Friday, 16 May 2008

Blair Athol: Sydney's raid-a-day suburb

Police have arrested six people and dismantled a massive coordinated clandestine marijuana cultivation operation in Sydney's south west.

Another raid is under way this afternoon in the suburb of Blair Athol, adding to the six already carried out in the suburb in four days.

Justino Abesamis, 49, who has lived next door to the latest home raided in St Monica Way for four years, said plainclothes police in bulletproof vests used a battering ram to smash their way into the house this afternoon.

"What's going on with this suburb? It's every day this week,'' he said.

"What's the problem?

Police pictures of yesterday's drug bust in Blair Athol, showing the indoor hydroponic farm and the electrical equipment used to power it.

"For the last three days I have been seeing this [the raids] and wondering what's going on and now my next door neighbour is raided.''

He said he had only seen the Asian man who lived next door a few times and said he had not lived there long, perhaps a few months.

Occasionally he had seen other Asian men come and go at the house, he said.


$10m cannabis crop seized

Campbelltown commander Stuart Smith said the earlier seven raids since last Friday - six in Blair Athol and one in Bradbury - seized over 2000 plants valued at over $10 million. A total of six people have been arrested.

"It's the dismantling of a significant coordinated clandestine cultivated cannabis crop [operation] at numerous sites in Blair Athol and Bradbury.

"It's always significant when you disrupt this kind of activity.''

The houses raided this morning were on The Kraal Drive and Mary Brown Place. Both houses were two storey brick homes. Commander Smith said a child had been taken by police from the house on Mary Brown Place during this morning's raid but could not say what gender or how old the child was.

A neighbour of the house on The Kraal said police arrived about 6am.

She said a couple had been living in the house, where the blinds and doors were always shut. "You never really saw them a lot,'' she said.

Police were seen removing electrical equipment and large light shades from the house and placing them into removal vans as a number of locals looked on.

A number of cannabis plants in pots were visible inside the garage, ranging in maturity from small seedlings about six centimetres in height to larger plants about half a metre tall.

Family home

A neighbour of the house in Mary Brown Place said police arrived about 6.30am this morning.


Legalised cannabis and post offices

CANNABIS would be sold legally in post offices in packets that warn against its effects under a proposal outlined by the head of a Sydney drug and alcohol clinic.

The director of the alcohol and drug service at St Vincent's Hospital, Alex Wodak, said Australia needed to learn from the tobacco industry and the US Prohibition era in coming to terms with his belief that cannabis use would replace cigarette consumption over the next decade.

"The general principal is that it's not sustainable that we continue to give criminals and corrupt police a monopoly to sell a drug that is soon going to be consumed by more people than tobacco," he said.

"I don't want to see that [industry] fall into the hands of tobacco companies or rapacious businessmen.

"I'd like to see it fall into the hands of the failed business people Australia seems so good at producing or the Australia Post that seems so successful in driving away customers." He made the proposal for taxed and legalised cannabis at the Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin on Sunday, but said he would be happy to express his opinion to the Federal Government.

A spokesman for the Minister for Health, Nicola Roxon, said the proposal would not be considered. Experts in the fields of drug and law enforcement yesterday opposed the suggestion, saying there was insufficient evidence that legalisation would not increase harmful use or lead to other law enforcement issues.

"It's really going beyond the evidence to say regulatory control would effectively reduce adverse effects," said a deputy director of the National Drug Research Institute, Simon Lenton.

"We don't know what the effects would be." Dr Wodak believed his idea could reduce cannabis consumption, based on comparisons between consumption in Amsterdam and San Francisco. He said regulated availability would also reduce people's exposure to other illicit drugs when buying the product. His model would make cannabis advertising illegal, ban political donations from the cannabis industry, and demand proof of age on purchase. He chose Australia Post for distribution as it could be regulated and had branches across the country.

"What I'm talking about is not pro-cannabis … it's about reducing cannabis harm."

Question: What happens if some people are alergic to alcohol? Seems to me one drink is social and two can be lethal. Like migrain, vomiting, change mood, violence even death etc...then what, Thcorette? Some people take thc as a party herb to lighten up their life and take them away from the stark harshness of reality of being straight. The herb highly motivates some people and can be very creative. Some use it for painkiller, a bad toothacke, period pain, a hard life. Less than one per cent have been adversely effected by it, like they have pencilin or royal jelly. In other words people are affected by differnt substances like some are by taking alcohol or too much alcohol. Some people wear the hemp clothes. Herbs with multiple uses shouldn't be denied to the people of this planet some say it costs less to produce and has many industrial uses as well as medicinal.

Police arrest 21 at Nimbin's Mardi Grass
Police have arrested 21 people on the first day of the annual Mardi Grass festival in Nimbin in northern New South Wales. The three-day event in the town is billed as a cannabis law reform rally.

Govt unveils cannabis research centre
Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon has launched a new cannabis research centre, saying young Australians are more likely to have used marijuana than tobacco.

Australia's cocaine use up, smoking down
AUSTRALIANS are smoking fewer cigarettes and less cannabis but using more cocaine, a report shows. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare survey found that from 2004 to 2007, the proportion of people aged 14 and more who smoked daily fell from 17.4 to 16.6 per cent. Recent cannabis use dropped from just more than 11 per cent to just more than 9 per cent.

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