March 4, 2024 2:28 am

Charges Dropped Over Marijuana Activists’ Opera House Stunt

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Charges Dropped Over Marijuana Activists’ Opera House Stunt

By Sally Rawsthorne

Two self-described cannabis activists who beamed a pro-marijuana message onto the sails of the Opera House will recoup more than $5000 after charges of distributing advertising were withdrawn against the pair.

Alec Zammit and Will Stolk were at the Park Hyatt on April 20, 2022, when police burst into a hotel room at the Park Hyatt from which the words “who are we hurting” and “420” – a phrase associated with smoking marijuana – were being projected on the Sydney building at 4.20am.

Alec Zammitt (left) and Will Stolk at the Downing Centre on Friday afternoon.

They were each charged with breaching a bylaw of the Opera House that requires people not distribute advertising on the building’s premises.

After police withdrew the charges at Friday’s hearing at the Downing Centre, Zammit sought $7325 and Stolk $8024 for legal costs, saying that the police’s prosecution was flawed.

Zammit was represented by former NSW Labor boss Jamie Clements. The pair were supported in court by NSW Legalise Cannabis MP Jeremy Buckingham.

Pro-marijuana messages were projected onto the Opera House.

Pro-marijuana messages were projected onto the Opera House.

Magistrate Daniel Reiss found the “exceptional” circumstances meant that legal costs could be awarded for part of the proceedings. The pair were awarded $2750 each.

He also made an order for Zammit’s projector to be returned to him.

Outside court, the pair said they were “stoked” with the outcome.

“We’re over the moon. We didn’t get the full amount that we were expecting, but it’s definitely a win,” said Stolk.

“Even the amount we asked for doesn’t begin to compensate for the pain and suffering, the loss of income we’ve sustained going through the court process,” Zammit said.

“420” – a phrase associated with smoking marijuana – was also projected on the bridge.

“420” – a phrase associated with smoking marijuana – was also projected on the bridge.

The two activists, who are the subject of a forthcoming Netflix documentary, will now turn to reforming legislation governing the ability of medicinal cannabis patients to drive.

“[Beyond that] we’d like the full legalisation of recreational cannabis for adult use in Australia, so that the taxpayers get the money that’s currently going to organised crime,” said Stolk.

The pair and their supporters went to Opera Bar to celebrate after getting Zammit’s projector from Day Street Police Station.

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