Revealed: Drug law change sees sharp fall in drug users prosecuted; bias against Māori remains

Police acknowledge unconscious bias and have programmes to remedy the disproportionate application of drug laws on Māori
New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
Friday, October 2, 2020

nz cannabis referendum2A "watershed" change to drug laws last year has seen a significant drop in police prosecutions for drug use and an increase in warnings and alternative resolutions. But new police data shows little change to police bias against Māori, which appears to be strongest when it comes to policing cannabis use. The revelations will embolden supporters of legalising cannabis, who say it would even the legal playing field and quash the biased application of the law against Māori. The Misuse of Drugs Amendment bill came into force in mid-August last year amid hopes that it would lead to better health outcomes for people with drug-use problems. The change set into the law that police shouldn't prosecute drug users if a therapeutic approach would be "more beneficial to the public interest".