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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

45 drivers nabbed for drugs at MardiGrass

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There is growing disquiet about the NSW drug driving testing regime. (file pic)
There is growing disquiet about the NSW drug driving testing regime. (file pic)

Forty-five people allegedly tested positive for drugs as a result of roadside tests conducted during the MardiGrass weekend at Nimbin.

Officers conducted 1,366 drug driving tests and 1,777 drink driving tests during the operation.

Just four people were charged with drink driving.

Assistant commissioner John Hartley of the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command said the message was clear, ‘If you use drugs and drive you will be caught.’

‘Road users must understand and heed this warning. Drug driving puts you and other road users at great risk and our officers will be there to stop you.’

MardiGrass organisers saw it differently.

‘It’s very unfortunate for the local cops that the random drug tests are directed from Sydney so they get left to face the anger we all feel about it when the patrols go back into their hole,’ Mr Balderstone said.

‘There is no drug testing of drivers in America unless an obviously impaired driver is seen by police and their road toll in states that have legal pot has gone down if anything.

‘Wake up Australia, we’re being led up the garden path on this by the police, or more specifically Police Minister Troy Grant perhaps.

‘It’s nonsense and clearly pushing people to use other drugs which are dangerous.’

Sex Party MP Fiona Patten told ABC radio that it was ‘large scale police harassment’.

Ms Patton pointed out that a cannabis rally in Melbourne recently attracted 6,000 people with very little police attention.

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  1. We don’t want to see an ‘obviously impaired driver’ on the roads. Most of us would, sensibly, rather they were taken off the roads before they reached that level of danger to the rest of us.

  2. At $40 per test, hearing that officers conducted 1,366 drug driving tests means they spent $54,640 and deployed at least one van costing over $500,000 and well… the wages of these amazing public servants. Costs per positive test would then be $,1214 each not counting wages and the truck(s). The cost to police in loss of respect from their community…

    Really? Are these politicians insane?

    More to the point, are we insane?

    Why do we allow these stupid people to hold political office? They clearly do not understand what we need. They are fully out of step with the times and the reality of their electorate. How long does this travesty continue?

    I feel very sorry for the 46 victims of this abuse of power. A sad day indeed.

  3. Show me the evidence that spending this $500,00 is in any way useful and I will support it.
    It is a complete and utter waste of valuable taxes.
    Pathetic misappropriation of public money for no absolutely discernible function

  4. The Sex Party’s Fiona Patten and Mardi Grass’ Michael Baulderstone have done a great job in getting the truth about roadside drug testing out there. People need to be careful about lumping all politicians together here. Ms Patten is the only MP I know to publicly own her recreational cannabis use and this is what we need more of. You can’t tell me that there are no NSW politicians who smoke dope. There are plenty. The same as there are any number of roadside testing cops who also use recreationally. Judges too. What we need is honesty in this debate. Honesty from everyone involved in the drugs debate from journalists (when was the last time a journalist who wrote about pot admitted to smoking it?) through to magistrates. Then we would see some sanity around roadside testing.


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