Police say 86 drivers were detected driving under the influence of a prohibited drug during Nimbin’s annual MardiGrass festival at the weekend.
A number of coordinated operations targeting the festival over the weekend included use of a drug-bus, sniffer dogs and high-visibility policing.
Detective Inspector Matt Kehoe, of the Richmond Local Area Command, said police were ‘very concerned by the large number of drivers testing positive to drugs and remind motorists that driving under the influence of prohibited drugs is not only illegal, it is immeasurably irresponsible and dangerous’.
Inspector Kehoe said illegal drugs had an adverse affect on the precise skills, clear judgment and concentration required to safely drive a motor vehicle.
‘Those who drive while under the influence of any drug are automatically at greater risk of injuring or killing themselves, their passengers and other road users,’ he said.
In addition five people were caught drink driving and a large number of traffic infringements issued.
On Friday, 38 people and/or vehicles were searched with eight drug detection cautions issued, five for cannabis possession, two traffic infringements issued and two people charged.
During Operation Chisel, the high visibility policing operation targeting drug and alcohol related offences and anti-social behaviour over the weekend, 74 people were searched, 19 vehicles searched, 31 drug detections, 24 charges for possess prohibited drug, five charges for supply prohibited drug, three goods in custody charges, three cannabis cautions, six street offences, six move on directions and ten licensed premises inspections.
Thousands of people from the region and around the globe again made the annual pilgrimage to the Nimbin MardiGrass at the weekend, the one day of the year where cannabis lovers come together in solidarity to celebrate a much maligned illegal herb.
Cannabis law-reform campaigners, buoyed by the legalisation of recreational marijuana use in two US states and Uruguay this year, will highlight Australia's continuing prohibition 'nightmare' at this weekend's 22nd annual Nimbin Mardi Grass.