Reform group to keep toking

By Mike Dinsdale

JOINT: A police officer holding a cannabis joint arrests a man for allegedly smoking the drug after more than 20 cannabis reform protesters gathered at Whangarei's Town Basin yesterday, with some openly smoking cannabis in front of police.PHOTO/JOHN STONE
JOINT: A police officer holding a cannabis joint arrests a man for allegedly smoking the drug after more than 20 cannabis reform protesters gathered at Whangarei's Town Basin yesterday, with some openly smoking cannabis in front of police.PHOTO/JOHN STONE

A cannabis law reform group has vowed to continue smoking the drug in public in Whangarei until marijuana laws are reformed, despite the arrest of four people during a protest yesterday.

Four people were arrested for allegedly openly smoking or possessing cannabis at Whangarei's Town Basin during a protest by cannabis law reform campaigners.

More than 20 people gathered at the Town Basin around 4.20pm with three police officers keeping an eye on the protesters from the group Roaring Lions Cannabis Community Whangarei.

Several of the protesters allegedly openly lit and smoked cannabis joints, sparking three arrests, including the group's spokeswoman.

An officer then read the remaining group a Bill of Rights warning and searched them under the Misuse of Drugs Act and allegedly found cannabis in one bag and a man was arrested for allegedly possessing the cannabis.

This was the third consecutive Friday the group has held public protests, with the first outside Whangarei Courthouse and the second in Mair Park.

The group has vowed it will continue the protests until cannabis laws are reformed so that the drug is legalised.

The spokeswoman said the group wanted cannabis to be legalised for personal use for people aged over 18. She said members were fully aware that they could be arrested.

She said several states in the United States and Canada had legalised the drug for personal use "and it's just a matter of time before it happens here."

Whangarei Police Sergeant John Larkin said the law is that cannabis is illegal and people who smoked or possessed it in public would be arrested.

- Northern Advocate

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