Max Stone and Michael Balderstone, pose for a portait out the front of the Hemp Embassy and Hemp bar.
Max Stone and Michael Balderstone, pose for a portait out the front of the Hemp Embassy and Hemp bar. Jerad Williams

Nimbin lights up after medical marijuana legalisation

NIMBIN MardiGrass identity Max Stone says he has something in common with the late four-star US General George S. Patton.

"Now I know how General Patton felt as his tank was rolling into Berlin in World War Two," he said.

"The war is won."

Patton's tank never quite made it to Berlin - his forces ordered by President Eisenhower to halt at the Elbe River - but the sentiment behind the analogy remains apt.

The Federal Government's decision to legalise medicinal marijuana has brought an air of celebration to Australia's pot capital.

"There is just a really good vibe," Mr Stone said.

"We're all volunteer activists, and we've been watching a long line of sick and dying people come to town who have been desperate for this.

"Waking up knowing the Federal Government has legalised it - we've been waiting for that for the past 20 years."

The NSW Government has already started the hunt for potential sites to grow the herb in NSW to support a pharmaceutical supply if clinical trials prove successful.

"This could open up a whole new industry for our regions," Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair said.

Mr Stone said legal hemp farmers were already growing the plant for industrial purposes across the state.

"I would hope (the government) would follow the science and understand that if you put the plant in the ground, you get a more homeopathic result than if you grow it in a bucket of chemicals," he said.

"There are currently farms all over NSW, so luckily we're already ahead of the game.

"All we need is for more licences to be rolled out to get more people involved."

Activists at Nimbin's Hemp Embassy hope the legalisation would eventually lead to the drug being decriminalised for recreational purposes.

"The next logical thing would be to re-legalise, tax and regulate the industry," Mr Stone said.

"What they saw in Colorado was that medical marijuana became a nightmare for police.

"They didn't know who the legal growers were and who were in the black market, so everything got a bit muddy.

"That's part of the reason it became legal."

The State Government has committed $12 million over four years to establish the NSW Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research and Innovation.

-APN NEWSDESK



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