On Monday in Waitakere District Court I received a discharge without conviction for possession of cannabis. I used a lawyer.
I noticed that there were a large number of people also in court the same day. Many had their children or families with them. The lawyers and the court staff were mostly dressed in a way distinct to those charged. Money for nice clothes, suits, high heels and dry cleaning opposed to jeans , trackies, hoodies and jandals.
Money clearly has to be at the root of offending. I felt overdressed in court and yet have used my previous experience to always be well presented before the judge. I cannot understand those who appear who don't, with the exception of those caught and appearing on remand.
Money is also the problem when it comes to fixing the legal problems. I was able to access money and pay a $2000.00 retainer. I still owe that amount.
Money has brought me better justice perhaps?
Perhaps that although I have broken the law, I respect those enforcing it and the law itself, but am grateful that the system the courts and the judge has allowed me to the opportunity to continue to challenge it.
I have been campaigning to legalise cannabis or at least decriminalise it to reduce harm for over a decade.
I am a school teacher.
In 2003 I trained to become an alcohol and drug counsellor.
I was arrested with possession for supply but this charge was reduced to the lesser charge possession simplictor. The police agreed to drop the utensils charge.
I am a mother of three and a Grandmother.
I believe the reason I have been able to get a section 106 was due to my need to travel outside New Zealand. The reason for much of my travel is due to cannabis law reform and research to complete the Thesis of my Masters degree on cannabis use. I have been looking at examples of law reform internationally. I am grateful the her honour allowed me to continue.
During the course of my case I also breached my bail conditions and smoked cannabis and the police kept me overnight.
My legal counsel describes this as a "remarkable" result given the starting allegations being a possession for supply. Is it?
I thank the Police for dropping the charges.
As part of my research I am correlating the data of crime statistics in New Lynn and Henderson while the Daktory was open with a before and after study. The reason many States in America are poised to decriminalise cannabis is, due to the lowered alcohol use, when legal,safe, access to cannabis is available.
The Daktory was sporadically open for over three years. During that time, I collected information and data, when it is finally processed, should show a similar result to other studies where legalised cannabis has been available. It is expected that this study will yield the same results and outcome as shown in other studies. Where there is cannabis legally available from a dispensary. is there a drop in violent crime due to the drop in alcohol consumption? It would be good to discover.
So perhaps the time has come for us to respect and use the law , the way it is intended and utilise the section 106 discharge in all cannabis possession charges where travel outside this country would be affected.
After all, If you don't ask, You don't get!
I also had to pay a donation to charity which is the same as being fined. If I was not able to pay the cash it is unlikely I would have been discharged. However I guess If I could not pay a $700 fine I could not afford to travel outside New Zealand. So justice for me, this time, because I could afford it. The first charitable fund I want to establish when it is legal is a free lawyer for all those convicted who can't afford one and a hefty donation from those who can.