Cannabis lovers gather at Whangarei Daktory for happy end to 2016

A pro-cannabis group in Whangarei is bringing in 2017 by hosting a party at a venue called The Daktory.

The group hopes to eventually change the law around cannabis, but that's brought stiff opposition from a law and order lobby group.

"People need a safe place to come and get their cannabis, they don't really need to be dealing with scary gang members," says Daktory spokesperson Gwenn Gilgreen.

The Daktory group has been holding protests over the criminalisation of cannabis for the past few months - even smoking weed outside the town's police station.

They say they're not trying to set themselves up as a tinnie house, but rather as a voice against the drug's illegal status.

"We see the law against it as doing more harm than the actual cannabis itself and that's just wrong. So that's why we've all come together," says Ms Gilgreen.

The Daktory Whangarei spokesperson Gwenn Gilgreen
The Daktory's Gwenn Gilgreen

Northland Police were supposed to be on-hand to talk with organisers today, but never showed up. They've said they will be monitoring it closely and will respond accordingly.

But the New Zealand Police Conduct Association says that's no good.

"It's not a good look for Northland and it's not a good look for the police," says NZPCA President Shannon Parker.

"It sends the message that the police will turn a blind eye to cannabis, it sends a message that you can do it publically and the police will ignore it."

The original Daktory was a warehouse run by Daktar Green in the Auckland suburb of New Lynn, but that was shut down after a police raid in 2012.

Members of the Whangarei group don't expect to suffer the same fate, especially as this month's Police Association magazine revealed that Northland was too short staffed to police the region effectively.

"The police have to concede that they can't police cannabis. And if they can't police it here, they can't police it with anyone else in new zealand," says Daktory member Brian Borland.

That's one issue today this group was clear on - but as New Year's Eve progresses, things were expected to get progressively hazy.


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