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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

HEMP president not welcome at Prime Minister’s party

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Hemp Party president Michael Balderstone is led away by police. (Darren Coyne)
Hemp Party president Michael Balderstone is led away by police. (Darren Coyne)

HEMP Party president Michael Balderstone of Nimbin was ejected prior to a campaign event featuring prime minister Malcolm Turnbull today.

Mr Balderstone had earlier confronted deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce asking why medical cannabis was not on the agenda of any political party this Federal election.

He wanted to then ask the prime minister  what he thought of a letter he wrote at Christmas asking him to read a book, Chasing the Scream, which relates to the war on drugs.

Page MP Kevin Hogan offers Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a macadamia nut. (Darren Coyne)
Page MP Kevin Hogan offers Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a macadamia nut. (Darren Coyne)

Mr Balderstone, who is a senate candidate in Western Australia, and known locally as the unofficial mayor of Nimbin, had heard the PM was in town to spruik a $25 million package aimed to developing local jobs by bringing new industries to the north coast.

However, just minutes before Mr Turnbull arrived to tour the Macadamia Processing Factory at Alphadale, members of the NSW police protection unit confronted Mr Balderstone and ejected him from the property. They also took this reporter aside to check credentials.

Mr Balderstone told Echonetdaily that he wanted to point out to the prime minister that a medicinal cannabis and hemp industry had the potential to create up to 100,000 jobs throughout the region yet not one major party had even mentioned the topic during the election.

‘I come from the highest unemployment area in Australia, where in fact there are thousands of people earning an illegal, tax-free living from cannabis … why not tax and regulate the industry?’ he said.

He also wanted to know whether some interim measures could be put in place until the government sorted out international treaties preventing governments around the world from legalising cannabis.

But he never got to ask the question.

Instead, Mr Turnbull, surrounded by the nation’s media, announced a $25 million North Coast Jobs and Investment package that would be implemented if the coalition government was re-elected.

Mr Turnbull said the package focused on three areas … business innovation, infrastructure and training.

‘The $25 million will attract matched funding. It will partner with business, local government and state government to leverage that investment to create more opportunities and greater investment because we know that investment drives employment,’ he said.

Page MP Kevin Hogan welcomed the announcement.

‘The jobless rate in the Clarence Coffs area has fallen to 4.2 per cent – well below the NSW and national average (4.95 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively),’ Mr Hogan said.

‘Since July almost 2,500 people in Page have found on-going work through the coalition’s Jobactive programme. But more still needs to be done.

‘I set up a local Job Strategy Group over six months ago to bring companies looking to expand to the North Coast. This package will certainly be an incentive for those businesses that have been thinking about making the move but aren’t ready to commit,” he said.

‘One of those companies that have shown a keen interest is Sydney-based Adaptapack Pty Ltd.

Adaptapack chief executive Katie Walls says with the right incentives, the Australian-owned robotics business could expand their operations to the north coast and create a substantial number of new, highly skilled jobs.

‘This is exactly the type of company we want to attract to our community,’ Mr Hogan said.

‘This package will not only create local jobs for local people, it will also create career opportunities for young people in our communities.

‘We already have a great university and TAFE sector that could provide local training for the high skilled workforce that a company like Adaptapack needs. This means lots of well-paying jobs for our community.

‘The regional jobs package is also great news for our existing innovative local businesses which can use it as an opportunity to expand, pursue export opportunities – and importantly create more jobs in our community,’ he said.






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  1. Hooray for Michael Balderstone and his advocacy for medical cannabis and hemp based industries.

    For his manifest back pain, what would PM Turnbull really prefer? A Mac nut or cannabis balm?

  2. Well, Mr Turnbull must have read the book, why? because his lackeys (police et al) are behaving just like Harry Anslingers goons have done since the advent of prohibition,

    Please read the book “chasing the scream” it will bring everything re prohibition into perspective

    We wont stand for any more brutality, nor will we back down on the issue of free medical cannabis for one and all,

    be fore warned all you enforcers!

    we are not going away,

    Mr Turnbull, we will continue to heal our families and the population without your permission as we have done for may years now

    Thankyou Michael, and thankyou to all the tireless workers and compassionate people behind the scenes

  3. The sad fact is that the current election campaign seems to be occurring on an entirely different planet to that inhabited by most Aussies. .

    The only way in which cannabis is talked about in our media, and by our politicians, is as if it is a dangerous drug that needs to be ‘controlled’. This is factually incorrect. Cannabis can be described as a therapeutic herb or a recreational drug but it has been acknowledged by even the circuit court in Washington DC that most every other drug or therapeutic agent used in our society is more dangerous.

    Since I do not think we should have laws designed to protect us against imaginary perils or moral hazards, cannabis should not be considered by the criminal law at all. After all, paracetamol, aspirin, coca-cola, playing in the sand, surfing, fishing, driving a car and simply walking down the road are all far more risky. All of these things result in the deaths of Australian citizens every year.

    Cannabis kills nobody. Ever. In all of recorded history. But if you get an Aussie politician to acknowledge that in public Michael I will buy you a green cigar.

    Thousands of people die each year from abusing alcohol yet we do not outlaw the substance nor do we require those that use it as a recreational aid to obtain a prescription. That would be silly.

    Yet our political class are proposing that the best way to increase the availability of this relatively harmless therapeutic agent for people who need it is to manufacture a huge number of additional restrictive laws.

    The idea that we need to set up a huge new bureaucracy to oversee the licensing and distribution of prescription cannabis is, at its heart, utterly ludicrous. As ludicrous as cannabis being illegal in the first place.

