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Byron Shire
April 11, 2021

Drug testing protest planned for Lismore court house

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Police testing drivers in Lismore. (Darren Coyne)
Police testing drivers in Lismore. (Darren Coyne)

Opponents of roadside drug testing will be gathering outside the Lismore court complex on Monday demanding an end to the testing for cannabis.

Organisers will also be inviting people to take part in impairment tests like those used in other countries to test drivers.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the roadside testing regime was having a major impact on people who choose cannabis over other drugs.

‘Last Monday (at Lismore court) there were 69 saliva testing cases,’ he said.

Nimbin HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone. (file pic)
Nimbin HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone. (file pic)

‘They might be setting nets to catch sharks but they’re catching stoner dolphins.’

‘Long term cannabis users who have been driving safely for years are staying at home for fear of losing their licence.

‘Cannabis users across the state have been contacting the Embassy complaining of how ignorant it is.

‘Why don’t they consult people who actually have some experience with drugs before making new laws is a common complaint.

Mr Baldersone said unlike other drugs, cannabis was uniquely fat-soluble and stays in your system for weeks if not months.

‘Cannabis is also unique in that it’s an unprocessed dried herb, unlike all the other refined or synthetic powders and pills, which are much harder to detect and easier to hide.

‘It needs to be separated from the other illegal drugs but the police and politicians insist on keeping it in the same basket.”

‘Sniffer dogs and now saliva testing drivers is like shooting fish trapped in a barrel for police and it’s actually doing the opposite to what was intended in that its encouraging people to use other drugs than cannabis, like ice, which is out of your system overnight.’

Mr Balderstone said cannabis users were also likely to receive extra attention because police were flagging cars after a positive test.

‘I know one guy who got pulled over three times in one day,’ he said.

Mr Balderstone said it was time for Australian politicians to visit America to gain an understanding of the cannabis issue.

‘Accidents in Colorado where cannabis is fully legal now have actually gone down and early statistics from the twenty odd American States who have legalised medical cannabis show around a ten percent drop in accidents (as well as alcohol use and suicides).’

As part of Monday’s protest, the HEMP Embassy’s Polite Service will be outside the courthouse from 9.30 am doing real impairment tests.

‘ Prepare to ‘Walk the Line’, stand on one leg while counting backwards from twenty, or attempt one of various other postural balance examinations,’ Mr Balderstone said.

HEMP Party secretary and licenced hemp farmer Andrew Kavasilas will be speaking at the protest.

Mr Kavasilas says he cannot get a sane hearing or response from enquiries to government departments who refuse to listen to logic.


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  1. I look forward to a video report on this protest (sounds uber athletic). This truly is an instance of the Police creating harm (not preventing it).

  2. They’ll probably have the support of the Lismore judge who is of the same wrong-headed view which runs counter to all scientific and police opinion. Any substance which impedes a driver’s concentration should be banned outright.

    • Yes, why not prohibit everything. After all the war against drugs has been a huge success thus far, as was alcohol prohibition when they tried that in the USA.
      I bet you are heaps of fun at parties.

  3. I understand that when the drug ICE wears down then the police cannot detect any traces in a persons blood. I also understand that when the ICE drug user has reached this stage then they may become extremely aggressive. Other imphetamines, I believe, will also desolve rather fast, and becomes undetectable. This may become a very attractive option to ordinary cannabis users who are normally not driving impaired after some hours but will most definitely be unfairly arrested for drug driving. How does police in first world countries approach this problem?

  4. Actually Jon, experienced cannabis users find they have increased levels of concentration. Of course it is not at all healthy to smoke it however consuming it in food is a very enjoyable and safe way to enjoy the herb and is probably far less detectable in saliva. It sure beats Alcohol.

  5. I worked for Central Coast Public Health Unit for some years. We looked at drugs involved in fatal and serious accidents in the area over a period of years. I remember being stunned at the prevalence of THC detected in the blood of the dead drivers under 35 years.

    Is anyone seriously suggesting driving stoned is safe? Does anyone who doesn’t smoke dope seriously suggest that reaction times aren’t slowed? Come on people. Don’t let the stoners drive stoned. The evidence is that they are unsafe.

  6. we the people should not tolerate this. we need to do something about maintaining our privacy and freedom. when we have to pee we are nothing free.


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