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  1. Thirdedge
    Massive nationwide cannabis crackdown

    Police have charged more than 250 people after a massive crackdown on the sale of equipment for growing cannabis.

    The result of the two-year undercover Operation Lime, officers swooped on 35 businesses and numerous homes across the country - including executing search warrants at all 16 branches and the distribution centre of a national supplier of indoor growing supplies. Police would not release the name of the store.

    Directors and managers of the companies have been arrested and would be facing charges including cultivating cannabis and participating in an organised criminal group.

    Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said the operation this morning - which included executing search warrants in every police district - would break the cornerstone of the illicit cannabis cultivation industry.

    More than 250 people - including employees, managers, company directors and cannabis growers - faced more than 700 charges.

    Over 100 commercial cannabis growing operations linked to the businesses were also located and dismantled during the operation - including 19 that were discovered today.

    Police also seized methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy and firearms.

    Mr Pope said undercover officers had bought equipment and were given advice on how to grow cannabis.

    They even purchased cannabis clones and other drugs over the counter.

    "Businesses have been committing these offences and supporting commercial cannabis growers and organised crime over a long period of time.

    "This operation aimed to stop the supply of this equipment and has been very successful in doing so."

    "Cannabis is the most abused controlled drug in New Zealand. The harm that this drug causes New Zealand communities can be conservatively estimated at 430 million dollars a year. It hurts every community in every part of the country."

    Mr Pope said that honest suppliers of equipment to genuine gardeners were not targeted in the operation.

    Online auction site TradeMe today also banned the trading of equipment used to cultivate cannabis.

    Those arrested appeared in district courts around the country today.

    Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/3627939/Massive-nationwide-cannabis-crackdown


  1. Thirdedge
    Customers of raided shops will have to show ID

    Customers of raided shops will have to show ID

    Taking an entire chain of hydroponics stores out of the market will have no effect on commercial cannabis cultivation, a cannabis law reformer says.

    Police swooped on 35 businesses allegedly supplying cannabis growing equipment on Tuesday, including all 16 branches of Switched On Gardener.

    Police allege some employees were caught smoking cannabis.

    More than 500 police were involved in raids this week that led to the arrests of almost 100 people and the busting of 42 commercial cannabis operations.

    Business employees face charges including selling cannabis plants and dried cannabis over the counter. Some managers and directors have been charged with participating in an organised criminal group and cultivating cannabis.

    Among those arrested in Auckland were the management of Switched On Gardener, including its director, distribution manager, business development manager, operations manager, general manager and four area managers.

    Michael Maurice Quinlan, of Rodney, the director of Switched On Gardener's umbrella company, Stoneware 91, faces 35 charges.

    Managers Brent Gestro and Peter John Bennet, both of Waitakere, were jointly charged on 70 counts.

    Detective Inspector Stu Allsopp-Smith said police had not asked for the stores to be closed but all customers would have to supply photographic ID, such as a passport or driving licence, their name, address, contact phone number and date of birth.

    Staff would have to record a description and serial number of the item sold, and their own name and signature as seller. It is understood the conditions apply to all 35 companies raided by police.

    Police said they were focused on tackling organised crime behind the $800 million cannabis industry, not small private growers.

    But National Reform of Marijuana Laws spokesman Chris Fowlie said people who grew cannabis for themselves or a few friends were the businesses' main customers.

    People who genuinely bought hydroponic gear for growing vegetables would also be intimidated by the trading conditions.

    "The serious commercial guys don't want to be anywhere near those places, they think they are too hot."

    But police believe criminal organisations were involved in the businesses. Detective Sergeant Paul Hampton, who headed the Wellington operation, said gang members had turned up while police were at one of the three Wellington businesses raided.

    As part of Operation Lime, police have busted more than 100 commercial cannabis growing operations and seized more than 6000 plants during the past two years.

    Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/national/3635834/Customers-of-raided-shops-will-have-to-show-ID
  2. Thirdedge
    Company director on drug charges

    A 36-year-old Cashmere company director has appeared in court in Christchurch after a nationwide drugs bust.

    Joanna Mary McNeill, who appeared on 16 charges, was one of three people to appear in the Christchurch District Court yesterday.

    Police said yesterday they had uncovered 23 commercial indoor cannabis plots around the country as part of the Operation Lime raids that targeted indoor-gardening suppliers around the country this week.

    More than 500 officers raided homes and 35 gardening stores, including all 16 branches of Switched On Gardener, and arrested more than 250 people in relation to over 700 charges.

    More than $200,000 in cash was seized, as well as eight firearms, 6000 cannabis plants, 60 kilograms of dried cannabis, BZP and a range of drugs, such as ecstasy, LSD and methamphetamine.

    In the Christchurch District Court yesterday, McNeill appeared on 16 charges, including selling, possession and cultivation of cannabis plants and supplying material and equipment capable of being used to cultivate cannabis.

