Pubdate: Mon, 29 Aug 2016
Source: Nelson Mail, The (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2016 Fairfax New Zealand Limited


The outgoing boss of the New Zealand Police Association says a tour 
of cannabis-friendly countries was an eye-opener, but hasn't 
convinced him New Zealand should follow suit.

Greg O'Connor spent time travelling through Portugal, Spain, the 
Netherlands and Colorado, in the United States, seeing firsthand the 
effects of both decriminalisation and legalisation of cannabis.

He says while it has not inspired him to change his stance, it has 
given him a much greater understanding of the issues.

While O'Connor remains cautious in his approach to the relaxing of 
cannabis laws in New Zealand, he says the Government has a 
responsibility to address the issue as a whole.

"If there is going to be a change, a liberalisation, then I believe 
you need to address the supply side at the same time, as well as the 
consumer side.

"For example, if we decriminalise it, there will be a lot more 
cannabis smoked so that means it's got to come from somewhere and the 
only place it can come from is criminal sources."

That is where a recent trip to Colorado has been beneficial, 
providing an example of the effects of cannabis legalisation, rather 
than decriminalisation.

"Colorado is the model, I'm not saying it's better or worse, but it's 
the only place I've gone to where it's legal from seed to weed."

O'Connor finishes his Police Association presidency in late October, 
a role he says he'll miss.

"It's nice to be able to add to the debate and be well informed 
because there are so many people participating who don't really know 
the full story.

Fairfax NZ
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