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Byron Shire
October 16, 2021

Locals urged to attend protest against drug-driving regime

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Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy is urging people to turn out on Monday for a protest against drug-driving laws as police ramp up yet another ‘road safety’ operation in the region.

The protest will be held outside the Lismore police station, and follows numerous incidents of local people being caught with traces of cannabis in their system, but no evidence of impairment.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the protest was an opportunity for the local community to voice their concerns about the drug-testing regime.

‘We would love a big turn out at this protest outside the Lismore police station as a lot of people are really angry about this new saliva testing,’ he said.

‘We get phone calls every day at the HEMP Embassy from upset people who have lost their licence and sometimes their job as well.

‘There will be speakers at the protest telling their stories and others are welcome.’

‘The saliva cannabis test is for any amount no matter how minuscule and that means drivers who smoked a joint days before are being busted. We all know it’s below the belt but the Deputy Premier and NSW Police Minister Troy Grant is an old school ex cop who thinks its illegal and that’s that.’

‘One consequence he may not have realised is that it encourages drivers to use other far more dangerous drugs that are out of your system and saliva by the next morning. Cannabis is uniquely fat soluble and stays in our blood for months, our urine for weeks and our saliva for days.’

‘The saliva testing combined with sniffer dogs has dramatically altered drug use trends for the worse.”

‘No other country is testing cannabis like this and no other country has prohibited eating hemp seed which the police maintain affects their tests. This has never been trialled or tested.’

‘The new drug driver testing is a serious case of bullying by the police as they know cannabis users can test positive days after using their medicine.’

Meanwhile, police have announced they are carrying out yet another ‘road safety’ operation in the Northern Rivers region for the next six weeks.

Operation Arrive Alive, a six-week state-wide high-visibility Traffic and Highway Patrol operation, kicks off today at  12.01am (18 December 2015). The operation will run until Tuesday (26 January 2016).

As part of Operation Arrive Alive, double demerit points will apply for speeding, mobile phone use, seatbelt and helmet use. Double demerits will apply from 24 December 2015 to January 3 2016 and from 22 January 2016 to to 26 January 2016 inclusive.



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  1. I don’t want any alcohol or drug affected drivers on a road near me or anyone else! If you want a drug free test result, don’t smoke the stuff.

  2. Drink grog or coffee Sam & David? Drive after having just one of either?

    Impairment is the issue here, not pointing fingers when most of us have one vice or another!

    Drugs (in my humble opinion) are worse for individuals & communities when humans have any involvement in the manufacturing process. Pot does not fit that category!

    Have another beer, wine or cigarette and say “those pot smokers are a real worry”. Such contradictory attitudes are of no help, education is however!

  3. Sam and David I’m totally with you…. As if! I mean if you are so squeaky clean puritanical, great. Keep parading on about your totally sanctimonious straight existence. But not everyone is like you. Chances are, not everyone wants to be like you cos most likely, you are really boring. Not only that but if you actually took the time to read the article you might understand the subject a little better. Clearly you are old school bigots who are on the side of Troy Grant who’s waste of time swab blitz only costs taxpayers more money by revving up a police presence where clearly it’s not needed. Get an education or get off this page!

  4. The saliva tests don’t even test for impairment. Its just the Police Ministers personal crusade against stoners. Its quite sad really.

  5. There is no erratic or infraction driving and there is no impairment test. Charges have nothing to do with it. Charges are made, with severe imposed damage for something else entirely.
    These arrests are arrest made under false premises. Even USA automotive insurance companies have done studies to show drivers who have just ingested cannabis drive better, not worse, with better focus & slowing down.
    It is done for opposition profits, not safety, and is simply unjust & absurd. Besides, What really does cause driving problems is a variety of big pharma products that get no notice or test as well..

    I am thankful that alcohol use, a shutdown drug, is able to be seen as dangerous by level in system, but even here it would be helpful to have an impairment test.
    You can’t treat cannabis use just the same as alcohol or big pharma as they are very different. The body rejects toxic alcohol & big pharma as quick as it can, but cannabis is not toxic to the body, rather useful (fits our endocannabinoid systems for benefit) and retains it as long as possible instead. That retention has nothing to do with driving as the driver is under no effect on driving or otherwise.

