Two Australian activists have been charged with projecting pro-cannabis messages on television. sydney opera house, one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Activists Alek Zamit and Will Stork timed protests against the continued ban on marijuana in Australia on April 20, 2022 to coincide with the cannabis community’s April 20 High Holiday. used to project dancing potted leaves and other images into the famous venue.
A month before the 4/20 demo, Zamit will test drive the demo, and briefly image the Sydney Opera House from the Park Hyatt Hotel, an iconic landmark and location overlooking nearby Sydney. projected. harbor bridge. Images that did not leave a permanent mark on the structure included cannabis leaves, the number 420, etc., and included the phrase “Who are we hurting?” A major theme of activist protests.
Zamit was contacted by a police detective who visited his home the next day to conduct an interview. Before concluding the interview, the detective said he was unsure if what he had done was a crime and would seek internal legal advice and contact him in a day. We believed they were in the clear and planned their next demo on April 20th.
4/20 Police disrupt demonstration
After returning to the Park Hyatt Hotel in the early hours of April 20, Zammitt and Stolk freely acknowledged their actions and used laser projectors to once again project pro-cannabis images onto the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge. bottom. However, the protests were soon suppressed by the authorities.
“Police ended up raiding the hotel suite where the projector was located. Zamit wrote in an email: high times“They also indicted Will for the same crimes under Section 9G of the Opera House Trust Ordinance.”
Zamit went on to explain that the crime was related to “distribution of advertisements etc. on the premises of the Opera House”, noting that there are similar laws related to the Sydney Harbor Bridge where activists projected pro-cannabis messages. But so far, police have chosen not to file charges for that part of the demonstration.
Stolk and Zammitt said their actions did not constitute commercial advertising but were a constitutionally protected protest against Australia’s cannabis ban and a message in support of reform legislation being debated in New South Wales (NSW). are fighting the accusations against them. parliament.
After being informed by the activists’ lawyers that they would file a constitutional challenge to the charges against them, prosecutors changed their approach and said Zamit and Stork’s actions were political protests, not commercial propaganda. However, they are continuing their lawsuit and are asking the pair to present their constitutional defenses in court.
The activist will appear in court next week
On January 31, Stork and Zamit face a hearing in the case, and the New South Wales Attorney General’s office will indicate whether it will oppose the activist’s defense on the basis of political expression or communication. If the defense is opposed, the matter is sent to a constitutional hearing.
If the case goes to trial and the activists are convicted of the charges against them, Stolk faces a fine of up to $1,100, and Zammitt’s fine could double with a second indictment at trial. I have. Zamit hopes the court proceedings will draw attention to Australia’s continued ban on cannabis and amplify their ‘who are we hurting? message. He added that he has hired a lawyer known for his constitutional defenses related to political expression and hopes prosecutors will drop the charges before the case is brought to the Australian High Court.
Stolk wants to pay the fine and end the problem, but the constitutional implications of the lawsuit and his desire to continue spreading the pro-cannabis message are keeping him in the fight. said.
“We did this for a reason, and the reason is that we don’t drink recreational marijuana, just like we drink alcohol, and like our brothers and sisters do with many laws. It was to firmly express our opinion and political belief that it should be legally allowed to be consumed and sold in states of the United States, countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Thailand, and soon Germany. But,” Stolk wrote in an email. “Current Australian law he believes is stuck in the 1800s, and he believes it is a constitutional right to protest and express a political opinion.”
He also said that underlying the protests was the desire of many Australians to be able to smoke joints without fear of reprisal from the government. Yes, he adds, fighting when his grandfather spent five years in a Nazi prison camp during World War II.
“Personally, I feel that if you give these corrupt politicians an inch, they will take a mile,” Stolk asserts. “So we are now in a position to take one for our team and stand up for our constitutional rights, so whatever the outcome, we will defend the freedoms our ancestors fought so hard to protect. I think it’s our duty as Australians.”