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Pot clock strikes 100,000 convictions under Labour

30 July, 2004

The pot clock strikes 100,000 convictions under Labour

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said today that the impending 100,000th conviction for cannabis offences under Labour is the price ordinary New Zealanders are paying for the Government's dependence on United Future.

It is expected today that the Arrest-o-Meter on the website of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) which calculates the number of cannabis offences based on official crime statistics, will hit the 100,000 mark since the Labour government was elected in 1999.

"These convictions represent thousands of ordinary New Zealanders who have been criminalised since Labour came to power simply for enjoying the use of a garden herb - despite pre-election statements from Labour MPs that prohibition was unfair and unworkable," said Nandor, the Green Drug Policy spokesperson.

"The cost to New Zealand of enforcing cannabis prohibition has exceeded $200 million since Labour came to power in 1999.

"But the cost to individuals has been enormous. Thousands of New Zealanders have had their life-chances harmed, they've faced humiliation after being paraded through court, and labelled a criminal simply for using a garden herb.

"It's a source of additional shame that a number of these convictions were for genuine medical use," he said.

Nandor said that thousands of New Zealanders were now suffering unjust convictions simply because of the Government's "cheap" confidence and supply agreement with United Future.

"The sad thing is that a number of senior Labour cabinet ministers will have used cannabis at some stage, they know that the current law is unjust, but they continue to support the prohibition of cannabis for political expediency," said Nandor.

ENDS

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