Two people involved in a campaign that publicly flouts marijuana laws are expected to appear in court today after a police bust on "cannabis club" the Daktory Whangarei.
Following the raid yesterday morning, Whangarei area commander Inspector Al Symonds said a 60-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman were likely to be charged with possession of cannabis for supply, and more charges may follow.
The pair are expected to appear in the Whangarei District Court today.
We will continue to work ... to stop the illegal sale of cannabis in Northland.
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"We're at a reasonably early stage, it's a developing situation," Mr Symonds said.
Moments before the two people were taken to Whangarei police station, a post went up on the Daktory Whangarei Facebook page saying: "Club has been raided. We need support at police station now."
Police had been monitoring the alleged cannabis cultivation operation and smoking club - which charges membership fees - since it was established in the Port Rd industrial area last year.
Club founder and spokesman Brian Borland has fronted protests in Whangarei against the existing cannabis prohibition laws and been at the forefront of regular gatherings where cannabis has been smoked openly in public.
The Daktory's Facebook page asked people to go to Whangarei Court today to support those arrested.
Mr Symonds said a significant indoor cannabis growing operation was discovered at the Port Rd unit the Daktory is in yesterday.
Forensic searches at the site could be carried out after Northpower staff checked the safety of a complex electrical set-up at the metal-clad, workshop-style premises.
Mr Symonds said inquiries into the operation had been on-going for several weeks, along with the preparation and planning of search warrants.
"Police must always ensure that we meet the threshold for executing any search power, whether that be by warrant or not, to ensure that any prosecution that is made would not be jeopardised in court," he said.
Mr Borland has said in the media, in public and on social media that the Daktory was member-only club, "not a tinny house".
But two days ago he also wrote on social media that the Daktory's reserve of cannabis had "reached emergency rations", and there would be no more sales "until further notice".
He assured financial members who went to the club to socialise that they "would be looked after, that is what we are about".
His post also said: "For the record: The Daktory Whangarei was built around my commercial cannabis garden which I have had for two years. This is my ninth garden with seven of them being confiscated by the police. Long ago I realised that the only way to get cannabis law change activists was to first supply the cannabis."
Mr Symonds said police took the cultivation and selling of cannabis "very seriously".
"We know the people of Whangarei do not accept this type of behaviour and do not want these drugs on our streets where they cause harm to our community. We will continue to work with our community and partner agencies to stop the illegal sale of cannabis in Northland."
A bystander watching yesterday's police action at the premises told the Northern Advocate it was "pretty well known" that anyone could go to the door, hand over a $5 entry fee and go in to the Daktory.