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May 11, 2021

Drug bus targets Nimbin festival goers

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The annual Nimbin MardiGrass Kombi Konvoy.
The annual Nimbin MardiGrass Kombi Konvoy. Drivers attending the festival faced police drug swabs. Photo David Lowe

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.

polite-snuffle-dog-copyThe drug bus operation will continue today (Monday 5 May) to target drug-affected persons leaving the festival to ensure road safety.

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.


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  1. Astounding isn’t it ? It’s more than well known that Police will be out in force targeting not only Mardi Grass but most North Coast festivals . It’s widely reported in all the media beforehand , it’s even advertised . They’ve been consistently doing it for how many years ? Yet still people turn up oblivious , under the influence , in possession of drugs , what planet do these people live on ? If your that thick , that ignorant , that stupid , you deserve to get caught .

    • Graco’s argument here is pretty disingeneous. It’s been accepted for decades that the ‘war on drugs’ does nothing to curb drug usage, so suggesting that people would not take drugs at an event like this is really just another way of saying “I don’t take drugs, and so you shouldn’t either”.

      The problem with the legal approach and policing with drug use is that it follows a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach, which is more of a fundamentalist ideology than a reasoned measure to protect society. When protecting society from driving under the influence of alcohol ( which I’m sure Graco has done ), we draw a line in the sand at 0.05% alcohol in the blood. This approach is quite defensible. We’re saying “any more than 0.05% is dangerously affecting your ability to drive”. With other safer drugs such as THC, however, the current approach means that ANY detectable amount of THC on your body ( not in your blood, mind you ) is considered unsafe. This is clearly not defensible, as logic dictates there is always a threshold of concentration in your blood which will not affect you AT ALL, a threshold in which is becomes unsafe, etc.

      Also, Graco, if you’d like to call people thick / ignorant, etc, I think the phrase you are looking for is “If you’re that thick” … as opposed to “If your that thick”. Oh dear.


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