25 June, 2015. 16:32

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

JUDGING BY RECENT media reports, the use of marijuana for medical purposes could become legal in Australia in the foreseeable future.

Politicians such as the Prime Minister, NSW Premier Mike Baird and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews have expressed their support for the idea, and a clinical trial is due to start soon. But how do Australians feel about the legalisation of marijuana?

Many proponents of the legalisation of marijuana state the the drug is “far less harmful” than other drugs such as alcohol or those found in tobacco products.

So as an experiment, The Betoota Advocate decided to to buy a $100 worth of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes to see which of those is the most harmful. We assembled a focus group of a dozen local Betoota teens and gave them the afternoon to consume what we gave them.


For this controversial product, we acquired four ’40-pack’ lower-end cigarettes from a well known brand that tens of thousands of Australians enjoy each day.

19-year-old horse trainer Charlotte McGuthrie agreed to take part in the social experience and took on the burden of consuming 160 individual cigarettes in a single afternoon.

She was initially apprehensive about smoking such a large amount but said she enjoyed ‘a smoke or two’ with a glass of wine.

Charlotte McGuthrie smoked 80 cigarettes 'end-to-end' before collapsing.  PHOTO: Supplied.
Charlotte McGuthrie smoked 80 cigarettes ‘end-to-end’ before collapsing. PHOTO: Supplied.

Charlotte smoked her first ’22mg cigarette’ at about lunch time.

“I immediately regret this,” she said.

“These ciggies are so rough. Rougher than a cat’s tongue,”

“This isn’t worth the money. Can I stop?” she complained.

Needless to say, we didn’t let Charlotte get off that easily.

Like a mother who’s just caught her child smoking, we wanted to outline exactly how unpleasant and unhealthy smoking really is. True to form, Charlottle battled her way through the first 40-pack. After consuming just a days worth of tobacco in one sitting, she began to look visibly older and irritable.

About midway through her second packet, Charlotte started to vomit in a typical ‘look at me’ type of way, with lots of dry heaving and crying but our independent adjudicator decided that she still had a few more air sacs to tar over.

Around two hours after she’d had her first cigarette, Charlotte was close to smoking her 80th coffin nail of the afternoon. However, an onsite paramedic put an end to the experiment after Charlotte lost consciousness and collapsed on the floor of our office’s smoking room.

She was rushed to hospital in a stable but serious condition and is recovering well.


As Australia’s most popular recreational drug, alcohol is often in the news for all the wrong reasons.

It kills more people each year than lightning strikes but injects more than a billion dollars each in year to state and federal economies.

For this aspect of our experience, we were able to find four cartons of imported Asian beer for just under the $100 limit.

The beer was purchased at Betoota ALDI and the store manager said the product was very popular among the town’s youth.

Kerrod Taynter answered our call for ‘alcohol guinea pigs’ with great anticipation and brought along a friend, who refused to give The Advocate his name.

With the clock just ticking over to twelve-o’clock, Kerrod and his drinking pal cracked their first beer and cheers’ed themselves to a jolly old afternoon.

What we witnessed at our office was anything but jolly.

Our alcohol experiment ended with arrests, hospitalisations and public embarrassment. Kerrod (right) and his dodgy mate will never be the same. PHOTO: Supplied.
Our alcohol experiment ended with arrests, hospitalisations and public embarrassment. Kerrod (right) and his dodgy mate will never be the same. PHOTO: Supplied.

In just under an hour, Kerrod and his partner in crime had hooned their way through the first carton, consuming 12 cans of beer each. Both were now visibly intoxicated and they began speaking candidly about ‘how shit their lives are’ and so on.

Shortly after shotgunning their sixteenth standard drink of the afternoon, Kerrod was so intoxicated, he couldn’t work the fly on his jeans and wet himself while standing at the urinal.

While we thought that was ‘classic’ and ‘fucken funny’, Kerrod was visibly shaken by the embarrassing experience and sat quietly until he’d finished his first carton.

On the flip side, Kerrod’s mate was asking us to ‘put some fucking music on or something’ while trying to sing Keith Urban’s ‘Without You’ a capella accompanied only by his own handclaps.

