NSW is rapidly turning into a Police State and Premier Baird is to blame. Here is another example of fascist-level policing of people who should simply have been let alone. You cannot have a Police State without the Police!

ABC: Nimbin's 24th Mardi Grass festival and cannabis law reform rally have been hailed a success, but organiser Michael Balderstone said roadside drug testing had angered many.

Two drug testing operations were set up on main roads into the northern New South Wales town from Goolmangar and Blue Knob, with highway patrol officers also conducting random tests in the Nimbin central business district and on back roads.

"We're all really angry about the saliva testing," Mr Balderstone said.

"The village has been surrounded by sort of roving spit collectors, which kind of freaks me out a bit.

Police stop drivers for drug testing at Goolmangar

"I don't want to blame the police because I am into keeping the roads safe, but it needs to be reviewed," Mr Balderstone said.

"It should be on the agenda and lots of political talk about it this weekend, and I think with medical cannabis coming they've got to work this out."

Mr Balderstone said saliva testing was flawed because it failed to measure the level of a driver's alleged impairment in the same way as drink-driving breath tests.

"It's a bit early for the science and maybe cannabis isn't that simple, but it's wrecking a lot of people's lives, people are losing jobs, and in the country losing your licence is a big issue," he said.

"I've heard lots of personal stories and it's erratic. Some people smoke a bong and don't show positive five minutes later, and some people don't smoke for a week and they are positive, so it's a hillbilly set-up and we can do better I reckon.

The efficacy of saliva-testing was also called into question last month by Lismore magistrate David Heilpern, who said he had heard hundreds of cases involving drivers who said they had waited days, and sometimes weeks, after smoking cannabis before driving.

Police at Mardi Grass in Nimbin
 

Police praise crowd behaviour

Police said the results of the roadside testing operations had not yet been tallied.

Richmond Local Area Command chief inspector Nicole Bruce said there had been a shift in the motives of some protesters at this year's event.

This is the people's sport — we've never had any problems with drugs in our sport.

S Sorrensen, Hemp Olympix organiser

"In the past it's obviously just been the cannabis reform and medicinal purposes of cannabis, but they've now moved on to protesting about the drug-testing," she said.

However, she praised the crowd's behaviour overall.

"It's been quite good, it's quite responsive and we are working well. We've established a good rapport over the past 10 years," Chief Inspector Bruce said.

"Thankfully there hasn't been much violence. There have been hardly any arrests and it's been a good and happy crowd."

Mardi Grass organiser Michael Balderstone with 'where's the crime' sign
 

Cannabis law reform at heart of festival

Mardi Grass's original purpose as a rally for cannabis law reform was upheld, with numerous speakers participating in a 'hemposium' and a medicinal cannabis information service.

"Medical cannabis is the focus because that's what the agenda is in Australia at the moment," Mr Balderstone said.

"It's a medicinal herb and we're splitting straws saying, 'It's good for an epileptic child but this old man with Parkinson's can't have it'.

"We're inching forward and it's very slow, but we're doing the best we can."