No matter what they’ve got on, no matter what real crimes they should be investigating, or what real villains they should be tracking down, it seems the New Zealand constabulary are never too busy to execute a search warrant and bring a prosecution for possession of a thimbleful of cannabis.
Couldn't this farce be a catalyst for something more sensible?
Even the police state of California has begun to see the light, Gov Schwarzenegger signing into law in September a measure allowing possession of up to one ounce of cannabis (about the amount found on Mr Rudd’s boat) to be treated as a misdemeanour with no more seriousness than a parking ticket.
That’s a sensible start.
And in Europe, they still attribute the unusual peacefulness of the 2004 European Soccer Championships to the decision by the Portuguese hosts to openly allow cannabis use.
Branded as 'hooligans', 50,000 fans - notorious for their drunken antics and ability to instigate all-out riots - descended upon Lisbon. Rather than ban alcohol, the authorities decided instead to sanction cannabis use by English and French fans before the game. The police priority was alcohol. As a result, the match took place without incident, even in the immediate aftermath of England's 2-1 defeat.
A lesson that shouldn’t be lost on Rugby World Cup organisers—and a more peaceful message to the world than going through the possessions of someone on the off-chance they might have a bit of leaf.