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Letter: Constitutional rights of Cook Islanders

Tuesday 18 June 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Constitutional rights  of Cook Islanders

Any adult who has been charged and/or convicted, now or in the past, for consuming marijuana for personal use in the privacy of their own home has had their constitutional right to privacy violated by the Cook Islands Government.

There is no legitimate state interest in prohibiting possession of marijuana by adults for personal use, in regards to the right to privacy, and that the statutory classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug, (while not prohibiting use of alcohol and tobacco), denies all individuals due process and equal protection of the law.

The Cook Islands constitution provides for the elementary right to privacy and is broad enough to encircle to protect the possession of marijuana for personal use, this is a fundamental right under the constitution.

The Cook Islands government has not demonstrated any convincing national interest in prohibiting possession of marijuana because marijuana is a relatively innocuous substance, at least as compared with other prohibited substances and they have the burden of proving otherwise.

And nothing even approaching a persuasive interest can be proven by the government to prohibit the possession of marijuana to be consumed in the privacy of your home.

There is no justification for the government intrusion on the individual’s right to privacy by its prohibition of marijuana by an adult for personal consumption in the home and its past time for the criminal justice system to stop violating the constitutional rights of all Cook Islanders.

Steve Boggs

Editor’s note – The Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill was passed in Parliament in December last year allowing Cook Islanders who require medicinal cannabis for their health and well-being to import or bring the item into the country, provided the product is being prescribed by an approved medical practitioner. Cannabis remains illegal for recreational purpose.