Aussie biker gangs like the Rebels gain power through violence and trafficking in illegal drugs; that means prohibition is great for business and will only help them get a stake established more quickly in New Zealand.

“It isn’t surprising that a gang like the Rebels is looking at starting an operation here,” says NORML President Stephen McIntyre. “400,000 Kiwis are current users of cannabis.”

“In addition, Aotearoa/New Zealand has the highest teenage drug use in the world, one result of our criminalisation policy that prohibits but does not prevent.”

No doubt the Rebels think New Zealand is a great business opportunity; thanks to prohibition.

“If the Government were serious about keeping overseas organised crime out of the country, it would regulate and control drugs rather than make them illegal, thereby taking that huge cash cow away from groups like the Rebels.” Mr McIntyre said.

Last year, the International Center for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) found that contrary to expectation, drug prohibition contributes to drug market violence and higher rates of gun violence. *

Recently, the former President of Mexico, Vincente Fox, called for the legalisation and regulation of the cannabis market, as an alternative to the appalling carnage in his country.

“Judith Collins should look at Mexico for a terrible example of turf warfare over drugs,” Mr McIntyre said. “Last year, there were 12,000 deaths in Mexico related to turf wars and government attacks on traffickers.”

“NORML will be writing to the New Zealand government asking them to seriously reconsider our failing drug policies when the Law Commission reports in April on drug control laws.”

A year ago, the Prime Minister told Paul Holmes: “I don’t think you can eradicate drugs from your community … any politician who tells you they can do that is either being dishonest or a bit deluded in their outlook.”

“The Prime Minister is right, and the government needs to understand that a regulated, adults-only, taxable market for cannabis and other low-risk drugs is the safest alternative for our future,” Mr McIntyre concluded.

* Source: International Center for Science in Drug Policy – “Effect of Drug Law Enforcement on Drug Related Violence”; 2010

“The present systematic review suggests that drug law enforcement interventions are unlikely to reduce drug-related violence. Instead, and contrary to the conventional wisdom that increasing drug law enforcement will reduce violence, the existing scientific evidence strongly suggests that drug prohibition likely contributes to drug market violence and higher homicide rates. On the basis of these findings, it is reasonable to infer that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting drug distribution networks may increase levels of drug-related violence.

The association between increased drug law enforcement funding and drug market violence may seem counter-intuitive. However, in many of the studies reviewed here, experts delineated certain causative mechanisms that may explain this association. Specifically, research has shown that by removing key players from the lucrative illegal drug market, drug law enforcement may have the perverse effect of creating significant financial incentives for other individuals to fill this vacuum by entering the market.” pp. 15-16.

“Based on the available English language scientific evidence, the results of this systematic review suggest that an increase in drug law enforcement interventions to disrupt drug markets is unlikely to reduce violence attributable to drug gangs. Instead, from an evidence-based public policy perspective and based on several decades of available data, the existing evidence strongly suggests that drug law enforcement contributes to gun violence and high homicide rates and that increasingly sophisticated methods of disrupting organizations involved in drug distribution could unintentionally increase violence. In this context, and since drug prohibition has not achieved its stated goal of reducing drug supply, alternative models for drug control may need to be considered if drug-related violence is to be meaningfully reduced.” p. 22.