The Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival starts tomorrow and police have decided that they are going to make their mark. That’s right, in a pre-festival performance they have turned up at Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy today to make their point that while medicinal cannabis might be legal to grow out behind Casino, providing it to people in need is just not ok.
That’s right, if you hadn’t already got the message – then listen loud and clear – the police are reminding everyone that marijuana is still illegal in NSW and just because it is virtually impossible to get medical cannabis treatment legally that is no excuse for getting your hands on it through other sources.
Significant resources dedicated to raid
According to locals an estimated thirty police officers and dogs have been involved in the raid and are continuing to search the Hemp Embassy and remove stock.
‘This is heavy handed police action,’ said one local business person who asked not to be identified.
‘As I understand it they have gone into the Hemp Embassy and seized all the cash, wages and money to pay people for this weekend’s Mardi Grass Festival.
‘They took the dogs through and have removed the entire stock of medicinal cannabis there. They are currently in the process of photographing all the records of people who use the medicinal cannabis service which is over 2,000 clients. This will leave all these people without access to their medicine.’
No help for DV client
In the mean time it appears that the local police are too under resourced to assist one local woman make a statement regarding a man she has had an apprehended violence order (AVO) out against since December 2018.
‘The AVO was put in place on December 15, 2018 and he has repeatedly breached it since then,’ she told Echonetdaily.
‘It is a small community and I tried to keep things civil and polite. Police came to my place of work last week and they said they had given him a stern warning, that this was the last warning and that there would be be no more. They told me that I should charge him because they believe he is dangerous.
Following several breaches including talking to the woman’s boss and trying to send messages to her through other people she became seriously concerned for her safety so went to the Nimbin police station yesterday to ask them to take a statement and lay charges.
‘I decided it was time to take the police advice as I was genuinely concerned for myself so yesterday I went to the police station but they told me they didn’t have time. I offered to come back today before work but they said they would be too busy. They offered me the a date to come back which is a week from now.
‘The local police have no resources to take care of people in the community to ensure we are feeling safe but they have the resources for a raid on the Hemp Embassy’, she said.
Working in the health profession she said that there is a drug epidemic on the streets with people openly selling hard drugs yet the police are focussing on targeting cannabis.
‘It’s crazy. People are coming to us trying to get off pharmaceuticals so that they can have a better life and instead of helping, instead of serving and protecting the community, they (the police) are taking medicine (medicinal cannabis) from our children and loved ones.’
‘I see them selling it (hard drugs) blatantly on the streets. Yet the police are picking on people who use cannabis.
‘There is a ripple effect in the community – we recently had a hit and run where a local woman was killed and they haven’t caught the driver and they don’t have 20 minutes to take my statement yet they have time and resources to do this raid?’
Police still at HEMP Embassy
Locals are reporting that the police are still at the Hemp Embassy conducting their investigation.
‘It seems to be a pattern every time they change the superintendent. The superintendent seems to have a need to prove how tough they are on Nimbin,’ said the local business operator who asked not to be identified.
‘No one has ever died of a drug overdose at the Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival. We’re tired of being treated like pariahs.
‘This kind of behaviour by the police isn’t right. We’ve had police stopping visitors on the street and telling them to leave for the last month. They are driving business away from Nimbin and damaging local business. If we were a mine they would be bending over backwards for us. But they are happy to destroy the businesses of Nimbin and don’t care about us.’
Echonetdaily contacted the Richmond Police duty officer, Inspector David Vandergriend, who said there was no current information as the action was still in progress. Inspector Vandergriend said the current Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay came into the position in August 2018 and the current raid is being overseen by Lieutenant Detective Inspector Nicole Bruce.
Police say ‘be responsible’
Richmond police had sent out a press release earlier today urging ‘revellers to be responsible at Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival’
They stated that, ‘Officers will be aiming to maintain a safe environment for the public, by targeting illegal drug activity and anti-social behaviour.
‘Police are expecting large crowds to converge in the area over the weekend, given attendance numbers in previous years.
‘Richmond Police District Commander, Superintendent Toby Lindsay, says the police presence will be ongoing throughout the event to ensure festivalgoers have a good time while keeping safe.
‘Police will be targeting illegal drug use and supply, underage drinking, alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour,’ Supt Lindsay said.
‘Illicit drugs can have life-threatening effects, especially when a combination of drugs is taken, or they are combined with alcohol.
‘It is not only illegal to possess or take illicit drugs; but those caught face serious consequences.
‘We will take appropriate action against anyone who chooses to commit a crime, or behave in an offensive manner,’ Supt Lindsay said.