Legalise cannabis tour arrives at Parliament

By Kate Chapman of NZPA

Protestors rally on the grass outside Parliament in Wellington to promote cannabis law reform. Photo / NZPA
Protestors rally on the grass outside Parliament in Wellington to promote cannabis law reform. Photo / NZPA

Sheathed in a cloud of smoke, more than 100 people gathered on Parliament's front lawn this morning to promote the benefits of cannabis over its legal counterparts alcohol and tobacco.

The protest was part of the Armistice Tour - a nationwide promotion of cannabis law reform.

Despite the presence of police and parliamentary security guards many of those present were openly smoking cannabis cigarettes.

Spokesman Dakta Green told NZPA cannabis was a more natural, healthier option than other drugs and did not fuel crime.

"You smoke a toke on a joint right now, you're not going to all of a sudden going to be overcome with the urge to go out and rob a bank or belt somebody over the head.

"There's nothing within cannabis that turns you into a criminal."

The illegality of cannabis was what attracted criminals to use and trade it, he said.

While some people used cannabis for medicinal purposes, Mr Green said he wanted to see full legalisation.

"You cannot overdose on cannabis. There are many people that have died from drinking too much alcohol, one night of heavy drinking and you can die, tobacco will almost certainly kill you.... cannabis has never killed anybody."

More than 400,000 people were part of the cannabis culture including lawyers, judges and teachers, Mr Green said.

That meant they were regular consumers of cannabis and enjoyed using it.

"You cannot keep locking us up when the science says cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco to the individual and to the community."

Those gathered today were asking MPs to make peace with members of the cannabis culture.

Mr Green was part of the Daktory which opened in Auckland two years ago as a place where cannabis users could meet.

He said they had been holding temporary Daktorys as they toured the country and were looking to set up a permanent one in Hawke's Bay and Wellington.

They were restricted to people aged over 18 and no alcohol or other drugs were allowed.

Mr Green will stand trial in November following his arrest during a raid on the Auckland Daktory in January.

He hopes that trial will highlight his cause and that he will be cleared.

NZPA

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