    The alleged material included seven High Times magazines, two Ultimate Grow DVDs, nutrient products and grow lamps.

    Michael Dennis Ross, 31, a sales assistant, faced 10 cannabis-related charges, and Cole Wayne Samual Millar, 35, a labourer, was charged with possession and cultivation of cannabis.

    The defence counsel for the trio, Jonathan Eaton, said other people would appear in court this week.

    The court was told that McNeill and Ross worked for Pet & Garden Supplies in Fitzgerald Ave.

    Judge Patricia Costigan remanded the trio on bail until May 12.

    Ross and McNeill's bail conditions included that they were not to sell objectionable material or be in possession of controlled drugs, and required them to keep a register of sales that could be made available to police.

    Deputy Commissioner Rob Pope said more than 500 plants were seized from the 23 commercial indoor cannabis operations uncovered in the wake of Tuesday's raids.

    He said a further seven people were arrested yesterday, including a 43-year-old man as he arrived at Auckland Airport from London. Five other people are still being sought.

    Pope said the businesses would be allowed to continue trading provided staff met stringent bail conditions and supplied photographic identification of customers for every transaction.

    A police national headquarters spokesman said nearly 15 per cent of cannabis found by police was grown indoors in New Zealand.

    Detective Sergeant Ian Langridge, of the Nelson CIB, said two managers from Nelson's Switched On Gardener outlet, and another man associated with the shop, faced charges. They have been remanded to appear in the Nelson District Court on May 10.

    Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3635578/Company-director-on-drug-charges
  3. Thirdedge
    NORML Condemns Police Raids

    27 April 2010 - NORML Condemns Police Raids As "Misuse Of Resources"

    Most crime is caused by alcohol and the public are demanding action over P, but today police devoted a huge amount of resources to raiding indoor gardening stores across the country.

    "It’s a waste of Police time, a misuse of their resources," said Phil Saxby, spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Cannabis is a low-level, Class C drug, used every year by at least 400,000 Kiwis according to the recent Law Commission report."

    "Don't police have anything better to do?"
    "How ironic that the Police should choose today to raid multiple home gardening stores, when the Law Commission has just detailed the harms and costs associated with alcohol," said Phil Saxby, spokesperson for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Alcohol is at Class B level and it’s alcohol, not cannabis, that is causing mayhem on our roads and in our homes."
    Today's raids included Switched On Gardener stores around the country, Guru Gardener in New Plymouth, Grow & Brew in Silverdale, and many others.

    "People who believe the police should be devoting more of their time and resources to alcohol - which causes far more harm than cannabis - should make their views known to the Law Commission, which is also undertaking a review of the 35-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act."
    NORML has distributed thousands of sample submissions to help people engage in the process, and it's bus is currently touring the North Island raising awareness.
    "New Zealand already has the highest arrest rate for cannabis offences in the world. That hasn’t stopped us using cannabis and neither will these raids," said Mr Saxby.

    Submissions on the drug law review close this Friday, 30th of April. They can be made on the internet at the website www.talklaw.co.nz

    The next day, Saturday 1st of May, NORML will celebrate the 19th annual J Day, with free events planned in Auckland, Hamilton, New Plymouth, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

    Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1004/S00341.htm
  4. Thirdedge
    Cannabis - Alcohol hypocrisy rules New Zealand

    Wednesday, 28 April 2010, 12:31 pm
    Press Release: Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

    The ALCP is disgusted with repressive policing of gardening shops and their employees, while a virtually unfettered free-market approach is taken to an evidentially more harmful drug, alcohol.

    These latest costly busts will incur huge harm to the individuals charged, their families, and to the wallets of Kiwi taxpayers. Worse, the busts are only the tip of the iceberg of up to 20,000 cannabis convictions per year in NZ.

    Despite yesterday’s 250 arrests it will be business as usual for the black market on the one hand, and police, courts and corrections on the other. The real reason this sick law remains on the statute books is the amount of money being made from prohibiting cannabis.

    The party is also critical of media who on the one hand are reporting the NZ Law Commission’s alcohol recommendations - notably a call to revert the liquor purchase age to 20years - and failing to draw any linkage with the way alcohol’s neighbouring intoxicant, cannabis, is being 'regulated' (or completely unregulated as the case may be).

    Double standards are by definition wrong. Prohibition policy which does not come close to working as intended is emphatically not useful.

    The hypocrisy of the alcohol/cannabis double standard situation does not, and never will, win respect amongst the youth of NZ, which explains why drug and alcohol health promotion is such a failure in this country.

    It is obscene to see NZ police milking the black market the way they do while New Zealanders – particularly young Kiwis - remain wholly unprotected by dysfunctional and contradictory regulatory approaches.

