MardiGrass 2019 Cannabis Law Reform Rally & Gathering.
MardiGrass 2019 Cannabis Law Reform Rally & Gathering. Amber Gibson

MardiGrass: 'Set weed free'

PRO-CANNABIS supporters gathered at Nimbin MardiGrass at the weekend to ask the government to re-examine existing laws surrounding the plant.

Nimbin Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone said he believed they had outlawed the most useful plant on the planet.


"It's an extraordinary plant and as a medicine it has no equal, on a lot of sicknesses and illnesses and the pharmaceuticals can try but there are a lot of side effects," Mr Balderstone said.

Mr Balderstone was concerned people may not attend MardiGrass this year because of the fear around drug testing and being unable to find a designated driver.

After a raid at Nimbin Hemp Embassy last week, police warned drivers that there would be a strong police presence to test drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the weekend.

"We will review how we do MardiGrass next year depending on the numbers this year."

Earlier in the week Mr Balderstone told The Northern Star he was concerned the saliva test simply finds "traces" of THC in saliva, rather than testing for actual driver impairment.

"This means that not just hours, but days or even weeks, after consuming (cannabis) traces of THC could be discovered in your saliva," he said.

MardiGrass began on Friday at noon and finished last night, with protesters gathered for the main event yesterday afternoon.

Jason Jay Foster, organiser of 420 Rally in Melbourne who attended the day in support of law reform, said he would like to see all stakeholders sit down for an honest discussion about moving forward.

"There is absolutely an ignorance to what the real truth is," Mr Jay said.

"What we need to do is take the criminality about possessing and use of (cannabis).... and have people sitting down and discussing the potential economically, across the board for the country, not just for the medical side or the recreational side but all of the various industries that can benefit from this commodity being reintroduced into our economy."

Mr Balderstone said MardiGrass was a protest that tried to educate the public through talks, fun events, music, poetry art and their crowd pleasing event Hemp Olympix.

"There is a lot of comedy, a lot of comedians love pot," he said.

"We need the humour for the situation we are in and we try and make the whole thing educational and about getting the truth out there.

"The hemp seed, which is an incredibly nutritious food, has only been legal in Australia for a year. So, the change is happening and the awareness is happening to say, 'hey, this is an amazing plant and it should have never been illegal, and it was only made illegal in a capitalise competitive way to knock the components out'.