Chibo Mertineit, from Nimbin, will carry the torch to officially open the Mardi Grass.
Chibo Mertineit, from Nimbin, will carry the torch to officially open the Mardi Grass.

Chibo set to light up the Mardi Grass

By Adam Hicks

Nimbin's Mardi Grass festival is set to start smoking today, courtesy of Chibo Mertineit.

Mr Mertineit is carrying the hemp torch that will light a flame to acknowledge what organisers say are the victims of marijuana prohibition and signal the start of the town's famous weekend-long drug law reform rally.

The pro-marijuana festival is expected to draw around 10,000 to the town for three days of music, smoke and laid-back protests.

A highlight in this year's program, according to Mr Mertineit, is the 10th anniversary of the Hemp Olympix.

It will feature the bong throw and yell event where green Olympians chuck a bong (a small orange juice bottle with rubber garden hose) full of water and yell 'free the weed' or other propot slogans.

"The idea is to raise awareness about the dangers of toxic fumes produced by smoking through a plastic bong," Mr Mertineit, one of the Hemp Olympix's creators, said.

"There's a few different techniques people use ... the trick is to keep the water in as long as possible," Mr Mertineit said.

Then there is the iron growers event where entrants lug a sack of fertiliser and buckets of water around a simulated planting area obstacle course ? complete with tick and leech-infested lantana tunnel. A disclaimer must be signed to compete in this event.

"This was created to show the struggle we have to grow our favourite herb because it's still illegal," he said.

And the crowd favourite is always the joint rolling competition, where competitors choose to go for speed, artistic merit, or do it blindfolded.

"This is just plain fun and encourages creativity," he said.

The first round of Hemp Olympix starts 11am on Saturday, but organisers warn all times are in 'Nimbin time' and all events are subject to change.



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