Supporters and relatives of the Nimbin Lane Boys were shocked when Magistrate Alexander Mijovich sentenced the first of seven men to jail for taking part in the supply of cannabis in Rainbow Lane.
The maximum penalty for taking part in the supply of cannabis is 20 years jail in NSW for supplying ‘a large commercial quantity’.
Negotiations between the defence and prosecution resulted in no amount being included on the Lane Boys charges, the court heard.
After her son Jesse was ordered to serve a five month suspended sentence for his part in the supply of cannabis in Rainbow Lane, Jane Levy spoke to Echonetdaily outside the court.
‘My sons were born in Nimbin and we’ve spent our whole lives in the Nimbin community and since the advent of this police sting they have left Nimbin and they have sorted their lives out,’ she said.
‘This judge has taken a very harsh stance on a whole village of young men that have grown up together.
‘He’s really tough, he’s given quite a few of them jail sentences and this is affecting a whole community.’
One of more than 30 supporters at the court, Ms Levy said she felt sick when the sentences were handed down.
‘After sitting in the court and hearing to what’s being put forward, I feel sick from it,’ she said.
She said laws need to change to reflect marijuana’s place in society.
‘I believe there is a place for marijuana, there’s a place for alcohol, you legalise that, so what’s the matter,’ she said.
When Ms Levy spoke, two men had been sentenced to jail and were in custody.
‘I’ve know their families and they’re devastated,’ she said.
‘He showed virtually no compassion whatsoever for the fact that these young men and their families lives have been disrupted.
‘It will make their lives more difficult, it will definitely make it more difficult for their families.’
Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the impact of the sentences on the community would be huge.
‘We’re a tiny community, this is going to have a huge effect on our community,’ he said.
‘We are all really close and we’ve always been outsiders and we’ve been judged for using cannabis for 50 years and it’s time it changed.
‘The place where people have bought cannabis for 50 years is totally dismantled, we’ve got all of these new out of town dealers selling everything and not caring about quality or quantity.
‘All the drugs are mixed up together (according to the law) but cannabis has got to be separated, its a herb, all the rest are chemicals or processed and are totally different drugs.’
None of the Lane Boys were expecting to go to jail, Mr Balderstone said.
‘I thought people would get suspended sentences, that’s what we were led to believe,’ he said.
‘Suddenly its a magistrate from Sydney, he’s never been to Lismore before and he just thinks we’re a bunch of no hopers.
‘People have no local knowledge, which I think is a big factor here.’
He claimed the government and pharmaceutical companies were trying to control the medical cannabis industry to profit from the drug.
‘All the medical evidence is there and the government and big pharmaceutical companies are just trying to control it,’ Mr Balderstone said.
‘The supply of medical cannabis is going to be a serious issue in the next year across Australia.
‘The word’s out and the horse has bolted, thousands of people are using medical cannabis and they’ve got to get it somewhere.
‘The government are saying its legal, its legal, but they’ve made impossible hoops for everyone to jump through.
‘There needs to be an amnesty straight away on the supply of medical cannabis.’
For the results of yesterday’s court appearances, go to https://www.echo.net.au/2017/07/seven-nimbin-lane-boys-cop-jail-others-get-suspended-sentences/