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NORML Demands An End To Cannabis Arrests

NORML Conference Demands An End To Cannabis Arrests

The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) New Zealand called for an immediate halt to cannabis arrests at its AGM in Wellington this weekend.

Re-elected NORML President Chris Fowlie said, "The latest police crime statistics show there is a New Zealander currently arrested every 24 minutes on a simple cannabis charge. I strongly urge the Government to declare an immediate moratorium on these arrests while the Health Select Committee conducts its inquiry."

Mr Fowlie was recently arrested and charged for cannabis possession.

"The inquiry has been told that the police do not go around looking for cannabis smokers, but that's exactly what happened to me. We urge the government to consider the merits of an amnesty on cannabis arrests so that average New Zealanders can present their evidence without fear of retribution" he added.

Deborah Morris, spokesperson for the Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform, said "This is an historic year for the cannabis law reform movement. We finally have a Government that is willing to consider the evidence that more harm is caused by cannabis prohibition than by cannabis use itself. Unfortunately, despite this progress, New Zealand continues to have the highest cannabis arrest rate in the world.

"In the interests of open and honest debate, I urge the government to halt all cannabis arrests and allow the half million New Zealanders who choose to use cannabis to participate without fear in the Health Select Committee inquiry into the legal status of cannabis." She added.

The conference also formally ratified NORML's partner status within the Coalition for Cannabis Law Reform - a group of organisations and individuals united in their opposition to the failed policy of prohibition.

Elected to the NORML board for 2001 were Adrian Picot as Treasurer, Victoria Northfield and Alannagh Donnegon as Joint Secretaries, Ben Knight as Communications Manager, Russell Cronin as Medical Marijuana Advocate, and Jeanette Saxby and Duncan Eddy as South Island Representatives.

Contact: Chris Fowlie

President NORML NZ

Ph. 025 297 6843


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