He openly berated Kerrod in front of us, calling him a ‘soft cunt’ and a number of other crass, unpublishable insults.

They’d both obviously had enough to drink by this stage, so we asked them if they’d like to stop and hit the waters for a while but they both told us to ‘fuggen piss off’.

As the sun was beginning to set over Betoota, both Kerrod and his degenerate mate were close to their goal of ploughing through two cartons each over the course of an afternoon.

Much to our surprise, they downed their last drink and begun rummaging around the staff fridges for more but came up short.

The mystery friend of Kerrod started scrolling through his phone, saying he needed to ‘source some bags’ if he was going to make it through the night.

Kerrod vomited without warning ten minutes after he skolled his last drink and passed out in his chair. Our editor, Clancy Overell dragged him out of his chair and put him in the recovery position.

However, Kerrod’s mate took this as a threat and ‘coward punched’ Clancy in the back of the head. Sadly, as a former tent boxer, Clancy shook off the punch and promptly ‘defended himself’. What happened next is now subject to a police investigation but this friend of Kerrod’s was airlifted to Longreach Base Hospital by the Royal Flying Doctor with serious head injuries and deep facial lacerations. Witnesses describe the scene as ‘ungodly’. Kerrod’s friend was said to be ‘unrecognisable’ when he was being loaded up into the airplane.

The independent adjudicator stopped the experiment after this incident.


Cannabis has been outlawed in Australia for generations, but it’s hard to understand why, considering there are obviously far-more-dangerous legal drugs available.

It pained us to put somebody through this, but for science, we needed to find somebody to sit in a room and smoke $100 worth of weed in a single sitting.

The advertisement in our newspaper called for ‘a seasoned marijuana enthusiast’ with years of experience. As any first time weed smoker will tell you, if you’re not conditioned to consume large amounts of ganja – then don’t.

Finally, after hours of looking, we were contacted by Betoota’s only emo chick, 32-year-old Amber-Lee Cashew.

She’s well known around town, not because she lives fast and loose like traditional emos, but because she’s a massive weirdo.

Amber-Lee Cashew prepared for her afternoon of cannabis consumption with a can of Pringles. PHOTO: Supplied.
Amber-Lee Cashew prepared for her afternoon of cannabis consumption with a can of Pringles. PHOTO: Supplied.

Ms Cashew describes herself as a ‘virtuoso Gatorade saxophone player’ and an expert on marijuana culture so we gave her the job of smoking a quart of potent outback hydro bikie chronic in just a matter of hours.

So after a nice lunch provided by the Betoota Country Women’s Association, Amber-Lee packed her first cone and punched it hard. To set the mood, we put on Country Grammer by US rapper Nelly and got comfortable.

Not long after ripping her first cone, Amber-Lee slumped back into the couch and began eating the Pringles she brought with her. However, we were growing concerned with how slow Cashew was going.

After telling her that she was going to slow, Amber-Lee looked upset as she packed herself the biggest romper Clancy had seen since his misspent youth at the Longreach Skatepark.

She wasn’t done.

Cone after cone after cone. Amber-Lee certainly shut us up by smoking almost half the quart in under a minute. Unfortunately, it was this sort of cavalier attitude towards THC that was ultimately her undoing.

In the moments after Cashew stomped through our garden, she became unresponsive and we could only see the whites of her eyes as she lay dormant on our couch. This was the coward’s way out, by intentionally greening out so she wouldn’t have to smoke the rest of the weed.

After about an hour, she woke up and begged us to let her stop because she ‘didn’t feel that good’. As this was for the benefit of others, we forced her to smoke 13 more cones before putting her in a cab home.



We here at The Advocate weren’t overly impressed by any of ‘Australia’s most popular drugs’ but if we had to choose, we’d say keep things as they are.

The legalisation of marijuana would cripple one of the nation’s drug dealing industry, which is worth over a hundred million dollars each year to electronics stores and fast food suppliers.

Big pharmaceutical companies will tell you that marijuana is dangerous because you don’t know what’s in it.

The powerful fat-cat lesbian education lobby will tell you that it ruins lives and removes the futures of many promising students – and as a newspaper, it’s our duty to report this.




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