War on cannabis driving black market | The Jackal

18 Jul 2012

War on cannabis driving black market

Today, the Police reported:

Police have seized and destroyed more than 130,000 cannabis plants and over 280 kgs of dried cannabis in a six month long, nationwide operation targeting cannabis growers and dealers.

Detective Inspector Paul Berry, manager Covert Operations, PNHQ, says cannabis growers and dealers are likely to be feeling the pinch after six months of coordinated action against them.

"More importantly, we have prevented millions of dollars worth of harm by getting these drugs and the offenders off the streets."

Operation National targeted indoor growers and cannabis dealers operating out of drug dealing houses. It ran alongside this year's National Cannabis and Crime Operation (NCCO) Operation Kelly which uses fixed wing aircraft to spot cannabis crops during the cannabis growing season.

The cannabis operations resulted in 2,573 arrests.


Police estimate that $350 million worth of harm has been saved to the New Zealand economy through activities associated with Op National and Op Kelly.

According to Corrections it costs $90,977 per year to keep each prisoner (the actual figure is nearly three times this amount)... So if only 385 of the 2,573 arrested for pot are detained for a year, that $350 million in apparent reduced harm to the economy is spent on imprisonment, which is in my opinion a complete waste of money.

The other problem is that the millions of dollars the Police spend on enforcing marijuana laws is driving the black market economy and ensuring that gangs can make a killing from selling a herb. That money would be better spent on rehabilitation and education programs that are proven to reduce consumption.

Detective Regan Boucher with 53lb of seized cannabis from Wellington