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Cannabis vending machine seized in raid

Published: 12:51PM Friday March 23, 2012 Source: Fairfax

Police have raided an Auckland warehouse where pro-cannabis activists were allegedly selling the drug from a vending machine.

Four people were arrested and police seized $27,000 cash, cannabis and drug paraphernalia from the New Lynn Daktory last night.

The raid comes after Auckland Now revealed yesterday people allegedly could buy one gram bags of cannabis for $20 from the vending machine at the clubhouse. Police seized the machine last night.

Police said there were 20 people at the Delta Avenue property at the time of the raid.

A backpack containing the cash was found, along with half a kilo of pre-packaged cannabis. Police also seized a "large assortment" of utensils, bongs, pipes, spotting knives and loose cannabis.

Three men and one woman were arrested and charged with various drug-related offences, including possession of cannabis and possession for supply. They will appear in the Waitakere District Court on Wednesday.

Waitemata Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said police would continue to monitor activities at the Daktory.

The Daktory was opened in November 2008 and boasted a membership of several thousand before its founder Dakta Green was jailed for eight months in June 2011 for possessing, selling and for allowing the Delta Ave warehouse to be used for drug taking.

The Solicitor-General later appealed the 61-year-old's sentence and it was more than doubled to 23 months.

After Green's sentencing the Daktory announced it was closing its doors to the public and would be used as the headquarters for the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Norml).

But Norml president Julian Crawford confirmed yesterday that the club was again open for business from Wednesday to Sunday.

He said the vending machine had been a hit with guests with ''a few hundred sales'' taking place on busy nights.

''It has been very popular, quite a few people come here.''

Crawford said they wanted to grow the number of activists in their movement, "not just be like a tinnie house" and the vending machine was ''an example of how things could be'' if cannabis was legalised.

Crawford said police visited the Daktory last week, announcing plans to set up a checkpoint outside the clubrooms and speak with people coming and going from the premises.

''[The officer] said that there had been some directives higher up to take some action against the Daktory.''

Crawford said he was relaxed about the impending sting and ''respected they had a job to do''.

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