Parade of 70 alleged drug drivers in Lismore Court

THE parade of alleged drug drivers continued at Lismore Local Court today with 70 people charged with driving with an illicit substance in their system.

Since September 14, more than 190 people have faced Lismore Local court on drug driving charges which can cost up to $600 to return a positive test.

This is a cost currently paid for by the state government.

A NSW police spokesman said in the NSW Town of Griffith, one in five drivers tested positive to roadside drug tests, while in some towns one in three people tested positive.

In 2014 across NSW, one in 10 drivers tested positive to roadside drug tests, prompting the NRMA to convene a round table discussion on the issue last month.

Magistrate Jeff Linden told the court there was a saturation police presence in regard to drug driving on the Northern Rivers.

Several alleged offenders had been caught more than once by roadside drug tests, one man had been caught three times.

Some of the alleged offenders told Mr Linden they used cannabis tincture for medicinal reasons.

Each drug test costs $49, according to Nimbin Hemp Embassy President Michael Balderstone, while breat tests cost as little as $1.

This cost has prompted Victorian Nationals MP Darren Chester to call on the Federal Government to fund the drug tests.

The penalties for driving with cannabis, speed, ice, ecstacy or MDMA present in oral fluid or blood in NSW range from between three and six months licence disqualification and a maximum fine of $1100, according to Roads and Maritime Services.

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