Activists prepare to protest drug-driving laws

A protest will be held outside Lismore MP Thomas George's office on Monday.

A protest will be held outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office on Monday.

Activists are questioning police results that indicate one in four drivers tested for drugs in the region had tested positive.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone has called for a breakdown on the results to find out which drugs are being detected.

‘Is is cannabis, amphetamines or MDMA?’ Mr Balderstone has asked.

‘I bet it’s mostly cannabis … and there is no evidence at all that small amounts of cannabis in your saliva impair driving.’

APN media reported this week that statistics from the NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command revealed the Richmond LAC had one of the highest rates of positive tests in the state, while in the adjoining Tweed Byron command almost one in five drivers tested positive for illicit drugs.

Inspector Stephen Blair of the NSW Police Random Drug Testing Unit told APN that Richmond LAC officers conducted over 5,200 roadside drug tests (RDTs) resulting in 1270 drivers returning a positive result.

That equates to 24.42 per cent of drivers, or almost one in four, returning positive tests for illicit drugs.

Mr Balderstone described the testing regime as a scam designed to stop people from using drugs, which had nothing to do with driver impairment.

He has raised the issue in the lead-up to a protest that will take place outside Lismore MP Thomas George’s office on Monday at 11am.

‘We plan on presenting him with a letter and a copy of the book Chasing the Scream which explains well the origins of the war on drugs and will ask him to pass it on to his National Party leader Troy Grant, the ex-policeman who is now NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and the Police,’ he said.

‘A Baptist, Mr Grant has been outspoken in his enthusiasm for the drug testing but we reckon he still believes the ‘Reefer Madness’ propaganda of old.’

Mr Balderstone said designated drivers were being organised to ensure that protesters going to Lismore for Monday’s protest were not picked up by police for having cannabis in their system.

He said the HEMP Embassy would have drivers available at 10am.

He said no other country was conducting roadside drug tests like in Australia, just as no other country has banned hemp seed.

‘Medical cannabis users across Australia need to lobby and educate their local MPs about how this issue affects them,’ he said.

Mr Balderstone said there was plenty of evidence that cannabis stayed in people’s system for days, ‘even months’, because it is fat soluble.

‘I wouldn’t even be surprised if the accident rate goes up because of these tests,’ he said.

‘Occasional cannabis users are giving up weed and mostly from what we hear drinking more alcohol while some are turning to pharmaceuticals or cocaine even, which is not tested.

‘Others will use ice or chems which are well out of your system next morning as they know cannabis may get detected days after smoking.’

5 responses to “Activists prepare to protest drug-driving laws”

  1. Klaus says:

    Please take a little more care with your reporting.
    It is absolutely not”One in four” or “One in five” drivers that test positive for drugs using these fundamentally flawed and scientifically implausible tests.
    They test for presence, not impairment, it is like having a couple of drinks on a Saturday night, then being arrested for that the following Tuesday.
    Whether or not cannabis or other drugs are legal is absolutely immaterial, it’s completely beside the point.
    It’s how these tests are done and the levels they look for.
    There are far too many false positives to make this worthwhile, it is simply the wrong way.
    These tests, unlike the breathalyser ones, are only done on people who the police think look a bit suss,using whatever subjective criteria the cops have, often simply if the individual cop doesn’t like the look of you, indeed all you have to be doing is driving through UKI or Nimbin to get pulled over and subjected to the personal biases of individual police officers.
    Thats neither fair, right or just.
    It should also be pointed out that a positive initial test at roadside in no way leads to an conviction.
    The very expense of the swabs and further testing means that resources that should be used for proven road safety measures are being squandered on this ideologically driven witch hunt.
    It would no doubt prove illuminating if the Echo were to follow the money and find out who is behind the company supplying these est kits.

  2. steve says:

    If it’s not ”One in four” or “One in five” drivers. What is it?

    This is a link to an 11 page Drug and Alcohol Crash Risk report conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    And this is a interview with a man who has smoked 120,000 joints of straight cannabis(never tobacco) over the past 33 years, driven to work every day for the past 29 years and never had an accident,he lives in Fort Lauderdale Florida.
    He smokes 2 joints for breakfast and one as he drives to work.Interesting story!

    The government is scared, we know that cannabis is medicinal, non-toxic and safe to drive on.
    If there was a referendum today cannabis would be legal tomorrow.But the government are attempting to create an oligopoly on who grows and benefits from cannabis.
    It’s over, the cats out of the bag, your (The USA’s) propaganda failed miserably, you/they lied.
    Apologise and stop this stupid war on drugs and instead educate the people with the scientific facts.

    And finally in the words of Bob Marley; Get up stand up, stand up for your rights 🙂

  3. Marc says:

    Politicians and Police should lead by example with each and every one of them undergoing daily drug and alcohol testing with zero tolerance and the results published.

  4. jamie says:

    well written Klaus

  5. kerrt says:

    I got tested n done for 0.004 mg of the in my system went to court got fined 350 n lost license for a month. I was completely sober when I was tested it’s crap they just use it to boost their revenues n it’s a legal way to discriminate. They always pick on me coz I have tatts n they’ve told me that’s why they pulled me over for the test initially.

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