Has the assault on cannabis use in the Northern Rivers with increased raids, sniffer dogs and roadside drug tests actually pushed more young people onto harder drugs? That is the the question being raised by the President of the Nimbin MardGrass organising body Michael Balderstone.
‘We’ve been crying out for decades this is our choice of medicine,’ said Michael.
‘Finally they agree, surrendering to the overwhelming science, but keep on hunting us the same as before. Even worse, we’re getting busted driving now. Their clever war tactics of sniffer dogs and saliva tests have also dramatically changed drug trends in Australia. Nobody takes a joint into a festival these days do they? The new generations have actually been encouraged to take up pills.’
For this reason he says the Nimbin MardiGrss is even more relevant today.
‘Cannabis needs to be separated from the other illegal drugs as its completely different. One is a herb that has never killed anyone and the other is a chemical mix with no quality control. Police on the ground are totally frustrated they have to treat ice the same as pot,’ explained Michael.
27 years strong
So the Nimbin MardiGrass Festival for the 27th year in a row will again be protesting, educating and celebrating the power of cannabis.
‘There’s already a big program of speakers, both from Australia and overseas. Heading the line up is Charly Bedrossian from the Netherlands, head gardener at the Cannabis College in Amsterdam. Other new speakers include two impressive plant heads, glass artists and craftsmen from North America,’ said Michael.
‘Cannabis experts from around Australia will be here to discuss every aspect of the plant, be it for seeds, or rope, or medicine for pets, its all on the agenda.