New South Wales police have been accused of heavy-handedness at last weekend’s MardiGrass festival, with attendees subjected to random drug-driving tests and a large presence at the event itself.

Last year, NSW Greens MP Cate Faehrmann called on the state government to investigate the force after she was subjected to a random drug-driving test during the event.

This year, Legalise Cannabis WA MP Dr Brian Walker – in Nimbin to speak at the festival – was among those to be targeted.

Dr Brian Walker was stopped for a ‘random’ drug test on his way to MardiGrass at the weekend

Writing in his weekly email, Dr Walker said: “Considering the vague and questionable manner in which drug testing for cannabis is handled across Australia, I have serious doubts about the randomness of this test.

“Indeed, it was so random, I think everyone coming in and out of town, including locals going to do their weekly shopping, got the same heavy-handed treatment.

He added: “As in recent years, it was a shame to see the over-the-top police presence extended to the festival itself. This was very much at odds with Nimbin’s peace-loving community who had gathered with many others to attend a lawful event. 

“The unnecessary presence of officers caused undue stress for both attendees and the police themselves. 

“It would better serve the livelihood of individuals in the police force if their duties didn’t extend to ‘babysitting’ attendants at a peaceful and respectful event like MardiGrass.” 

Before the event, organisers advertised for drivers to ferry people to and from the festival site rather than risk them losing their licence.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...

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