  6. Sam and David, what do you think about people driving on heroin, methadone, xanax, endone, Oxy contin and many other types of very strong pharmaceutical drugs? Do you understand these saliva tests do not even test for any of those drugs? So people can drive around and be very wobbly and half asleep and even if they do get tested they wont be caught out… Fair? Nope.

    This saliva test for the cannabis part is insane, it picks up ‘presence’ of cannabis that can be from several days ago, so someone can be tested days after and still get a positive even though they are not impaired (or stoned) at all!

    Just because you dont like weed doesn’t mean other people should have to endure losing their license because of some horrible test that does not even test for impairment or an exact amount (like the RBT does). All because the government still thinks cannabis should be illegal, even though so many other places in the world are changing their laws to allow more and more cannabis to be consumed. Have you ever google image searched ‘most dangerous drug’ ? You should!

    I’m not sure why you are so against a drug that is so safe and is probably THE safest drug to use out of any drug, especially when it comes to recreational use, if either of you use alcohol or tobacco then you are pretty hypocritical and ignorant as those drugs are vastly more harmful for us than cannabis is. Cannabis heals, alcohol and tobacco kill.

  7. To all ‘Believers’ out there it’s a real good idea to put your believes aside for just a few minutes and wet your feet with up-to-date info on this drug topic…

    Article 1:
    What’s the most dangerous drug in the world? Crystal meth? Heroin? One of those ones which is still only known by its chemical formula?

    Nope – it’s booze, according to IFLScience.

    Two different studies – one published in the Lancet, one by European scientists BOTH rated alcohol as the worst, on two different scales.

    Regardless of whether you rate drugs by the harm they do to the economy, or to people, alcohol is the worst.
    Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/25/this-is-the-most-dangerous-drug-in-the-world-according-to-science-5524587/

    Article 2:
    According To Scientists, This Is The Most Dangerous Drug In The World
    BY : ALEX WATT | 24/11/15

    Which is the most dangerous drug in the world?

    You’d probably take an educated guess and say the one which is most likely to kill you, right? But it turns out this is a question for which the answer isn’t actually as simple as it might appear.

    Sure, most people (including the UK government) would probably point to class A substances like heroin, crack cocaine or crystal meth as the drugs which are most likely to ruin lives and cause severe health problems or death.

    However, despite the high addictive properties of those drugs, not to mention the absolute havoc they’ve wreaked on people and societies, it isn’t any of those narcotics which top the list of the world’s most dangerous drugs.

    In fact, according to a new study by scientists, the most dangerous drug on Earth is none other than alcohol.

    Yes, you read that correctly – alcohol. That completely legal substance which you can enjoy down your local pub. Hell, you’re probably still recovering after drinking a whole heap of the stuff over the weekend.

    It may seem like a surprising conclusion but, according to IFL Science, the result comes down to a dizzying range of factors.

    They cite two studies – one by the British Government’s former chief drugs advisor David Nutt and another by European scientists. In both cases, sixteen parameters of harm were chosen and divided in terms of each drug’s direct and individual effect on the user, as well as the substance’s effect on others and wider society.

    Twenty drugs were put through this process, which was considered the best method to determine which drug was the most harmful. The list of factors included the likelihood of dying, dependence, impairment of mental functions, loss of things like your house or job, physical injury, criminal activities, and even the economic cost to a country.

    And, although heroin and crack cocaine came in at second and third on the list, alcohol took pole position as the most dangerous drug in the UK and Europe – primarily because of its harm to others, including the wider economy.

    On the surface, the outcome may seem like a shock but, when you consider that 3.3 million deaths every year are caused by the harmful use of alcohol, maybe it shouldn’t be such a surprise. According to the World Health Organisation, that’s 5.9 per cent of all annual deaths, which works out at a shocking rate of one death every 10 seconds.

    You can go more in depth on the studies here but, in the meantime, maybe put down that glass of mulled wine.

    Read more:

    Thank you for reading… and who knows, your sphere of believes may have suddenly become a little bigger, found yourself a little wiser and magically aware of the real issue!

  8. I once smoked cannabis for years (alot of it) and have no issues with people smoking. But it is a drug, same as alcohol is a drug or oxycodone is a drug.

    People say cannabis is out of your system after a few days. But the short term effects to some people is more then just a medical/recreational drug. Just as any drug use, there can be side effects.

