Michael Balderstone of the Hemp Embassy in Nimbin.
Michael Balderstone of the Hemp Embassy in Nimbin. Jay Cronan

Victoria "way ahead" of NSW regarding medicinal cannabis

NIMBIN HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone has praised Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews for his leadership in moving to legalise medical cannabis and says the southern state is now "way ahead" of NSW on the issue.

While NSW Premier Mike Baird announced three separate trials of medical cannabis last year, Mr Balderstone said Victoria's plan to grow its cannabis locally and provide it to 420 sick children was more ambitious.

"We have to wait five or six years for the results, and they're small trials," he said of the NSW trials.

"Victoria's way ahead. It was a pre-election promise, and (Premier Andrews) was clearly moved. He said he's seen with his own eyes the difference it can make.

"What Victoria is doing is saying... we know it works, (and) we're going to start now.

"It's a tiny door he's opened, but it's open.

Of course the Victorian trial is still well short of the HEMP Party's ultimate goal of legalised recreational cannabis useage.

"What I want and what the HEMP Party wants is personal use fully opened up so we can have recreational cannabis use without fear of the law," Mr Balderstone said.

Mr Balderstone added that the Victorian trial would only allow medical cannabis in tincture and oil form to be sold on a prescription basis at pharmacies and missed an opportunity for what he dubbed "hemployment".

"If you want all these pot smokers off the dole, here's your opportunity," he said. "The dole-bludging drop out smoker, here's the job for them."

"That's what's happened in Colorado (the first US state to legalise personal use of cannabis, in 2014).

"The cottage industry opportunities are huge.

"Colorado's employed 20,000 people in that industry already, and that state is about the population of Victoria."

Mr Balderstone noted there was still a federal law in the way of legalisation to allow domestic licensing to grow high-THC cannabis.

But he reasoned that new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull might be willing to come aboard because he had "definitely smoked a bit".



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