News

What we can learn from US weed legalisation

ABOVE: Michael Balderstone in front of the pot shop.
ABOVE: Michael Balderstone in front of the pot shop. Contributed

THE Nimbin Pot Shop has posters of MardiGrass on the walls and is a clean sterile environment where people can buy their weed legally.

But this dispensary is not in Nimbin, but rather Seattle, Washington, where the owners were so taken with the Northern Rivers town that they decided to name their store after it.

The discovery was made by Michael Balderstone who was on a three-week trip looking into the changing landscape of marijuana in America.

Mr Balderstone said that Nimbin was well known and there was lots of interest in the small Australian town, particularly as a result of the MardiGrass Festival.

"Nimbin has a big reputation in global cannabis culture," he said.

 

GROWTH INDUSTRY: Joe at the Nimbin Pot Shop in Seattle.
GROWTH INDUSTRY: Joe at the Nimbin Pot Shop in Seattle. Contributed

Arriving in Vancouver on February 23, Michael spent time with friends and explored the Canadian cannabis scene where their Prime Minister Trudeau has promised to legalise and regulate recreational use of the drug.

Later he travelled to Seattle in Washington State and Portland, Oregon where he witnessed first hand the effects of full legalisation of recreational marijuana.

"We spent three weeks and probably visited 50 dispensaries and had a good look at the whole scene," he said.

"It's completely deglamourized, just no big deal and part of everyday life.

"There's big taxes which the states obviously love - up to 37 percent on top of the weed at the retail level as well as 25 percent at the grower level.

"They're excited by Colorado making a billion dollars last year in tax.

"The dispensaries were all very clean, health inspected, everything is regulated, quality controlled, which has taken the whole black market criminal thing out of it."

Mr Balderstone said every type of cannabis is available from edibles, capsules, tinctures and shatter, to oils, hash and raw bud.

"Most of it is sold as raw bud, all sealed in containers, all labelled with which strain it is, the strength of the THC and the CBD in it, where it was grown, and it's all tested and analysed to make sure it's clean," he said.

"All the stuff we don't do here, and all the advantages that come with ending prohibition and regulating it.

"We spent quite a bit of time in Mark Emery's Cannabis Culture lounges which are full of every type, gender and age choofers. For the $5 entry you can bring your own weed and vapes or billys or whatever, or buy and hire.

"Pot sold at similar prices to home, centered around $10 a gram though I saw ounces for as cheap as $99 and grams of bud for as high as $20.

"We're slowly getting on the track here and I know the truth will come to the surface in time but we are way way behind in Australia.

" I think we're still paranoid from the modern reefer madness propaganda. John Howard was a big instigator.

"They've had legal medical cannabis for twenty years in some States in America that are now fully legal for anyone over 21 because they've seen how beneficial the changes are.

"People here forget that prohibition of cannabis is less than a hundred years old and we can change back easily."

The 'legal weed tour', as he called it, showed Michael the employment benefits of full legalisation.

"Thousands of mostly young people are employed in the industry, from growers to trimmers and packers to dispensary workers and medicine makers," he said.

"We met people who run weed tours and others who just make hash and shatter.

"Others want to be growers and others want to run shops or lounges.

"Whatever, there's plenty of job variety and thousands of young people are working in an industry they love rather than queuing at Centrelink in between bong sessions and the couch.

"Hemployment is the big surprise winner in re-legalisation."

Michael said he estimates there's 100,000 jobs waiting to happen in a regulated Aussie industry if the government chooses a cottage industry model like he witnessed in North America.

"The big corporations want to control it but the knowledge and expertise is grass roots," he said.

"The more people we involve in this industry the better in my opinion rather than a few big giants.

"I'm optimistic the positive changes seen in America emphasise the benefits and de-stigmatised marijuana for the Australian government and Australians in general."

Topics:  legalisation marijuana marijuana legalisation northern rivers health northern rivers lifestyle northern rivers weed prohibition weed



After major crowding funding Paige is Chicago

IN THE RIGHT PLACE: Paige Humphreys seeing Chicago with her father Andrew Humphreys while she has testing for a month

"Our eternal love and gratitude to those who believed in us”

Stoush erupts over asbestos claims at sugar mills

Exterior of Broadwater Sugar Mill. Photo Jerad Williams / The Northern Star

Union said sugar mills have been issued with safety notifications

OPINION: Saleyard fees important for cattle exchange

All Breeds Sale at Casino Saleyards.

Richmond Valley mayor speaks about the cancellation of cattle sales

Local Partners

Plans for skate park are rolling along slowly

BALLINA Council has made the final decision on the controversial location but work hasn't started.


OPINION: Who is who at Falls Festival 2017

NOVELTY: Brisbane pop band Confidence Man performing at Splendour in the Grass 2017.

Our guide to the festival's kooky mix of hits and beats

Painting a brighter future for koalas

WORTH SAVING: The Queensland Koala Crusaders' Community Crowdfunding Campaign aims to raise $30,000 towards the cost of planting 10,000 trees for koalas.

Queensland Koala Crusaders have launched a crowdfunding campaign

Bride and Prejudice's Chris reveals more family heartache

AUSTRALIA'S hearts broke for Chris and his partner Grant during the Channel Seven reality show Bride and Prejudice.

Nicole's ready to bust out of Doctor Doctor's love triangle

Nicole da Silva stars in season two of Doctor Doctor.

New season gets a fresh injection of relationship dilemmas.

MOVIE REVIEW: Tom Cruise flying high again in drug drama

Tom Cruise plays pilot Barry Seal in the movie American Made.

FILM STAR delivers his best performance in some time.

The Project will now be on six nights a week

The Project presenters Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar.

The Project is expanding with a Sunday night edition and a new host.

Margot Robbie is unrecognisable in London

Margot, is that really you?

MARGOT Robbie looks completely unrecognisable as Queen Elizabeth I.

Game of Thrones: Season 7 finale predictions

Emilia Clarke in a scene from season 7 of Game of Thrones.

JON and Daenerys finally met. But what happens next?

Our own Jacqui becomes eighth not to 'survive'

Lennox Head's Jacqui Patterson is the eighth contestant to be evicted from Australian Survivor.

Last night on Australian Survivor, alliances were tested

199 home sites approved in Evans Head

The Evans Head Manufactured Home Estate plans. Zoran Architecture.

Manufactured Home estate approved near aerodrome

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

Developer tears up couple's contract for new home

Jade and Edward Roberts were stung by the sunset clause on the first day of their honeymoon.

The developer has the right to do this under the sunset clause

Reports of Ibrahim family connections to farm and food hub

John Ibrahimat Bluesfest 2012.

REPORTS circulate colourful Sydney family have investments on the NR