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Nimbin 'fires up' over MardiGrass

WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Nimbin celebrates the 4:20 date in the lead up to MardiGrass.
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE: Nimbin celebrates the 4:20 date in the lead up to MardiGrass. Marc Stapelberg

AFTER 25 years Nimbin is 'fired up' for its next MardiGrass on May 5-7, which will be themed Overgrow the Government.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the town was "confused and frustrated" after watching a selection of the town's youth rounded up and banned from the town in Operation Cuppa last year despite recent legislative changes to medical marijuana use.

Mr Balderstone said regardless of the government acknowledging Nimbin's long standing stance on the benefits of medical marijuana use, the town has been "hammered" more than ever by policing.

"All these positive changes in medical cannabis are not coming through in how we are policed," he said.

"We thought we would get an apology because we were right for 25 years."

Mr Balderstone believes the purpose and relevance of MardiGrass is as strong as ever.

He said all the well-known events were still on the cards including the march and the Hemposium, and a new event called the Hillsong Skip which is a tongue in cheek swipe at a former police commissioner.

Mr Balderstone said he saw people everyday looking for a way to access medical marijuana because they now believed it is legal after reading or watching news stories.

"They don't realise that despite the legalisation of medical marijuana use, it is still not legal to buy it in Australia or grow it in your backyard."

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone, in front of the 4:20 artwork by Zac Price, believes MardiGrass is as relevant as ever.
Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone, in front of the 4:20 artwork by Zac Price, believes MardiGrass is as relevant as ever. Marc Stapelberg

 

A large blow-up joint was seen in town yesterday to signify the start of MardiGrass preparations and to tip the hat to the 4:20 gatherings in the United States where pot smokers gather in their thousands.

MardiGrass volunteer co-ordinator Caroline Todd said the first round of volunteers would be arriving this weekend.

Ms Todd said volunteers were mostly international ranging from Norway to Chile.

She said they would be painting signs, preparing the stage, building fences and generally tidying up ready for MardiGrass.

Ms Todd said the industrialisation of medical marijuana through highly regulated government control posed serious implications for the effectiveness of medical marijuana use.

She said the confusion over recreational and medical use meant "straight" people were confused about the legality of the powerful herb.

A march will be held on May 1 from the Court House to Thomas George's office as part of the wider cannabis law reform awareness program.

Topics:  event mardigrass northern rivers festival northern rivers weed prohibition



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