Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jan 2005
Source: Nelson Mail, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2005 Independent Newspapers Limited
Author: Bob Hughes
Bookmark: (Cannabis)



In response to Tasman acting district commander Inspector Brian McGurk's 
reply to Duncan Eddy's letter (Mailbox, December 31), I should like to know 
what other "similar" events over recent times has required a police 
presence of 10 officers at a peaceful gathering of 20 people.

I should also like to know what the Nelson Bays district statistics are for 
violent offences committed under the influence of cannabis as the inspector 
suggests these are on the increase compared with other criminal" trends.

It seems to me and many other citizens that the personal use of cannabis is 
indeed a minor issue and is tying up too many resources in the police and 
justice sector. Bob Hughes, Nelson

Inspector McGurk replies:  "Police needed to be in a position to deal 
effectively with any blatant breaches of the criminal law during the Happy 
Cannabis protest. The event had received wide publicity and as Mr Hughes 
claims that only 20 people turned up, that would indicate that the protest 
did not appear to receive wide and popular public support.  That is hardly 
a problem for the police.  "For some, the personal use of cannabis, 
particularly by young people, is a problem.

Police, among with other agencies such as mental health providers, Child 
and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Alcohol and Drug Service, Child 
Youth and Family, schools and education providers, Specialist Education 
Services to name but a few, have to deal with a raft of issues, ranging 
from youth suicide, behavioural disorders, criminal offending and substance 
abuse that have their genesis with the use of cannabis. "Despite Mr Hughes' 
claim that the personal use of cannabis is a minor issue the insidious 
effects of cannabis use extend well beyond the police and justice sector."

Bob Hughes
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