Today's example of the pointless waste of the "war on drugs": a woman jailed for two years for growing her own cannabis:
A leading figure in Kaikohe's arts and business communities has been jailed for two years after being found guilty of possession of cannabis for supply.
Kelly van Gaalen was sentenced in the Kaikohe District Court on Thursday following a jury trial last month. Friends and family in the public gallery, including her three children, wept and called out as the distraught 38-year-old was led away.
Van Gaalen was a member of the Kaikohe-Hokianga Community Board as well as the chair of the Kaikohe Community Arts Council and promotions manager for the Kaikohe Business Association. She has resigned from her positions. A community board by-election will be held in October.
It costs nearly $100,000 a year to keep someone in prison. Can anyone really say that that's money well spent in this case? Can anyone really say that jailing this woman will make us safer, or improve our society? Imprisoning recreational drug users who harm no-one but themselves is simply pointless and wasteful, and the sooner we stop doing it the sooner the police can refocus their resource son real crime.