Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

National Day of Action against dope arrests

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Protests are being organised around the country to call for the decriminalization of cannabis. Photo/file
Protests are being organised around the country to call for the decriminalization of cannabis. Photo/file

One of about 20 nationwide protests set to take place outside police stations across the country is planned for Tauranga - aimed at persuading the Government to change the cannabis prohibition laws.

Organisers of the National Day of Action - Stop the Arrests event on September 17 are calling for an immediate moratorium on cannabis arrests, prosecutions and any ongoing investigations into this type of offending.

A protest spokesperson, Brian Borland, said the existing prohibition laws has only made criminals of thousands of ordinary Kiwis, many whom were recreational users.

"Cannabis clearly has some medicinal properties but most people would admit they smoke it to get stoned and help them de-stress and for personal well being reasons. "

He was calling on the police to give any protesters who chose to light up "free passes".

Removing cannabis arrests and investigations from the workload of police would free up officers to deal with far more serious crimes, Mr Bollard argued.

Police national command and emergency management manager Inspector Nick Brown said police respected people's right to lawful protest.

"Police are aware of the planned protest action, and we will have the appropriate resources at each event across the country to deal with any issues that may arise.

"Police as an organisation is well practised in dealing with these events, and our staff will work to ensure an effective response is provided based on the circumstances at the time."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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