The marijuana plant seems to have gained such popularity in New Zealand that the country is facing a pot shortage, but it isn’t just because stoners like to get high. Earlier this month, police seized 9000 plants in an annual aerial operation, which affected both outdoor and indoor growing of the highly-desired flowering herb.
It’s understandable that cannabis would be so desired. There are more than 475 natural chemical compounds in marijuana, including over 80 medicinal cannabinoids. The two most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD, both well-known for having extremely beneficial effects for health.
New Zealand measures up with the US for global rankings of cannabis consumption, but crack-downs by the federal government there have left many marijuana users without a single plant.
A local writer in New Zealand called the situation, “catastrophic.” In the same article, the writer described the local reaction to the combined air and police force seizure:
“On Stuff, Twitter, the Herald and even Reddit, reactions ranged from ‘what a waste of money’ through to ‘what a waste of money’, with many pointing out the irony of engaging the services of the Royal New Zealand Air Force to bust weed growers, when it was simultaneously revealed that more than 150 burglaries a day currently go unsolved by police.”
Marijuana is easily New Zealand’s most desired illegal product, but no matter what the cause for the shortage – police action, gang warfare, bad weather, or even the growth cycle of the plant – there simply isn’t enough cannabis in NZ.
Due to the shortage, consumers are paying up to five times the normal price for a gram-and-a-half. Prices for an ounce are up 30 percent, with quality falling considerably. For recreational users, it’s a downer, but for medicinal users, the problem is possibly more disastrous.
A cannabis consumer told the Guardian:
“I haven’t had problems sourcing it for the last 14 years.”
But due to the current shortage, he was forced to seek out prescription anti-depressants.
Possession of any amount of cannabis is illegal in New Zealand.
Perhaps New Zealanders can catch a flight to neighboring Australia. Word on the street says the country just legalized medical cannabis. A recently discovered loophole in the laws for overseas patients also allows a patient to bring a month’s supply into the country.
The Australian federal government has stated that they have no plans to close the loophole.