New Zealand Police Seize Marijuana Vending Machine


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Above, a New Zealand police officer helps to carry The Daktory’s cannabis vending machine to a law enforcement vehicle Thursday night

​“Live Like It’s Legal” is the motto of New Zealand cannabis activists The Daktory — and it appears they take their own advice. Police said on Friday that they had seized a marijuana vending machine during a raid on the cannabis club in Auckland, which campaigns for the herb’s legalization.

The vending machine, in suburban New Lynn, had been set up to dispense one-gram bags of marijuana for NZ$20 ($16.20) each, one of the campaigners behind the scheme told Agence France-Presse.

Police said they arrested four people and seized the vending machine, NZ$27,000 in cash and about 700 grams of cannabis. Also seized when they raided the property on Thursday evening were bongs, pipes and other items.

The weed vending machine had received lighthearted media coverage in New Zealand, but detective inspector Bruce Scott said The Daktory was breaking drug laws.

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An officer pushes the cannabis vending machine into a waiting police van

​”Wherever there is drug offending of any kind, police will act swiftly,” he said manfully. “We certainly do not take a softly-softly approach.”
Seven police officers came to The Daktory, reports NORML New Zealand in the Scoop. The officers were invited into the building, but soon after invoked powers of warrantless search under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1975). They searched club members, and four activists were arrested.
“The raid was a huge waste of taxpayer’s dollars,” said Dakta Blaze, one of the accused. “The police should have been using this time to deal with threats to the community.
“People from all over our community come to The Daktory as a safe haven from the black market created by prohibition,” Blaze said. “The Daktory simply makes our community a safer place.

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​Cannabis is the third most popular drug in New Zealand — after alcohol and tobacco — despite the fact that, unlike the first two, it is illegal.
The Daktory is a cannabis club modeled on the coffee shops in Amsterdam, where possession of small amounts of weed is tolerated, activist Julian Crawford told AFP just before Thursday’s raid.
“It’s basically anonymous; it’s a way for people who don’t want to have to associate with gangs or criminals to buy cannabis in a safe environment,” Crawford said.
The Daktory, set up in a former warehouse in an industrial area, is a venue for “like-minded people” to socialize; nobody under 18 is allowed, according to Crawford.
“It’s got lots of couches, there’s table tennis, a pool table, darts and games; snack food is available,” he said. “It’s been set up as an experiment to show how things could operate if marijuana was legalized.”
Organizers are not running The Daktory for profit, Crawford said, and intend to channel any money made from the scheme into community projects.
The Daktory remains open for cannabis activists, but is no longer providing a marijuana vending machine service. Members of The Daktory said they are still committed to cannabis law reform and will be increasing pressure on MPs to change the law.
Two select committee inquiries and a law commission report have all recommended relaxing New Zealand’s cannabis laws. However, Parliament has spinelessly failed to implement these recommendations, leading The Daktory and other activists to resort to civil disobedience.
The raid has only encouraged The Daktory to become more vocal in the fight for cannabis legalization. A protest is planned for March 28 at the Waitakere District Court at 9 a.m., when the four suspects will make their first appearance.

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Cops swarmed all over the place as they raided The Daktory in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday night