Press Release: All Media, 5th May 2000:
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Christchurch.
Cannabis protest for Cathedral Square
Cannabis protesters will be trumpeting the call for freedom in Cathedral Square on Saturday 6th May at High Noon. As
part of a world wide Marijuana Millennium March, New Zealand cities will take a lead in this day of protest against the
War on Cannabis.
"Continuing apartheid towards the cannabis culture is poor governance", say the Christchurch Branch of the Aotearoa
Legalise Cannabis Party.
Convener Michael Britnell, said that Christchurch people were eager to introduce friendlier drug laws. This meant that
an aggressive policing presence, which was creating bad blood in the community, was not welcome.
Come along at midday and hear Tim Barnett MP/Labour and Rod Donald MP. Co-leader GREENS, and key ACLP, NORML, THC and
others with public advocacy in the debate for reform..along with music and more.
The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party said that objection to criminalisation of cannabis did not equate to encouraging
its use. However the Party believed that a strong message had to be sent around the world about the folly of trampling
under freedom of choice. For that reason the Party would not discourage expressions of conscientious objection on
Law reformers are calling for a civilised restoration of adult's right to utilise the cannabis herb for industrial,
recreational, spiritual and medicinal purposes. The ALCP also seeks conviction expungement and the release of political
prisoners - the victims of the drug-war institutionalisation.
After some rallying and a creative visualisation of the Giant Marijuana Chalice sculpture planned for the Square in
celebration of "Turning Point 2000", Christchurch protesters will assert their rights to self-determination and march to
the statue of Queen Victoria, amidst the grassy spaces of Victoria Square.
"Queen Victoria was known to be a long term user of therapeutic marijuana", said branch strategist Blair Anderson. "Her
Indian Hemp Drugs Commission of 1894 largely exonerated cannabis of deserving criminal status, much the same as New
Zealand's Health Committee Inquiry in 1998, when it too declared that the harms are largely overstated."
A major limitation of prohibition was "uncontrolled availability" of drugs. Mr Anderson said it was natural for young
people to rebel against drug education protocols based on lies, double standards, and police harassment. School
principals should recognise that the kids weren't fooled by the "just say no to cannabis debate" stance of teaching
The ALCP say that discriminatory law enforcement set young Maori in particular against the Police and other authority,
and is fueling racial tension in some communities - "Our elected representatives must acknowledge these issues and act
in the spirit of good governance."
The Misuse of Drugs Amendment bill #4, currently before Parliament's Health Select Committee, provides for rationalised
assessment and decision making processes in legislating drugs. The legislation aims to facilitate expeditious
minimisation of drug-related harms - and this should include harms caused by arbitrary prohibition and criminalisation
Parliament has a window of opportunity to preempt the coalition government's tardy cannabis law review, prescribed if
not determined by, a "Go For Instant Fines" dialogue. Parliament is now compelled to a long overdue debate on cannabis
with an early conscience vote against criminalisation.