FLOATING: A MardiGrass Street Parade performer in Nimbin yesterday.
FLOATING: A MardiGrass Street Parade performer in Nimbin yesterday.

Smoke with no fire

By JANE GARDNER jgardner@northernstar.com.au "I thought they were great. They left us alone and have been no trouble. They let us do our own thing for this one weekend of the year," he said. Last year police cracked down on drug use at MardiGrass, and their highly-visible presence on the main street of Nimbin caused some unease among revellers. On Sunday, during the Cannabis Law Reform Parade and Rally, there was almost no sign of police walking the beat in town. Tuntable Falls musician Doug McCudden has been to every Nimbin MardiGrass and reckons this year's was outstanding. "This has been a really good year, one of the best," he smiled. "The police have been doing their job really well. This year they are only here to keep the peace of this family-friendly event. "The thing I love about MardiGrass is the willingness of people to get along with the locals. We think of these people as guests, not tourists." An estimated 10,000 local, interstate and international visitors took in the carnival atmosphere of Nimbin, injecting thousands of dollars into the local economy. David Hyett, owner of Bringabong on Nimbin's main street, was making a very healthy profit. "Business has been outstanding," he said. "Everyone is happy to spend their money. The only trouble I saw was alcohol-related." Mr Hyett said he was delighted a good portion of this year's crop of customers was overseas visitors. "That has been a real highlight. Nimbin is becoming an international travel destination." Meanwhile, the visible presence of drugs was minimal. One brazen, middle-aged woman defiantly peddled buds out of a large zip lock bag on the main street, and the odd cannabis cookie was up for sale, but for the most part the drug trade was not blatant. Locals agreed the open sale of prohibited substances was down. "I thought they were great. They left us alone and have been no trouble. They let us do our own thing for this one weekend of the year," he said. Last year police cracked down on drug use at MardiGrass, and their highly-visible presence on the main street of Nimbin caused some unease among revellers. On Sunday, during the Cannabis Law Reform Parade and Rally, there was almost no sign of police walking the beat in town. Tuntable Falls musician Doug McCudden has been to every Nimbin MardiGrass and reckons this year's was outstanding. "This has been a really good year, one of the best," he smiled. "The police have been doing their job really well. This year they are only here to keep the peace of this family-friendly event. "The thing I love about MardiGrass is the willingness of people to get along with the locals. We think of these people as guests, not tourists." An estimated 10,000 local, interstate and international visitors took in the carnival atmosphere of Nimbin, injecting thousands of dollars into the local economy. David Hyett, owner of Bringabong on Nimbin's main street, was making a very healthy profit. "Business has been outstanding," he said. "Everyone is happy to spend their money. The only trouble I saw was alcohol-related." Mr Hyett said he was delighted a good portion of this year's crop of customers was overseas visitors. "That has been a real highlight. Nimbin is becoming an international travel destination." Meanwhile, the visible presence of drugs was minimal. One brazen, middle-aged woman defiantly peddled buds out of a large zip lock bag on the main street, and the odd cannabis cookie was up for sale, but for the most part the drug trade was not blatant. Locals agreed the open sale of prohibited substances was down.



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