Once again Byron shire has seen mass Random Drug Testing (RDT) of drivers. The claim by the NSW government and the NSW Police is that it is done for road safety. It is a lie. Of all the drugs, legal and illegal, commonly taken only three drugs are tested, cannabis, ecstasy and ice.
I’m not going to discuss ‘ice’ here.
It is a nasty drug that produces psychosis and extreme violence and no one should be taking it, driving or otherwise.
But what about ecstasy and cannabis?
According to the Australian Government Department of Health, the major effect of ecstasy is that users ‘may feel more alert, energetic and affectionate’.
Logically anything that increases a driver’s alertness and energy would be beneficial. Coupled with an increased feeling of ‘affection’, it would also reduce the incidence of ‘road rage’.
In short, ecstasy is not detrimental to driving but beneficial.
In any case, ecstasy is quickly eliminated from the body and seldom shows up on RDT.
And is therefore less of an issue than cannabis which can be detected in the body long after the effect has worn off, in some cases for weeks.
According to the Australian Government Department of Health , the major effects of cannabis is that users generally feel ‘more relaxed, happy and more talkative. It can also increase appetite’.
Again, nothing that would make a driver more dangerous.
In fact, the most extensive research done into the effect of cannabis on driving was undertaken by the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (DOT HS 812 117 – Feb 2015) and they did not find ‘a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs (cannabis)’.
According to recent research by the University of Colorado, using statistics provided by the states where medical cannabis is legal, ‘legalisation (of cannabis) is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption’.
So why are the NSW government and NSW Police targeting cannabis and ecstasy at RDT?
Obviously, it has nothing to do with road safety.
If it was, then RDT would be testing for the drugs that do have a proven detrimental effect on driving such as tranquilizers, chemical stimulants, and drugs against common diseases whose side effects include drowsiness, sleepiness and impairment of sensomotoric functions (esp. delayed reaction and inadequate coordination); etc.
The answer is money.
Cannabis represents an enormous threat to the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.
So much so that in the 21 American states that have decriminalised personal use of cannabis, the anti-cannabis argument has been almost exclusively funded by the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries and the police associations and owners of private prisons who make money out of prosecuting and jailing cannabis users.
Look at the facts; cannabis is an easily grown, non toxic plant with extraordinary medicinal properties.
Part of the current media and government attention cannabis is receiving is because the grandparents of an ill child donated millions of dollars to cannabis research after cannabis relieved their grand daughter’s life threatening epileptic seizures.
And quick look at the internet will come up with literally dozens of diseases where cannabis has proved to be superior and in many the only medicine to offer relief without side effects.
Thousands of Australians are using cannabis and risking jail to relieve and cure physical and psychological diseases, including the symptoms created by ineffectual drugs that haven’t helped.
Decriminalised cannabis is a disaster for the pharmaceutical industry and will have a detrimental effect on the profits of the alcohol and tobacco industries.
So they give hundreds of thousands of dollars to our corrupt self serving politicians and political parties to fight cannabis whilst they try and find a way to take it over.
And we get dozens of police with dogs and testing kits trying to intimidate and punish those people who would rather feel ‘affectionate’ than violent, pain free than nauseous and ‘happy’ rather than depressed.
There is not a shred of science or evidence that supports RDT for cannabis, it is bullshit.
Unfortunately the men and women of the NSW police lack the courage to tell their corrupt political overlords that they will no longer take part in this hypocritical farce.
They should be telling their union, we’ve got better things to do than persecute sick people and victimless crimes, we didn’t become police to bully people for corrupt politicians, we joined to protect people.
Derek Harper, Billinudgel