Māori prosecuted for cannabis offences falling – police commissioner Andrew Coster

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said there has been about a 40 per cent reduction in cannabis prosecutions overall in the last five years. Photo / Mark Mitchellll

By RNZ

The Police Commissioner has rejected criticism that Māori are still being unfairly prosecuted for low level cannabis offences but is concerned they are more likely to be found in possession of the drug.

The Māori Council and the Drug Foundation say a law change last year giving police more discretionary powers has done nothing.

Andrew Coster told RNZ the law change was intended to confirm what was already happening.

He said there has been about a 40 per cent reduction in cannabis prosecutions in the last five years.

Statistics for the three months to September show prosecutions for Māori are down by 17 per cent, and there’s been a 50 per cent increase in warnings to Māori where there are two or more offences.

“So we have seen a continued ongoing trend of greater use of warnings and a lesser use of prosecutions and…

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