NORML NZ says a new police programme whereby first-time offenders caught committing minor crimes are being let off with a warning will hit young male Maori hard, calling it a policy of ‘two strikes and you’re out’.

“We already know that Maori in general, but young male Maori in particular, are more likely to be stopped and searched for cannabis by the police,” said president for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Stephen McIntyre today.

“This new policy will work for the privileged who don’t generally experience random police searches, but young Maori men who bear the brunt of racist policing will likely be treated more seriously in court because they have already had a warning.”

“Essentially it becomes a ‘two strikes and you’re out’ system that avoids the central issue that cannabis should not be illegal to begin with.”

“NORML supports measures which unclog the court system and free police resources for more serious crime, but what New Zealand’s 400,000 current cannabis users need is to stop being made criminals of simply for their drug of choice,” Mr McIntyre concluded.

Herald: 12/12/2010 NZ Herald: Free pass for petty criminals