Always controversial, cannabis, and hemp in general, are going to be an issue until they legalise it – love it or hate it, that’s the way it is.
The only way to make that happen is to become the decision-makers on the inside. To this end the Australian HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Party announced its candidates on Saturday at the 420 celebrations in Nimbin.
President of HEMP and NSW Candidate Michael Balderstone says Aussies can safely vote for cannabis law reform in the federal election. ‘The ballot box is the one time when you can anonymously make a mark for the most useful plant on the planet that should never have been made illegal,’ he said. ’We plan to run candidates in every state and the Northern Territory.’
Roadside drug testing: a nightmare for cannabis users
Balderstone says there are several very important issues HEMP would love to raise. ‘RDT for one. Roadside drug testing is a nightmare for cannabis users and the police know it and are targeting places like Nimbin.
‘How can we possibly introduce a meaningful medical cannabis program in Australia while no one can drive for days after using the herb? In fact THC stays in your system for weeks if not months, unlike all other drugs.’
‘Testing for merely the presence of cannabis is ridiculously unfair, it should be about driver impairment. Imagine if you weren’t allowed to drive if you use pharmaceutical pills?’
Balderstone says drug trends are an issue. ‘Along with sniffer dogs, RDT has dramatically altered drug trends in the country. Pot is out and pills are in thanks to our drug policies. Cannabis has never killed anyone in ten thousand years of use and needs to be separated and treated completely differently to the other illegal drugs.’
Grow your own
Balderstone says that people need to be allowed to grow their own medicine, allowing at least six plants each for adults over 18, and in our own backyards. ‘Cannabis law changes are spreading overseas like wildfire yet here we keep building new gaols and our arrest rates continue the same.
‘In NZ for example, police of their own volition stopped busting cannabis users and arrests there have dropped fifty percent in the last year.’
The 420 celebrations were held in Nimbin on Saturday, April 20. Balderstone says millions of cannabis lovers around the globe would be doing the same.
Nimbin’s annual MardiGrass, the cannabis law reform gathering and protest on the first weekend in May, will see most of the HEMP candidates gather in the village two weeks before election day.
HEMP Party Candidates are not all old hippies (but definitely some):
NSW: Dr Andrew Katelaris and Michael Balderstone
Victoria: Frances Hood and Heather Gladman
Queensland: John Jiggens and Frank Jordan
WA: Dr Nick Lethbridge and Mark Rayner
SA: Angela Adams and Matt Iversen
Tasmania: Alfred Informal and Matthew Owen
NT: Andrew Kavasilas and Lance Lawrence