Police have claimed they netted $1.5 million worth of ‘bush’ marijuana in raids on the north coast this week, particularly in the Brunswick Valley.
Ironically, in a week that saw a medical cannabis legislation introduced into federal parliament, here in NSW police continued to trumpet the success of their ‘cannabis eradication program’, the commencement of which prompted the formation of the Byron Shire Echo nearly 30 years ago.
During the operation a total of 759 plants were seized, which police estimate had a total potential street value of $1,518,000.
Cannabis activists dispute the logic of police valuations, which they say value every plant at $2000, regardless of its mature size and whether it is male or female.
But the figures given out each year are the only way the police have in justifying the program’s continued funding.
Ironically, far from ‘eradicating’ cannabis, the annual valuations just seem to continue to rise.
Strike Force Hyperion, as it was named this year, saw the dog squad, polair, local officers and bussed-in police from around the state descend on Main Arm, Skyline Road, Palmwoods, Mullumbimby and the Koonyum Ranges.
In 30 years, community attitudes to marijuana use have shifted dramatically, while police tactics towards (often small-scale) growers remain unchanged.
The community is justified in asking, especially given the impending change in the laws regarding medical marijuana, if this is really what their law enforcement officers should be spending their valuable time doing.