Pubdate: Tue, 22 Dec 2015
Source: Northern Star (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 APN News & Media Ltd
Author: Rodney Stevens
Page: 6


PROTESTERS against saliva testing drivers gathered outside Lismore 
Local Court yesterday as more than 50 people faced the magistrate on 
drug driving charges.

Inflatable joints, large hand made banners and signs including 'swab 
testing is not impairment testing', 'change the law not our lives' 
and 'good medicine' dominated the peaceful rally a protesters heard 
from a number of speakers.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy President Michael Balderstone told protesters due 
to the alarming statistics police had gathered about drug driving, 
they plan on trebling the number of saliva tests in NSW next year.

Mr Balderstone said figures of one-in-six drug drivers testing 
positive during a recent three day blitz in Tweed Byron weren't an 
accurate representation of the number of drug drivers.

Hemp Party secretary Andrew Kavasilas told protesters countries that 
had legalised cannabis for recreational use had experienced 
reductions in crime and the number of domestic violence related incidents.

Mr Kavasilas said the company that made the saliva testing devices 
were profiting from having contracts to supply police forces around 
Australia with their products.

"Helping people who are suffering shouldn't be about profit, and its 
all about profit," he said.

Lismore solicitor Steve Bolt addressed the crowd and explained it was 
illegal to refuse to provide a saliva sample and people who did 
refuse would be charged.

Mr Bolt said current saliva testing methods did not measure 
impairment, only the presence of THC.

"Once they (police) have got the the evidence that you're the driver 
and there's THC present in your saliva then the offence is proved as 
far as the law is concerned," he said.

The next anti-saliva drug testing protest in Lismore is planned for 
early next year outside Lismore Court.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom