Cannabis and its relationship to funding gang activity: My letter to Paula Bennett and its response

Hi Paula – I write to you in your capacity as Minister of Police.


In this Stuff news article:


The officer involved said something to the effect of “Removing cannabis and grow operations hit crime rings where it hurt most, their finances”.


Would you agree that legalising cannabis and allowing the free market to sell cannabis, would be a more effective way to remove this source of funding from gangs? After all – I don’t believe that gangs make much money from selling alcohol.



Kind regards,



David Johnston



The response:


Dear David,


I am writing on behalf of Hon Paula Bennett, Minister of Police, who has asked me to acknowledge your email of 17th March 2017 concerning legalising cannabis.


Your correspondence has been noted, however the legalisation of Cannabis is not on the government’s priority list.


Thank you for taking the time to write to the Minister of Police.


Yours sincerely


Jeff Penno

Like with my letter to Andrew Little, it seems both National and Labour hold the same position with cannabis – ‘it’s not a priority’.

One of the two most interesting responses I’ve got filing OIA requests.

Here’s a direct link to the FYI download page.

The police returned a PDF outlining their employee social media policy.

It outlines personal use of social mdia, as well as official use. The police run several Facebook, twitter accounts etc.

Interestingly, it also mentions Facebook use for covert operations. (ie. spying on stolen goods using fake profiles), which would be interesting follow up to request documents relating to those.