Man Found With $1M in Cannabis On Way to Byron Bay

Have you ever wanted to go on a nice, long road trip, and just take 145 bags of weed with you? Well, one man just discovered it mightn't be the best idea.

As cannabis continues to engulf a growing amount of global debate, many countries are reconsidering their stance on the plant, ranging from decriminalization, introducing a medical marijuana program, or all-out legalization. In fact, we've made some predictions for the next countries to legalize cannabis which you can find here.

The reason the cannabis conversation continues to grow is simply that the proof is in the pudding; countries and states which legalize the plant reap tremendous rewards. Whether it be the decreased reliance on opioids, alcohol and other harmful substances, or the tens of millions generated each year in tax revenue, marijuana legalization can certainly look enticing to onlooking countries who haven't yet allowed for consumption of the plant.

And let's be real, whether cannabis is legal or not, people will continue to consume it – so states may as well get some benefit out of it.

This has been best exemplified in New South Wales recently, when a 36-year-old man was arrested after an estimated $1 million worth of cannabis was found by police in his truck.

At 9 am last Thursday, police pulled over a truck driver on the Pacific Highway at Bangalow as he headed to Byron Bay on NSW's north coast. (For those who don't know, Byron Bay and its surrounding suburbs have developed a reputation for their weed consumption.)

The driver was asked to do a roadside drug test and was promptly arrested after returning positive results. The police then searched his truck, and found 145 bags of cannabis valued at approximately $1 million, along with smaller amounts of methylamphetamine.

Bags of cannabis found by police

The 36-year-old has been charged with supplying a commercial quantity of a prohibited drug, two counts of drug possession and driving under the influence of an illicit drug. He has been refused bail to appear before Byron Bay Local Court.

And the best part? This isn't the first time someone has been caught with a million dollars worth of weed near Byron Bay. In 2017, 45 marijuana plants valued at $990,000 were found in a house about 50 km north of Byron.

For some, these kinds of arrests are the perfect example of why not to legalize pot; as you'll get more of these kinds of Heisenberg wannabe's who end up moving huge amounts of the plant.

For others, the fact that these huge amounts of cannabis are being bought and sold despite cannabis's illegality is a testament to how ineffectual the current drug laws are, and how high the demand is for cannabis.

There has already been movement on Australia's cannabis legalization efforts, with the Australian Capital Territory legalizing the plant last year for recreational possession among adults. However, the new laws don't allow for the purchase or sale of cannabis, leaving users to continue committing illegal activities if they want to consume cannabis.

Australian Cannabis Seizures Graph
Source: Australian Crime Commission (2019). Illicit Drug Data Report 2017-18.(NCETA secondary analysis, 2019)

Though when one looks at the data, the ACT is the state which already has the least cannabis seizures, and produces the least cannabis too. It's unlikely the change in the law will make much of a splash.

It's when states like New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia legalize cannabis that we'll see a big cultural shift.

Until then, we will continue to see Australians (and by the looks of it, mostly those around Byron Bay) be arrested for enormous amounts of cannabis which could instead be taxed and regulated to bring in extra cash for governments who wish to do so.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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