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Cannabis expert says saliva tests not reliable

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While we await the outcome of the Mayor’s charges in October, it might be pertinent to have a look at just how serious these charges are, and maybe just how reliable marijuana saliva tests are.

One might assume the Mayor was driving high as a kite (singing a Cheech and Chong song) along the streets of Tennant Creek at 10.15 in the morning: “La de da, just off with me Golden Shovel to open a party!”

But a chat to a spokesperson for the Legalise Cannabis Party of Australia and Nimbin Hemp Embassy might bring another angle to this story.

Andrew Kavasilas threw his hat in the ring for a seat in the Territory in the 2016 Federal Election, representing the Legalise Cannabis Australia Party and the Sex Party jointly.

The Tennant Times spoke to Mr Kavasilas about the Mayor’s debacle and we could hear his head shaking over the phone.

“The saliva tests are only checking for a per se zero presence of cannabis,” he said.

“We are the only country in the world that carries out these random roadside tests with a follow-up lab confirmation.

“Our police are in a sad situation.

“Australians are using well over a tonne a day of marijuana, we use it more than anyone in the world.

These tests and ensuing positive results are ruining livelihoods and families and it’s high profile stories like this that give oxygen to our argument.”

Mr Kavasilas said police should not be proud of this regime. In fact he claims Australian police are one of the only police forces in the world not trained in sobriety testing. Which means, while someone tests positive for cannabis, they might have had it as much as a week earlier.

“Random saliva testing in the absence of roadside sobriety testing does not work,” said Mr Kavasilas.

“And many people don’t know there is one single company selling these tests to police Australia-wide.

“They are not cheap 60¢ plastic breath testing kits, these are $50-$60 kits used by police officers all over the country.

“The Federal Government needs to undertake studies just like it has with alcohol and subsequent level of impairment.

“It’s been proven you are seven times more likely to have an accident with a 0.05 blood alcohol level than with being under the influence of cannabis.

“Alcohol is a poison to every organ in the body and the body tries to excrete it.

“Whereas our body loves cannabinoids and tries to hang onto it.”

Tennant & District Times 23 September 2022

This article appeared in Tennant & District Times, 23 September 2022.

Related story: Mayor takes leave in face of drug-related charges


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