"Northland children as young as 6 years old are being caught with cannabis at school.
Police say many Northlanders smoke cannabis - this week it was revealed that of the 141,000 plants seized nationally in the 2008-09 season, almost half were in Northland - and many parents are exposing their children to the drug.
In the latest incident, two boys aged just 11 and 12 were caught with cannabis at Russell Primary School.
....In June, a 6-year-old boy brought 10 cannabis tinnies to Whangarei's Totara Grove School in a McDonald's bag. It is thought he had taken the bag to school by mistake.
Russell's sole police officer, Constable Mark Caswell, said finding primary school-aged children with cannabis was unusual - "but not as unusual as people think, sadly. How young some of these people are is quite incredible."
".....In Northland in 2007, 35 students were suspended for drug abuse from one primary, two intermediate and 13 secondary schools. Last year 12 students from five schools were suspended.
Tai Tokerau Principals' Association president Pat Newman said children brought cannabis to a primary school to"show and tell" friends or because their parents had asked them to give it to another child to pass to their parents.
However, schools dealt every day with the "disastrous" effects of cannabis, alcohol and methamphetamine (or P) on children's lives."
In a snapshot of what is going on elsewhere in NZ in June 2008 police told TVNZ that children taking and dealing drugs in school wasn't a "new issue" after 5 nine year old boys were caught smoking cannabis at Owhata primary school in Rotorua and that this sort of thing had been going on for 20 years.
At around the same time a quantity of cannabis was seized at Longford Intermediate school in Gore, and Westlake Boys School in Auckland asked 12 students to leave after a dealing ring was uncovered.
Then in July of this year 10 students from Lindisfarne College, Hastings were expelled and another seven suspended after another cannabis dealing ring was busted.It's indicative that cannabis use amongst school children is a problem not just in Northland but throughout New Zealand, which has the highest rate of cannabis use in the OECD, the third highest Amphetamine use, and is placed second for both victims of crime and total crimes per capita:
NZ police say that most cannabis tinnie houses were selling-points for methamphetamine as well and that drugs and crime are well linked.
"Cannabis and meth come hand in hand now and there is a real link between drugs, stolen property, firearms and gangs."
It was probable most of the cannabis produced in Northland was destined for Auckland."