Police have turned a blind eye to a group of 25 who gathered by a Whangarei public playground to consume cannabis, in protest at the plants illegal status.
Police were unable to comment directly yesterday on why they did not attend the protest citing time pressure before publication deadline. They did issue a statement from acting area commander Riki Whiu which said police would "continue to prioritise resources according to demand and against the wider needs of the community, with a particular focus on preventing victimisation and offending from serious crime and crashes". The statement also said police were aware of the group and would make further inquiries.
Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai said it was a shame the group had used an area near a playground to "promote smoking of any sort". All of WDC's parks and playgrounds were smoke-free.
"The debate this group is inviting is one for adults, not children, and I hope that they will reconsider the locations they are choosing to make their point in light of this comment," Ms Mai said.
The group of campaigners told the Advocate at their first gathering that they plan to meet and consume cannabis every Friday at 4.20pm at various locations in Whangarei.
Protest organiser Melissa Brown said she was not worried about police turning up.
Several states in the United States have decriminalised or legalised cannabis for medicinal use in recent years.
- Northern Advocate