Growers beware. The dope squad is back in the air.
As part of its annual cannabis eradication program, NSW police have once again sent their ‘cannabis cowboys’ into battle against the easiest of targets – the region’s outdoor cannabis growers.
Reports indicate that the dope squad has set up base at both Mullumbimby and Uki this week, and more raids are expected to follow.
The raids, which have long been controversial in a region that prides itself as being on the forefront of medical cannabis activism, have a huge impact on people trying to grow their own ‘medicine’.
Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone, who is this morning in Sydney with cannabis campaigner Lucy Haslam, said the raids terrorised local communities.
‘For year’s they’ve terrorised hippy communities with these tactics. It’s scary and like a war zone when the helicopter is buzzing over your house, scaring your children and animals,’ he said.
‘At the same time the government is spruiking a massive medical cannabis growing operation at Casino which will be owned by a Canadian company.’
Mr Balderstone said governments were sending mixed messages regarding cannabis.
‘Everytime (Federal Minister for Health) Greg Hunt goes on television saying that medical cannabis is legal we get a hundred calls at the Embassy from people asking where they can get hold of it,’ he said.
‘The truth is that our region has been a major supplier of medical cannabis for a long time and we all know that good medical cannabis needs to be grown organically outdoors.’
Meanwhile, according to reports on social media the police gathered yesterday at the Mulumbimby skate park, Byron Street in Mullumbimby at 8.30am.
Local reports estimated that there were up to 30 police officers at the scene, dogs, 12 vehicles, a removalist type truck and then they heard a helicopter.
Echonetdaily spoke to crime manager for the Tweed Byron area, Detective Inspector Brendon Cullen, who said the report was ‘partially correct’ but that there would be no further comment today.
There were also reports of the police having been in Uki on the previous day, February 6.
The police media unit in Sydney said that it may be part of the cannabis eradication program.
Echonetdaily is currently waiting for a response to questions regarding the operation, its cost and other details from the police media unit in Sydney.