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The Price Of Cannabis

The Price Of Cannabis


Last year's illicit drug haul in an annual Northland Police operation equated to more than $100 million in social harm.

This figure is based on the Drug Harm Index which has been designed to help Police and other agencies to concentrate resources in areas where greater harm is being caused by illicit drugs.

Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) developed the index and, like models used in Australia and Great Britain, it highlights the economic costs of the social harms that drugs have on New Zealand society.

The harms related to drug use include a wide range of tangible costs such as crime, lost work output, health service use and other diverted resources. It also includes psychological or intangible costs, such as reduced quality or length of life.

In last year's national crime and cannabis operation (Operation Kelly) Northland Police destroyed 40,158 plants, made 108 arrests, recovered $51,000 worth of stolen property, and located 13 indoor growing operations, one methamphetamine lab, 15g of methamphetamine and 6kg of cannabis leaf/head.

This equated to $107,678,070 in social harm.

Northland Detective Sergeant John Miller says these figures show how much of a blight cannabis and other drugs are on Northland's communities.

"This is why Police continue to target the people who grow, manufacture and supply illicit drugs.

In order to reduce the harm caused by these drugs and the cost to Northlanders we want the public's help in flushing out the dealers and growers."

Mr Miller says the cannabis growing season has started and Police are urging anyone with information on drug operations to come forward.

"Last year we received a lot of information through Crimestoppers and we were able to use that information to carry out a number of search warrants.
The beauty of Crimestoppers is that the informant remains anonymous and Police will never know who gave the information."

Mr Miller says good quality information is vital, so Police can act.
"We would like accurate and detailed information such as locations of growing operations or methamphetamine labs and names of people involved."

"There will be family, friends, and neighbours who are concerned about someone's drug operation, but don't want to be seen talking to Police, so Crimestoppers is an ideal organisation for them to contact."

Mr Miller says farmers and other rural residents are a great source of information regarding drug operations.

"Many of the cannabis growing operations are tucked away in remote locations and if rural residents notice any suspicious activity then a call to local Police or Crimestoppers would be appreciated."

Mr Miller says farmers and other rural residents should take note of any unusual vehicles, people coming and going, and unusual lights at night.

"If people notice suspicious activity they should get vehicle registration numbers, and other vehicle details such as make, model and colour.
They should also take note of the location and time that the activity is occurring."
If people haven't got a legitimate reason for being in the area then they are likely to be cannabis growers."

Mr Miller is also urging retailers, particularly rural supply companies, to be on the look out for people, who are not regular customers, buying large amounts of fencing equipment and plant nutrients.

If anyone has information relating to cannabis growing or dealing then they can contact their local Police station in confidence or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

ends

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