Interest in medical marijuana draws big Mardigrass crowd
MEDICAL cannabis was "unquestionably" the big issue at this year's MardiGrass festival.
Festival organiser Michael Balderstone said the issue helped attract large numbers to the event despite the terrible weather.
"Our online ticket sales were up a lot, about a third up," he said.
"Quite a few people didn't come (on Friday) because the roads got blocked. But it was lovely to wake up to the sun on Saturday and all the roads opened and people started turning up."
Mr Balderstone said the focus of this year's festival was largely on medical cannabis with an impressive line-up of international speakers.
"I think that's why we've got a lot more people coming," he said.
"The word has got out there and there's a new acceptance that this plant really is medicinal and the hippies weren't just carrying on all those years.
"I also think it's made a change in attitude to Nimbin. We were the dirty druggie town and suddenly we've got a medical edge."
Speakers at this year's Hemposium included American doctor David Bearman, an acknowledged leader in cannabinoid medicine.
Canadian speakers Ajia Mae Moon and Rebecca Ambrose spoke about the commercial applications of the hemp plant while American visitor Abe Acton focussed on medical applications.
Australian Senator Richard Di Natale and fellow politician Fiona Patten also spoke.