"I am very concerned by the level of ‘fighting talk’ displayed by the Police at this moment and do not want to see armed officers going into every house they come across that smells of cannabis."
Phil Saxby pointed out that official figures showed 15% of adult Kiwis use cannabis every year. "That is over 400,000 * New Zealanders put at risk and would only mean disaster for New Zealand," he said. "The Police Association has already warned that this move would actually mean more people getting shot."
"In the so-called ‘war on drugs’, some – perhaps most – of those people could be young. Someone’s teenage son or daughter is growing some cannabis for themselves in their flat when the police come knocking about something unrelated, smell drugs and come in with weapons."
"Statistically, 18 – 25 year olds are the most likely users of illegal drugs, which means as a group they are most at-risk of being caught up in any violent outcome associated with drug use."
"It might be someone’s 15 year-old who happens to be at the local tinny-shop when a raid goes down, guns drawn. This is not the New Zealand anyone wants to see."
"In the United States, warrant less searches by armed police regularly end in the suspect's fatality, often when no drugs are actually found."
"NORML has deep compassion for the shot officers and their slain dog but arming police is not the answer. Ending the criminalisation of all drugs – cannabis most urgently of all – is."
"Decriminalisation is just a beginning", says Phil Saxby. "We should be aiming at a regulated, taxable market for all low-risk drugs." (um, just like we have in Class D "restricted substances regulations" Phil! /Blair)
"Growing cannabis is not a violent crime but arming oneself with a gun and then using it to protect an illegal and highly valuable crop is. By regulating the supply of cannabis, we will reduce the number of situations when police will need to use guns."
*figure derived from the Law Commission’s discussion paper (Feb 2010) on the Misuse of Drugs Act.