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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Cannabis testing is ruining lives say protesters

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Activists say they are undeterred that Lismore MP Thomas George was not present when they gathered outside his office this week to protest against the roadside drug-testing regime.

About 70 people gathered to voice their concerns against the tests, which detect cannabis and other drugs, but do not test for impairment.

Recent figures show that up to one in four drivers tested in the northern rivers were returning positive tests, although NSW Police do not say which drug – cannabis, Ice or Ecstasy – is most prevalent.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said a number of people present at the protest had stories of losing their licences, and the impact it as having on their lives.

He said a change.org petition online had garnered more than 10,000 signatures and the popularity of north coast based Facebook site showing random drug testing locations showed that people were increasingly aware of the unfairness of the testing regime.

‘No one tries to cheat or get around the breathalyser do they?’ he said.

‘Because we all agree impaired driving is not on and we know alcohol does impair driving.

‘Cannabis users are devising all sorts of ways to avoid testing positive because there is no respect for these tests.’

‘Unfortunately it is looking more and more like a lifestyle or culture war by the police on cannabis users.

‘In fact it is pushing people needing pain relieve into deeper water as they experiment with less safe drugs which they know will not lose their licence.’

Mr Balderstone said despite Mr George not being present at the protest, a book and a letter would be delivered to him this week to pass onto the leader of the National Party, Troy Grant.


The letter is as follows.

NSW deputy premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant.
NSW deputy premier and Nationals leader Troy Grant.

Dear Mr Grant. 

We are very concerned about the consequences of your new drug driver testing regime. We believe cannabis users are in a unique situation in that the herb is fat soluble and stay in ones body much longer than all other drugs. Months in your blood, weeks in your urine and days in your saliva.


Yes, it is illegal but medical cannabis is under review at the moment and we think losing ones licence is a disproportionate  punishment compared to a caution for fifteen grams or less.


Long term medical users are losing their licences and often their job goes with it. I’m not talking about young people so much as long term cannabis users who don’t use other drugs, until now. There are many who have stopped cannabis and are now using drugs that will not test positive, like pharmaceuticals, cocaine, heroin, alcohol or ice and chemical pills which they know are out of their system overnight. No one is sure how long cannabis stays in our saliva, including the police.


Medical cannabis is truly on the political agenda now and we need to sort the driving side of this out. No other country is doing this testing. In fact car accidents numbers are down in the states of America where medical cannabis is now legal. Most studies done on driving with cannabis usually show no impairment if not the opposite!


We are also the only country on Earth not allowed to eat hempseed because of this testing and police fear the seed may interfere with test results.


This book Chasing the Scream is a gift we would love you to read and then pass on to your colleagues. It explains well how the war on drugs is really a war on people who are hurting. Please give it a go with an open mind. 


Yours sincerely, Michael


President, Australian HEMP Party

President, Nimbin HEMP Embassy


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  1. Hear hear! So very true Michael. These tests are insane. Nsw police, please find a test that detects only recent use, not use from days ago. A driver who had some cannabis days ago for pain relief is not impaired to drive even the next day after use, please get it together! Everyone knows cannabis is a lot safer to use than alcohol or tobacco, just look at the death statistics from each of those three drugs, cannabis is being made legal in many places in the world because it is safe and does not have links to violence or cancer. Do some research!

  2. Cannabis is a herb that grows naturally
    Just like any other plant or tree
    Natural as the birds, natural as the bees
    And just like them cannabis ought to be free

    To be grown anywhere that we please
    In the city, in the town and in the country, free
    In the hills and in the valley
    Cannabis should be there for everyone to see. To call Cannabis a drug is very absurd
    It should be known as a natural herb
    So much diseases cannabis has cured
    That’s why doctors use it all ’round the world

    For glaucoma and fever, rheumatism, arthritis and asthma
    Insomnia, emphysema and to block epileptic seizure
    To alleviate pain and nausea associated with the AIDS and cancer
    Some say it is the best stress reliever, Lord knows I am believer. We want legalization, decriminalization and emancipation
    For all those sentenced to incarceration for participation
    With the healing of the nation
    It’s just another case of political insanity
    Abusing the rights of humanity

    But we should all plant a seed of this weed that we need
    To avoid an ecological calamity
    We can use for paper to save some trees
    Use it for fuel to save some seas
    Use it for medicines to help fight diseases
    And use it for food when we hungry, so

    Give me the ganja cookie and the herbal tea
    Cannabis is a blessing
    I don’t care what no government say Cannabis is okay

  3. This is ludicrous, Cannabis should be allowed on our roads full stop it’s a natural herb if anything it makes the roads safer users are more cautious and careful and usually think twice before doing something stupid unlike with alcohol were you just don’t think, also I think repeat offenders of drink driving, speeding, road raging etc it should be mandatory for them to smoke some cannabis before getting behind the wheel to keep the roads safer, that’s just my 3 cents


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