‘Polite’ protest drug driving laws at Lismore court

A PROTEST against roadside drug testing drew a throng of support as 51 locals faced Lismore Local Court charged with driving with an illicit drug present in their bodies.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the NSW Government was justifying an expansion in roadside drug testing as their main weapon in the war against ice.

Mr Balderstone said on Monday September 14, 69 locals faced Lismore Local Court on drug driving charges.

"Long term cannabis users who have been driving safely for years are staying at home for fear of losing their licence," he said.

Being fat soluble, Mr Balderstone said cannabis should be treated differently to other illegal drugs.

"Cannabis is uniquely fat soluble, unlike all other drugs, and stays in your system for weeks if not months," he said.

"Cannabis is also unique in that it's an unprocessed dried herb, unlike all other refined or synthetic powders and pills, which are much harder to detect and easier to hide.

"Sniffer dogs and saliva testing drivers is like shooting fish in a barrel for police and it's actually doing the opposite to what was intended, in that it's encouraging people to use other drugs than cannabis, like ice, which is out of your system overnight."

Since cannabis was legalised in Colorado, Mr Balderstone said statistics showed around a 10% drop in crashes.

"After testing positive once the police have your car flagged as a 'cannabis user' so expect to be pulled over regularly," he said.

"But perhaps the biggest consequence is the country people who have lost their jobs because of losing their licence.

"It's a totally disproportionate punishment compared to a caution for (possessing) 15 grams."

Hemp Party secretary and licensed hemp farmer Andrew Kavasilas told protesters he couldn't get a hearing or response from government departments about roadside drug testing.

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