A request by NORML under the Official Information Act has revealed police
had a secret meeting with Internal Affairs departmental heads, and asked
them to try to get marijuana law reform magazine Norml News completely
Three issues of Norml News were referred to the censors on 7 May (no
decision has been made yet) after massive raids on indoor gardening stores
across the country, code named Operation Lime.
The documents reveal Police hope to have Norml News completely banned, as
well as High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.
Police had previously denied being involved with sending the publication to
the censors, and a spokesperson for the Censorship unit told media at the
time that there was nothing to suggest the request for a ban had come from
the police. The Secretary of Internal Affairs said he was just "seeking
Suspecting there was more to it, NORML News editor Chris Fowlie wrote to
the Secretary of Internal Affairs under the Official Information Act,
requesting any documents he held on the magazine.
The documents arrived today and reveal two police officers arranged a
meeting with Internal Affairs department heads on 31 May 2010 "during which
the existence of several publications dealing with the cultivation of
cannabis and other illegal activity was discussed."
The names of the police officers have been withheld because apparently
making the information available would "be likely to prejudice the
maintenance of the law."
Police provided to Internal Affairs a property sheet that provides a strong
link to the Operation Lime raids.
Police also asked the Secretary of Internal Affairs to pursue a Serial
Publication Order - which would mean all existing and future copies of the
magazine would be prohibited - for Norml News, High Times and Cannabis
In a letter to his subordinates at the Censorship Office, dated 3 May 2010,
Jon Peacock on behalf of the Secretary of Internal Affairs requests a ban
of not only the three issues submitted, but also requests "consideration is
given to issuing a serial publication order on the publication."
A serial publication order would mean all existing issues would be banned
and the magazine would be prohibited from publishing any more issues.
"We are outraged at this blatant political interference in our campaign for
sensible drug laws," said editor Chris Fowlie. "Police are lying to the
media and misleading the public. They should admit they are behind this
censorship, rather than hiding behind the faceless grey suits of
"If the police succeed in banning Norml News, this could criminalise
thousands of people who have an old copy somewhere," said Mr Fowlie. "We
have printed more than one million copies which all found happy homes and a
recall would be impossible."
-- ends --
Note: copies of the documents released to us are available to media on
Background information is at http://www.norml.org.nz/article710.html