    The ALCP encourages New Zealanders to make submissions to the NZ Law Commissions review of the 1975 Misuse of Drugs Act (closing this Friday 30 April) see http://www.talklaw.co.nz or email lawreview@lawcom.govt.nz

    Source: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1004/S00351.htm
  5. muddy
    I for one am appalled by this latest crackdown on NZ's pot culture. A 2 year operation involving 500 police to bust people who sell items that may or may not be used for cannabis cultivation? What a wonderful use of tax payer funded police resources! And now the customers have to go on a police database? New Police State Zealand...
  6. Thirdedge
    Raids On Hydroponic Shops Good News For Gangs

    Raids On Hydroponic Shops Good News For Gangs
    Thursday, 29 April 2010, 11:27 am
    Press Release: Green Cross Medicinal Cannabis Support Group



    APRIL 28, 2010

    ‘Police Raids On Hydroponic Shops Good News For Gangs’ Says Green Cross

    Green Cross spokesperson Billy McKee today said that this week's raids by police targeting hydroponic supply shops must be ‘good news’ for gangs, but is very bad news for medical cannabis users.

    “The organised criminal groups which control New Zealand’s 'tinny house' networks are going to come out the winners here”, Mr McKee said. “By making it harder for your average person to buy hydroponic growing systems, the police have just given the black market more customers.”

    “Decades of prohibition have given gangs the financial resources to grow and become powerful. They are far too resilient to be affected by this”, he said.

    Mr McKee said that Operation Lime will hit the ‘grow your own at home’ medical cannabis users the hardest – sick people who don’t want to be involved in the black market and who grow small amounts for themselves.

    “These are people with serious conditions who cannot or don’t want to have to go to a ‘tinny house’ to buy their medicine”, said Mr McKee.

    Mr McKee pointed out that, despite their vulnerability, patients who aren’t given the opportunity to find safe supplies of cannabis - such as growing their own - will end up doing what has to be done.

    “That means going to the black market and dealing with potentially violent criminal types.”

    “It’s a very sad day when New Zealand police spend two years and enormous resources on a campaign like this trying to do the impossible - stop people using cannabis”, Mr McKee concluded.


    No Source link sorry.
  7. Samadhi
    This is sad. Putting people in jail for trying to make a living in this terrible state of world economy. They are growing a bushy flower at the end of the day, but they will do the same time as a rapist. It has been said over and over again but; that is absolutely bonkers.

    There are better things the worlds police forces could do, like arrest the heads of companies for essentially illegal embezzlement in the form of 'in the red' bonuses or hell, even the IRS in the USA for taxing income; something that is unjust by the constitution of the united states. But, instead, they waste more money busting people and will waste more money when 2 new growers start up in the place of that one.

    My message to anti canna-groups; learn when to shrug it off and if you can't beat em', by all means, stop fucking up good peoples lives and join us brother!
  8. blink1989
    What a massive waste of Money..

    These people did nothing wrong, what a useless society we have :(
  9. KingMe
    "Cannabis is the most abused controlled drug in New Zealand. The harm that this drug causes New Zealand communities can be conservatively estimated at 430 million dollars a year. It hurts every community in every part of the country."

    Swim wonders what that money really is? Maybe it is the money spenon operations such as these, on wages paid to survey growshops, and the harm done is the lack of police officers in the areas where they are really needed.

    Swim thinks this looks a lot like the time of the prohition in the US of the gangster era...
  10. Frenzal
    Can't quickly find a source but I believe the 430M figure was generated by the BERL drug harms report, which counted every police hour and dollar spent on the drug as 'harm.'

    Rubbish, obviously.
  11. muddy
    The 430 million harm caused each year is probably the cost of enforcing the prohibition and the resulting court and jail time (which is another MASSIVE cost within itself that tax payers are paying for). We can't afford doctors or nurses or teachers but we can sure as hell afford to spend outrageous amounts of money to stop those dangerous pot heads, before they destroy the country! Refer madness!!!!
  12. Miss Match
    Switched On Gardener owner has assets frozen

    A business owner says he will sue the crown for millions of dollars if his company collapses and he is acquitted on charges relating to the supply of equipment and advice to cannabis growers.

    Earlier this week police won a court order freezing a million dollar home and a bank account containing nearly $190,000 belonging to Switched On Gardener owner, Michael Quinlan, the Weekend Herald reported.
    Quinlan is facing criminal charges after police raided his chain of stores around the country and charged him in relation to the supply of equipment and advice to cannabis growers.

    Quinlan said he would go after the Crown for millions of dollars in lost earnings if his company collapsed and he successfully defended the charges.

    Quinlan told the newspaper he planned to invest the $189,000 in his business which had been hit hard after the police raids.


  13. Samadhi
    good for him! Selling something that could be used to grow tomatoes, to arugula, or even (gasp!) cannabis is and never has been a crime to my knowledge. Its a garden supply chain for christ sakes. I hope this guy drags them through the mud, but in the courts defense, i suggest they start trying the ground and compost piles in court, they may also harbor illegal doping drugs and I believe they're conspiring to grow... something...
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