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Make P a police priority, says Nandor

26 November, 2003
Make P a police priority, says Nandor

Green MP Nandor Tanczos today challenged the police to declare an amnesty on personal cannabis offences so they can redistribute their resources toward coming down hard on the manufacturers of methamphetamine (P).

His challenge came ahead of tomorrow night's debate on cannabis law reform with Progressive Party deputy Matt Robson.

Nandor, the Green spokesperson for Drug Policy, called for the police to put more resources into targeting the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine, money which he said could easily be found if the police stopped arresting personal users of cannabis.

"The police said that reclassifying methamphetamine would allow them to make it a police priority," said Nandor. "However, the amount spent on chasing the manufacture and distribution of P pales into insignificance compared to what the police are prepared to spend on cannabis.

"Its time for the police to put their money where their mouth is. More than $19 million is spent annually on cannabis by the police, but they're relying on a $6.6 million Government top-up to target methamphetamine.

"We know that the police currently spend more than half of their budget for drugs on cannabis offences. The majority of that is for simple personal use.

"The police have to wake up to the fact that most people don't want to see them wasting precious resources busting people for smoking a joint," said Nandor.

"Lets see them using that money to target P makers. We are totally opposed to the use of P and offer to work with the Government on ways to end its use in New Zealand. Harassing people for personal cannabis use is counter-productive to achieving that aim.

"New Zealand has the highest rate of cannabis arrests in the world, with 22,000 convictions each year. That's just stupid when we have a growing P epidemic."

Tomorrow night, Nandor and the Progressive's Matt Robson will debate cannabis law reform at the Otahuhu Town Hall, 10 High Street in South Auckland, beginning at 7.30pm.

ENDS

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