‘Decriminalisation by stealth’ suspected driver behind plunge in cannabis offences

NZ Herald 5 August 2018
The number of people appearing before our district courts on cannabis offences has halved over the past decade – a phenomenon being attributed to “decriminalisation by stealth”.

In one region, this number had dropped more than two-thirds.

According to data provided by the Ministry of Justice, a total 4117 people charged with cannabis-related offences went through New Zealand’s district courts last year.

This was a 54 per cent drop from the 8876 people who went through district courts facing cannabis-related offences in 2008.

After the publication of the poll results, GP and addiction specialist Tim Bevin told the Herald the Government had to be cautious with any law change.

Although the number of cannabis offences were plummeting, the number of people convicted of methamphetamine offences had more than doubled over the past decade.

Last year 2366 people appeared before New Zealand’s district courts facing methamphetamine offences.

This was in comparison to 1061 offenders in 2008.

The number of people charged with offences involving any type of illicit drug was on a downward trend – from 10,409 in 208 to 6606 last year.
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