    I have seen negative effects from cannabis. Even after a day or two after use has stopped. Impairments including paranoid, panic attacks, types of psychosis. Even some things that I have personally come across (Panic attacks).

    I feel that even alcohol should be 0 in ones blood to drive. No one should drive with drugs in their system (And that is the way aircraft licenses are). I personally feel that is a responsibility to protect fellow drivers on the road. And not have to explain to a mother, that their son/daughter died even thou I was 0.02 or only had small traces of THC in my system.

    Smoke/eat your cannabis , drink your alcohol, take your oxycodone. But don’t think it has no effects on the road or peoples lives. Its not about this drug is better or safer then this drug. Its about the safety of our family and friends on the road.

    • Hi All,

      Whilst I agree with you in sentiment Ben, that everyone should practice safe driving, I feel your opinion would have been a bit more effective and less hypocritical as a “prohibition soft sell” if you had left out your first sentence.

      Because the negative impacts you speak of cannot be regarded as impairment, but drug effects and withdrawal effects which can be associated with just about all drugs prone to abuse. i.e. A heavy drinker gets the shakes when going without or a heavy cigarette smoker getting aggressive or irritable when not getting their fix.

      You are right about one thing though, and that is our attitudes should be about road safety, but the tactics employed by police would even have YOU in a courtroom today if you indeed used cannabis like you say you did. Because the ugly truth is that our drug driving tests are NOT about road safety.

      Unless of’course you never got behind the wheel of a car for all those years that you smoked.

      Here are the 2 major problems with this test, and I will use cannabis as the primary example here purely because it relates to the article and it’s clearly the drug most hard done by this regime.

      First of all, the tests are unnecessarily selective. While cannabis, MDMA and Meth are being looked for, drugs like cocaine, opiates and sleep/depression medication such as benzodiazepines are not. While we know what they can be tested for using the same swabs. A true road safety test should be for all associated drugs of abuse that can impair driving.

      Second and more importantly. As we all know cannabis being uniquely fat soluble tends to stick around a lot longer in the body than other water soluble drugs. And also there is a growing concern and ambiguity on what the police are actually looking for when testing a person.

      Delta 9 THC, the active ingredient in cannabis is what causes the psychotropic effects when you smoke. and 11-COOH-THC is the secondary metabolite which is created when your liver works though the active ingredient. 11-COOH-THC on it’s own has no psychotropic properties whatsoever and is akin to the pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects of paracetamol or ibuprofen (both of which you can drive with). This is why 11-COOH-THC is traditionally looked for in urinalysis to show recent historical use.

      It is because many saliva tests on the market are still looking for 11-COOH-THC, that is why saliva swab tests are recommended as a forensic and not diagnostic purposes in other countries.

      Currently the only test that is FDA (food and drug administration in USA) has approved is the ORACLE III test which only looks for 40ng/ml of Delta 9 THC and not the metabolite. 50ng/ml is the Wolff report research recommended threshold for driving and heavy machine operation.

      Yet our police insists on an unproven Securetec drugwipe 5S. This test looks for only 10ng/ml of Delta 9 THC (1/5 of recommended threshold) and is suspiciously lacking any data on whether or not it looks for 11-COOH-THC.

      However if people are being picked up many days after their last smoke, then I can only guess this is because they are being tested for much less 9 Delta THC (10ng/ml) which will widen the window of detection, and IF police is testing for 11-COOH-THC it would fit perfectly as a loophole within their presence only “road safety measure”.

      Police have even admitted that this test is not about impairment, only presence. But presence alone does not constitute impairment as I have argued earlier and is especially true with cannabis.

      So then calling this regime a road safety measure is laughable because you can get busted even if you are as sober if not more sober than someone who has popped a couple of headache pills. Funny enough ibuprofen can produce similar metabolic symptoms as 11-COOH-THC and can cause a false positive in tests.

      This heavy handed regime is a tool for tyranny, fearmongering, dubious statistic building and revenue generating but NOT ROAD SAFETY because it wrongfully targets someone who may not be experiencing any impairment. whilst users of cocaine, heroin and other drugs are allowed to drive on through.

      If there is to be any respectable policing of drug driving, it needs to be research and evidence based, focused on impairment levels and must be across ALL drugs.

      Then I believe less people would have a problem with it.

      Feel free to read through the source materials I have borrowed from.

      read more:










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