner who would never have known of a cannabis grow on a remote corner of their property if the police hadnt been out looking for it. And there were by her account 11 found, must have been a big piece of land and she just happens to be the owner on paper, I doubt she has ever set foot on the spots in question. And the police didnt give her the third degree over the grows.

    And a dawn raid on a house which maybe results in a few grams found and the occupants facing criminal charges.
    So excuse me if I dont feel much sympathy in the first instance.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1881 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to andin,

    must have been a big piece of land and she just happens to be the owner on paper, I doubt she has ever set foot on the spots in question. And the police didnt give her the third degree over the grows.

    Some assumptions in there. Not convinced it helps the conversation.

    And Alistair, Sandra is no longer a councillor.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.