TOKEN ACCOUNT: Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone has been a strong advocate for medicinal marijuana but not random drug testing.
TOKEN ACCOUNT: Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone has been a strong advocate for medicinal marijuana but not random drug testing. Contributed

'Downright un-Australian'

MICHAEL Balderstone wants everyone to know those who are set to use low THC medicinal cannabis will not be able to operate a vehicle under current law.

He wanted to use his question on Q&A, which came to Lismore last week, to illustrate that Australia was "the only country on earth taking away licences for any trace of THC in your system, even if your ability to drive is not impaired”.

The only people able to use the medicinal cannabis grown and processed by SOLARIS Nutraceuticals, in a 9.3 hectare $100 million glasshouse operation in Casino,"will have to be virtually on their death bed and not driving." he said.

"The laws were originally introduced for truckies on speed, I think, but they have nothing to do with impairment. In the case of cannabis it is a test for merely the presence of THC, which being soluble in fat, can stay in your system for months, in a regular toker like myself - as the police know!”

"It's not unlawful technically, but it is ethically .... and it's downright un-Australian!”

"No matter what the drug or state of mind or age of the driver ... if the driver is impaired then they should not drive, obviously ... I think get out of the car, stand on one leg, count from 20 backwards... Then test them maybe if it's needed! It's called a sobriety test and is used in other places.

"I come from Nimbin where we have nine permanent police and our main street is live on cameras to their station.

"Some of them love doing random roadside drug testing ... it's like letting a lion loose in a cage full of deer,” Mr Balderstone told Q&A.

He is is currently awaiting a court attendance notice based on lab results for initially testing positive to the presence THC in his system.

Michael Balderstone preparing with others chosen to ask questions on Q&A in Lismore.
Michael Balderstone preparing with others chosen to ask questions on Q&A in Lismore. Sophie Moeller

LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Q&A Lismore show leaves region underwhelmed

I DON'T want to appear ungrateful because my roadside drug testing question did get selected and did happen, albeit not on the TV show but as a bonus "after hours” event.

How political was that decision?

However, feedback in Nimbin was unanimously disappointed in the questions and answers that did get aired.

Most people were bored shitless by the show.

They didn't seem to use the uniqueness of the Northern Rivers' creative and alternative people at all - except for Jenny Dowell on the panel who was exceptional - and the entire night seemed to be swallowed by the drought.

And how can you spend an hour talking about the drought without mentioning the out-of-control land clearing, deforestation and the sheep and cattle industries which still dominate our landscape?

Q&A, I discovered, has over40 permanent staff and I reckon it seriously lacked imagination and courage in its discussion for such a high-profile and expensive gig.

May as well have done the show in Dubbo.

Michael Balderstone,

Nimbin


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