    We need to scrap our cannabis laws entirely and start again with a clear eyed and scientifically informed appreciation of the risks that attend the use of the substance. Of course our political class don’t want to talk about cannabis. Whenever they do so they sound like utter fools.

    The best way to ensure that sick people have access to cannabis is to legalise the use of cannabis.

    Let’s end the silly charade and start spending our money on policing crime instead of morality. Legalise cannabis and put that money into supporting and assisting those people in our society who are using far more dangerous substances like methamphetamine, oxycodone, alcohol, and sugar.

  4. A registered Senate candidate is manhandled off site where a publicly funded political event is being staged. A public office holder, the Deputy Prime Minister, refuses to answer questions, in an election year, about a pressing medical and legal issue, the access to Cannabis. The publicly funded local member talks about low unemployment numbers for an area with massive unofficial unemployment levels, fully knowing that under the current regime, being “employed” means, within a designated period, say one week, a person “works” for at least one hour, for which they may or may not be paid. He also fails to consider the expertise of “farmers” of Cannabis in the area and the eminent suitability of the local growing zone to Cannabis cultivation, an activity proving to be economically and socially successful in at least thirteen states in the Country where the “War on Drugs”was initiated. Are we witnessing yet another instance of Parallel Universe Syndrome ( PUS ) on this Island Quarry ?

  5. Nice one Malcolm,time to have dinner with a loony moslem iman but toss out a potential Senator that merely wanted to point out a couple of issues pertaining to the North Coast,you are becoming very arrogant,typical of a Wall st.banker,perfidious to the max!

  6. These politicians don’t seem to be able to recognise the fact that this multii use beneficial plant Cannabis, 3 basic strains, and more developed already oversea for specific use, will provide many jobs, just what they want to see, or so they say!

    Instead they dismiss good info about this at all by refusing to hear someone who knows, with police? Are you kidding? What democracy? Thank you for trying to reach these fools Michael, and for trying to protect people from anymore useless suffering and death!
    Why won’t they listen..fear of losing status quo profits from opposition to fully legalising this plant? Why don’t they realise opening the door to big new biz, several types with this plant, will give them a lot more income instead, and end so much imposed suffering and death? Why be so stupid? Causing so much damage would put anyone else in prison! Wake up politicians!

    They also don’t seem to realise a huge amount of research has been done overseas that does not need to repeated here. They don’t seem to care that they are forcing people to suffer and die..for nothing more than opposition profits!
    There is no reason to wait for anything, which only condemns people to suffer and die for the wait.

    They are such cruel people! Police enforced!
    We are supposed to respect them for hurting and killing people, and for not even thinking about a huge new multi use set of business industries benefiting both citizens and govt? That is supposed to be just what this talk was about! Hypocrites!

    If they refuse to listen to citizens and truth here at home, perhaps they can at least go to Canada and learn how to do what the Justin Trudeau govt is doing there, another Commonwealth country, that is not so dumb and backward as our govt is here!
    Canada is simply tossing out all the old law on this plant and developing new law to fully legalise use. This will happen here too, and there is no reason to wait any longer. Even the UN is starting to rethink, and understand facts and the need for change. The USA now has 26 states going with legal use, and there is a constant stream of moving to fully legal legislation everywhere there.

    Why not here? Govt here is ignorant, bought off..or both. This must end. Get educated politicians and police, at least. Your old ideas are flat out lies. The extensive research is there about truth, outside govt & opposition lies. We have had enough of it. We must change too!

  7. Mr Turnball if you think for a moment that the Australian citizens are blinded by your rhetoric you are sadly mistaken. You are refusing to acknowledge that cannabis is a safe non-toxic plant that is a viable commodity that can be used beneficially in many productive ways. Ways that could create a legal industry that will create wealth, health & commodity products. An industry that will create jobs for many & open new avenues for export. All taxable therefore a boon to our economy. We all like macadamia nuts Mr Turnball but they are not enough to boost the economy whereas cannabis & hemp products are worth banking on. Due to your refusal to lift the prohibition upon cannabis & falsifying the credibility of this God given plant, you will not be getting my vote & I guarantee there are many in this country who feel the same disgust & disregard you have shown to be your downfall.

  8. What’s the point in legalising it? If it’s made legal then the dopeheads in gov can’t hark back to their youthful use of it in their rebelious student days.

  9. Now Turnbull will miss out on all the votes from pot heads who will be to off-their-faces on election day to be bothered to put the bong down and go and vote – even if they were registered.

  10. So we have an ignorant denialist from an isolated and intolerant community refusing to meet with a ignorant denialist from another isolated and intolerant community. The sad part is the adjectives equally describe Turnbull, Balderstone, ACT and the Far North Coast. Turnbulls string of comments show he is a shadow man of no substance, all opinion, no knowledge Then from his opponent the very essence of silliness is the comment, “There will be 100,000 jobs created”. Just that statement wins the “MUNGO AWARD” of the year.
    Just a casual question. Does any contributor here who states that Cannabis is entirely safe read? There is massive research on all the components of Cannabis and it is true for some things it is a wonder and beyond compare . It would be insane not to use Medical Cannabis but having addicts promoting it is a actual handicap. But there are also as many negative findings, the latest two Hyperemesis and triggering a Heart Attack.The first easily remedial but the second usually fatal eventually. The Sativex Trial has shown the Cannaboid no better than placebo. Just like every other drug really that both big and little pharma produce.
    Have a wonderful 2017 everyone.


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