After 26 years of running the annual Nimbin MardiGrass this year they are celebrating the fact that cannabis is finally being recognised as a medicine.
‘It looks like the argument is pretty much over as to whether cannabis is a medicine or not, it’s just about who gets to make all the money from it now,’ says Michael Balderstone, president of Nimbins HEMP Embassy, chief sponsor of the annual Cannabis law reform protest and gathering.
‘There is a lot of passion this year as cannabis has been in the news so much and more and more of the general population has woken up to what a good medicine the plant is and how we have been lied to.’
This year’s MardiGrass is being seen as the beginning of the end of cannabis prohibition, despite the fact that there is no sign of the arrest rate dropping, in fact the opposite.
‘The hour before dawn is the darkest,’ says Michael. ‘The truth can’t be hidden much longer and we have a handful of speakers travelling from North America to tell us how legal weed is working over there.’
New highlights in this years crammed program include a Cannabis Hypothetical – putting a panel of ten politicians, doctors, lawyers, healers and patients on the spot. The quick witted Queenslander Dr Deb Waldren will wear Geoffrey Robertsons shoes while a grassroots market in the Nimbin Community Centre will be a meeting place for local visionaries to showcase the rich and diverse range of alternative and sustainable ways of existing on this planet.
It’ is also the 45th anniversary of the legendary Aquarius Festival and the dream still lives on as does the music. To celebrate on Sunday there will be the Billy Cliffs Aquarius Legends dress up competition which has already attracted a dozen entries including Bob Dylan two Neil Youngs, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa and John Lennon.
‘We’re encouraging everyone to dress up and celebrate this year the beginning of the end of us being criminals for using pot,’ says Michael.
‘We’ve decided to even bypass going to the copshop in this years Rally on Sunday, thinking they are victims now more than ever of the politicians war on weed. The real enemy is greed and those who profit from prohibition. The pharmaceutical industry obviously are the primary demons, but privatised jails, organised crime, the alcohol industry, the Church perhaps, the police union keeping the power and jobs. There are many opponents who are happy to profit from peoples pain.’
There are more people and events to announce for this years Nimbin MardiGrass but all the usual favourites are in place including the Hemp Olympix, the Hemposium, the Kombi Konvoy and Saturday 420 with the Big Joint and the Ganja Faeries
Five stages of speakers and music ensures there will be something for everyone at this once a year gathering of all things Cannabis related.
The MardiGrass mood will get a kickstart tomorrow, Friday 19 at the 420 Celebrations in Nimbin from 2pm with Sarah Stando, Kobya and Johnny Ganja singing in the ceremony in the village centre, a smoke in that will be followed by Diana Anaid launching her new album at the Bush Theatre in the evening.
On Tuesday, 1 May the traditional Mayday March from the Lismore Court House to local MP Thomas Georges office will start at 1pm.
For more info check out the latest program or call the HEMP Embassy 6689 1842.