Part of the crowd at last year’s Nimbin MardiGrass parade.
Part of the crowd at last year’s Nimbin MardiGrass parade. Nimbin Hemp Embassy

MardiGrass set to enlighten you

NIMBIN is a hive of industry as the village gears up for its premier annual event – the 18th MardiGrass, which is set to kick off this weekend.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said the cannabis law reform rally was as relevant as ever due to more than a decade of government prohibition and criminalisation policies.

“Eighteen years ago, outraged Nimbin residents led by the legendry Bob Hopkins organised a May Day rally in response to heavy-handed helicopter raids and excessive force on peaceful hippies,” he said.

“It attracted 700 people that year and we vowed to do it every year until the laws were changed and we were no longer deemed criminals.

“Recent law changes in the United States since Obama was elected have been so explosive and so quick that I think we’re closer than ever to sensible drug law reform – even the United Nations agrees.”

While the event has taken on festival proportions that are economically benefiting the entire village, Mr Balderstone said that law reform remained the key focus of the event.

“This year we have keynote speaker Dr Bob Melamede, from the United States, talking about different properties of cannabis,” he said.

“There has been a lot of debate about cannabis psychosis, but research suggests that some of the new strains bred for potency are the problem.

“Prohibition always attracts the criminal element, and a lack of quality control and education is promoting a climate of fear which is a perfect environment for psychosis.

“We’ve got the big rally, the talks and forums, and the rest is entertainment – or rather, infotainment.”

MardiGrass co-ordinator Sarah-Jane Laughingnome said this year’s MardiGrass included the usual favourite events, like the Hemp Olympics and the Pot Art Tattoo Show.

“There’s also an Obama look-alike competition, the hemp rope tug-o-peace, a busker’s competition and Comedy at the Bowlo withlocals Mandy Nolan andS Sorrenson,” she said.

“Then there’s the climax – the big rally, including the Big Joint and the awesome Ganja Fairies.”

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