Auckland, Jan 20 NZPA – A judge deciding whether cannabis laws breached the rights of a cannabis campaigner has reserved her decision.
Judge Ann Kiernan said she wanted to carefully consider an application by Dakta Green for a stay of proceedings on charges he faces of possession of cannabis and possession for supply.
Green, who was representing himself in Auckland District Court, is arguing that the Misuse of Drugs Act breaches his fundamental rights and is therefore a breach of the Bill of Rights Act.
He also argued that he had been “picked on” when he was arrested.
However, crown lawyer Bruce Northwood said the actions of officers were legitimate, and described some of Green’s arguments that cannabis laws were an ass as “political”.
“The law may be an ass, but that’s not for us to inquire into here. That’s for politicians in Parliament.”
Green gave evidence himself and also called on two witnesses.
Geoff Noller, who completed a PhD at Otago University on the culture of cannabis use, said most of the 80 users he talked to did not feel they were criminals.
Dr Noller said many felt treatment of them by authorities was discriminatory and unfair.
“One question I asked them was whether they thought they were carrying out criminal behaviour. They were adamant they were not criminal … and they felt they were being unfairly criminalised.”
Much of the questioning of Dr Noller concerned the history of cannabis laws, the development of cannabis culture and patterns of use.
He said it was debatable whether the laws were having any impact on improving health and reducing harm when New Zealand had the highest rate of arrests for cannabis use in the world per head of population.