police told to 'accept Nimbin's culture'



POLICE have to accept the cannabis culture of Nimbin and adopt fresh strategies to make the streets safer, according to speakers at a community protest meeting yesterday.

About 100 people attended the forum, held in response to recent police crackdowns on illegal drugs in the town.

Meeting chairman Michael Balderstone said short-term blitzes by police only served to hurt the town's tourist trade and stir up trouble.

"I'd like to get beyond blaming the police," Mr Balderstone said.

"We need them to come on side with us, to work with them.

"We need them to help lobby for different strategies to policing the cannabis culture in Nimbin."

Mr Balderstone said the pot trade should be accepted, and perhaps facilitated in a marijuana friendly zone because the substance was a part of the town's culture and because it was essential to the tourist trade.

In response to the meeting, Richmond Local Area Com- mand chief Superintendent Bruce Lyons said police were reacting to overwhelming calls from the community to make Nimbin's streets safer.

"Police are concerned that violence at Nimbin stems from the use of hard drugs," he said. "There is ample intelligence to suggest that drug suppliers do not restrict their trade to cannabis and deal in all types of drugs."



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