New Zealand: Cannabis Advocate Runs For Mayor
By Steve Elliott
New Zealand cannabis legalization advocate Dakta Green, who's been jailed two times for possession of marijuana, has entered the race for mayor of the Ruapehu District.
Green, 63, is back in his home town of Taumarunui after a 40-year absence and said he wants to make a mark, reports Merania Karauria at The New Zealand Herald. The activist has bought the former freezing works administration centre, and wants to turn it into a museum.
The mayoral candidate is also the founder of New Zealand's most visible cannabis club, The Daktory. His motto is "Live like it's legal."
"Alcohol and tobacco are dangerous drugs but are legally available," Green said in 2010. "Cannabis causes less harm to our community."
"The cannabis laws are wrong," Green said. "They are fueled by a pernicious prejudice and perpetuate harmful stereotypes that adversely affect users and their families."
According to Green, cannabis is more natural, healthier option than other drugs, and does not fuel crime. "You smoke a joint right now, you're not going to all of a sudden going to be overcome with the urge to go out and rob a bank or belt somebody over the head," he said. "There's nothing within cannabis that turns you into a criminal."
Green said he'd chatted with local police, who said they'd leave him alone "if he did not break the law." "We don't intend to brefak the law," Green said. "The reality is cannabis is being legalized around the world. It is only a question of when it will be here."
"You cannot overdose on cannabis," Green said. "There are many people that have died from drinking too much alcohol; one night of heavy drinking and you can die. Tobacco will almost certainly kill you... cannabis has never killed anybody."
"You cannot keep locking us up when the science says cannabis is safer than alcohol or tobacco to the individual and to the community," Green said.
Green wasn't always pro-cannabis; he didn't try the herb until he was 39 years old. "I was a prohibitionist when I grew up," he said. "I didn't know why. I thought cannabis was evil and was highly opposed to it. I always thought it was against the law and would cause brain damage.
"I finally tried it to find out why young people found it so attractive," he said. "I woke up the following morning without a hangover and was no longer a prohibitionist. From that point on, I became immersed in the culture."
Green said that cannabis law reform isn't his only political position. As mayor, the candidate said he would lead the charge on the "rapacious" Lines Company whose line charges are a "major impediment" to economic growth in the district, Green said.
"They are a monopoly and a law unto themselves and need to be brought to heel," he said.
(Photo: Gonzo Freakpower)