Whats On

Mardigrass protestival to be as serious and silly as ever

CANNABIS CAPERS: Dave Carr, Max Stone, Sam Bernard and HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone practise for a new event at this year’s Mardigrass – Beard Stash, where participants have to hide as many buds in their beards as they can.
CANNABIS CAPERS: Dave Carr, Max Stone, Sam Bernard and HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone practise for a new event at this year’s Mardigrass – Beard Stash, where participants have to hide as many buds in their beards as they can. Marc Stapelberg

A SMALL, peaceful protest outside the Nimbin police station in May 1993 has grown into a cannabis law reform rally that attracts international speakers and worldwide attention.

The annual Mardigrass "protestival" began after a group of Nimbin residents, fed up with what they considered police harassment, marched on the police station and pelted it with eggs and toilet paper.

The negative publicity prompted another group to organise a more peaceful rally, complete with the first giant joint and a nun playing a tuba. These images were broadcast all over the world and organiser Bob Hopkins vowed to hold the protest every year until prohibition was ended.

Twenty three years later and the event continues to grow with the same ethos of serious law reform meets serious silliness still beating at its heart.

Speakers include state and federal politicians discussing medical cannabis and civil liberty issues, Dr David Bearman talking about advances in cannabis medicine in the US, advocates from the US on Colorado's growing green economy, plus many others.

On the silly side, a new event called the Beard Stash, where participants have to hide as much dope as they can in their beards, will run alongside traditional events such as bong throwing, joint rolling and the growers' ironperson event.

"But we are 20 years behind America. They had their first legal medical cannabis in 1996," he said.

"We've got a doctor from California (Dr Bearman) talking about how it's a win-win-win situation there (for patients, growers and law enforcement agencies)."

Mr Balderstone said the main contribution of Mardigrass was getting politicians, law reformers and advocates together talking and "getting new information into Australia".

He said State Premier Mike Baird's plan for a limited medical cannabis trial in NSW was a way of "sweeping the issue under the carpet".

"(The research) has all been done before," he said.

"Patients can expect to wait six years for trials that we don't need, then they'll look at it again.

"He's a cunning politician and we're not impressed."

Topics:  cannabis, mardigrass, protest

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Lismore barber reveals edge with old-school milk bar

Nostalgic owner Morgan O'Hara has installed an espresso and milk bar at his barbeshop in time for the Lantern Parade.

Short back and sides and a malt milkshake, please

25-year fight for wheelchair access ends with $400k funding

The Richmond River Historical Society has finally had a win in their fight for a museum elevator.

Historical Society's patient battle for wheelchair access pays off.

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

$1 million cannabis seizure

Police discuss a huge cannabis seizure and the arrest of seven men.

Perisher has 50cm of snow

Resort to open after 50cm of snow.

Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow to open after 50cm of snaow falls in Perisher valley.

OPINION: Should we give up the great Aussie dream?

Generic housing Rural View.

First home buyers are struggling big time

Commercial Property June 16 edition

SNAPPED UP: A sushi shop in a106sq mground-floor tenancy with a 43sq moutdoor area in Southport Central Towers on the Gold Coast has sold for $954,000.

RealCommercial edition June 16, 2016.

Iconic North Coast hotel could sell for $80 million

ON THE MARKET: The Beach Hotel, Byron Bay.

Million-dollar views, good income, beer - what more could you want?