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Byron Shire
April 20, 2024

Nimbin’s ‘mayor’ in race for WA senate seat

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Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone.
Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone.

He’s already the president of the Hemp Party, and many regard him as the unofficial mayor of Nimbin, but now Michael Balderstone is hoping to add Senator to his name.

Mr Balderstone is in Western Australia as the lead candidate for the recently merged Hemp/Sex party, and will know today what position he will be on the ballot.

Prior to today’s ballot draw, Mr Balderstone said his main priority was to get the issue of medical cannabis onto the election agenda.

‘None of the big parties are talking about the war on drugs … it’s the big elephant in the room,’ he told Echonetdaily.

Mr Balderstone has been out west for the past couple of weeks, drumming up support for his Senate bid, as well as educating himself on the issues in that state.

Of particular concern, he said, was the plight of Aboriginal people.

He said regulating cannabis in the state would solve many of the problems caused by alcohol and other drugs.

‘Aboriginal people in WA are being forced to pay over $100 a gram for Cannabis in the Kimberley and it’s not much better in some southern areas,’ he said.

‘Most of the time it is already mixed with addictive tobacco. So in fact, it’s about $200 a gram or four times the price of gold! Alcohol is so much cheaper by comparison.’

On his decision to stand as a candidate in WA, Mr Balderstone said although there were plenty of HEMP party members in the state, the timing of the election meant the recently merged parties had to race to appoint candidates.

‘If I had the money to spend the time over here we could’ve found candidates but in the end it was easier to stand myself,’ he said.

Other well-known members of the HEMP party, including HEMP party secretary Andrew Kavasilas and hemp activist Dr Andrew Katelaris, are also in the running for Senate spots in NSW and the Northern Territory.

Mr Balderstone said although it would be a tough race, it was time that Australia had a person in parliament who would argue against prohibition.

‘Ten per cent of Australians are smoking pot and medical cannabis is a major issue so it’s time we had someone in parliament who understands that drug use in a health issue,’ he said.

Mr Balderstone said WA could be the state that delivered.

He said most of the recreational cannabis in WA was hydroponically grown by crime gangs.

‘Nearly 50 per cent of adult West Australians would have used cannabis at one time or another and 30 per cent will use it alongside alcohol as their social tonic of choice,’ he said.

‘Domestic violence, street violence and the amount of vomit on the streets will reduce drastically if people used legal, regulated cannabis rather than alcohol as their recreational drug of choice.

‘The state has a responsibility to regulate and tax the sale recreational cannabis now as is happening across the USA.’

The Australian Electoral Commission is conducting the ballots for Senate positions at midday today.

More to come

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