A peaceful protest against cannabis laws will be held in Rotorua this weekend, one of many being held around New Zealand.

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

Local businessman Andrew Bell will host the Rotorua protest.

He said it would begin at the Village Green and, depending on the crowd, may march to the Rotorua Police Station.


"I have for much of my life been very conservative on the issue of cannabis and its use, however during a very painful and debilitating health episode I was given some cannabis to try.

"I was forced to relook at the cannabis issue and do further research. My conclusion shocked me.

"This plant has been ours to use for thousands of years and at no time has it ever caused the collapse of any society that used it, yet within the last 50 to 70 years we have been indoctrinated to believe it is a dangerous and harmful plant."

He said the action was not so much against police, as he believed they had a tough job.

He said he hoped to have some guest speakers who had been long-time activists in the
cannabis community.

Rotorua police area prevention manager Inspector Stuart Nightingale said police were aware of the protest.

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"It looks like it's set to be a peaceful protest and everyone has a right to protest.

"We will just make sure everyone keeps the peace, but we don't anticipate it being a problematic protest."

WHAT: A peaceful protest for the legalisation of cannabis
WHERE: The Village Green
WHEN: Saturday September 17, 3pm to 7pm