Toking tour hoping for pot reform

Toking tour hoping for pot reform

by Tracey Chatterton

The sweet Illegal smell of cannabis wafted into the Timaru air as part of a political protest yesterday.

Members of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) toked a joint in public as part of a nationwide tour advocating for legalising cannabis.

NORML Bus tour co-ordinator Dakta Green said the laws prohibiting cannabis are unjust. People shouldn't be locked up for something that is a big part ofpopular culture, he said.

"Everyone knows somebody that has smoked it."

He believes New Zealand communities would be safer if cannabis was controlled in a similar way to alcohol.

"We advocate responsible adult use, where's the problem in that?"

Attitudes had changed towards cannabis, he said.

"Tewnty years ago we would have been arrested in every town." But the group had faced very little negative feedback.

"The negative response has been completely muted from those who oppose us."

The police generally respect the protests and do not interfere although the men are often on the wrong side of the law because of their beliefs.

Dakta Green has served prison sentences in New Zealand and the United States for cultivating cannabis.

He said cannabis causes many broken homes and admitted his children didn't speak to him because of his beliefs. A law change would stop broken homes, he said.

He disregarded research saying cannabis had harmful effects, saying reports were written by their opponents.

Maryjane the Cannabus is visiting 42 cities and towns in 42 days on its way to Dunedin, or Dunsterdam for J day on May 3.

The group renamed Dunedin as Dunsterdam, after Amsterdam, to acknowledge its progressive nature as New Zealand's most cannabis-friendly city.