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Byron Shire
February 1, 2023

Nimbin Hemp Embassy raided day before Mardi Grass Festival

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One local takes the opportunity for a statement while the police conduct a raid on the Nimbin Hemp Embassy. Photo Kitty Conn.

Aslan Shand

The Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival starts tomorrow and police have decided that they are going to make their mark. That’s right, in a pre-festival performance they have turned up at Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy today to make their point that while medicinal cannabis might be legal to grow out behind Casino, providing it to people in need is just not ok.

That’s right, if you hadn’t already got the message – then listen loud and clear – the police are reminding everyone that marijuana is still illegal in NSW and just because it is virtually impossible to get medical cannabis treatment legally that is no excuse for getting your hands on it through other sources.

Significant resources dedicated to raid

According to locals an estimated thirty police officers and dogs have been involved in the raid and are continuing to search the Hemp Embassy and remove stock.

‘This is heavy handed police action,’ said one local business person who asked not to be identified.

‘As I understand it they have gone into the Hemp Embassy and seized all the cash, wages and money to pay people for this weekend’s Mardi Grass Festival.

‘They took the dogs through and have removed the entire stock of medicinal cannabis there. They are currently in the process of photographing all the records of people who use the medicinal cannabis service which is over 2,000 clients. This will leave all these people without access to their medicine.’

No help for DV client

In the mean time it appears that the local police are too under resourced to assist one local woman make a statement regarding a man she has had an apprehended violence order (AVO) out against since December 2018.

‘The AVO was put in place on December 15, 2018 and he has repeatedly breached it since then,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘It is a small community and I tried to keep things civil and polite. Police came to my place of work last week and they said they had given him a stern warning, that this was the last warning and that there would be be no more. They told me that I should charge him because they believe he is dangerous.

Following several breaches including talking to the woman’s boss and trying to send messages to her through other people she became seriously concerned for her safety so went to the Nimbin police station yesterday to ask them to take a statement and lay charges.

‘I decided it was time to take the police advice as I was genuinely concerned for myself so yesterday I went to the police station but they told me they didn’t have time. I offered to come back today before work but they said they would be too busy. They offered me the a date to come back which is a week from now.

‘The local police have no resources to take care of people in the community to ensure we are feeling safe but they have the resources for a raid on the Hemp Embassy’, she said.

Working in the health profession she said that there is a drug epidemic on the streets with people openly selling hard drugs yet the police are focussing on targeting cannabis.

‘It’s crazy. People are coming to us trying to get off pharmaceuticals so that they can have a better life and instead of helping, instead of serving and protecting the community, they (the police) are taking medicine (medicinal cannabis) from our children and loved ones.’

‘I see them selling it (hard drugs) blatantly on the streets. Yet the police are picking on people who use cannabis.

‘There is a ripple effect in the community – we recently had a hit and run where a local woman was killed and they haven’t caught the driver and they don’t have 20 minutes to take my statement yet they have time and resources to do this raid?’

Police still at HEMP Embassy

Locals are reporting that the police are still at the Hemp Embassy conducting their investigation.

‘It seems to be a pattern every time they change the superintendent. The superintendent seems to have a need to prove how tough they are on Nimbin,’ said the local business operator who asked not to be identified.

‘No one has ever died of a drug overdose at the Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival. We’re tired of being treated like pariahs.

‘This kind of behaviour by the police isn’t right. We’ve had police stopping visitors on the street and telling them to leave for the last month. They are driving business away from Nimbin and damaging local business. If we were a mine they would be bending over backwards for us. But they are happy to destroy the businesses of Nimbin and don’t care about us.’

Echonetdaily contacted the Richmond Police duty officer, Inspector David Vandergriend, who said there was no current information as the action was still in progress. Inspector Vandergriend said the current Richmond Police District Superintendent Toby Lindsay came into the position in August 2018 and the current raid is being overseen by Lieutenant Detective Inspector Nicole Bruce.

Police say ‘be responsible’

Richmond police had sent out a press release earlier today urging ‘revellers to be responsible at Nimbin Mardi Grass Festival’ 

They stated that, ‘Officers will be aiming to maintain a safe environment for the public, by targeting illegal drug activity and anti-social behaviour.

‘Police are expecting large crowds to converge in the area over the weekend, given attendance numbers in previous years.

‘Richmond Police District Commander, Superintendent Toby Lindsay, says the police presence will be ongoing throughout the event to ensure festivalgoers have a good time while keeping safe.

‘Police will be targeting illegal drug use and supply, underage drinking, alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour,’ Supt Lindsay said.

‘Illicit drugs can have life-threatening effects, especially when a combination of drugs is taken, or they are combined with alcohol.

‘It is not only illegal to possess or take illicit drugs; but those caught face serious consequences.

‘We will take appropriate action against anyone who chooses to commit a crime, or behave in an offensive manner,’ Supt Lindsay said.

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  1. I have a terminal cancer and these people genuinely offered me a last hope. They don’t just throw anything at you. They analyze your condition and prescribe appropriately. My friend survived a stage 4 brain tumor because of these people. Now what do I do?

  2. If our law makers were truly interested in harm minimisation, prohibition of cannabis and other drugs would be lifted tomorrow. While drugs undoubtably do cause harm, prohibition exacerbates their harm and allows an unregulated black market to flourish. The recent raid of the Nimbin Hemp Embassy is a strong indicator that our law makers have vested interest in maintaining prohibition, and are willing to cause harm to their constituents, at the expense of police doing truly useful work.

    When injustice becomes law, resistance is a moral obligation.

  3. This is just so backward. More progressive parts of the world are heading in the opposite direction to this NSW government. We have a premier that would rather people died at music festivals than have the opportunity to save their lives by testing the substances they are about to imbibe. This is my 8th consecutive Nimbin MardiGrass protestival & from my experience it has a very chilled out relaxed vibe. The police presence is absolute overkill & a gross waste of taxpayers money. The gangs of police are seen walking around all armed up as if they are expecting a major terrorist attack or something of the like.
    History has proven that prohibition does NOT work, human beings will always find a way to source the goods they desire & need. Medicinal cannabis has been proven to aid sufferers & provide them relief from the illnesses they are afflicted with where other so called legal drugs have failed or caused them further ills.
    To raid the Hemp Embassy & impound all the medicine found there will cause a great deal of misery & further suffering for the patients relying on it, to treat these people as criminals is mind boggling & only adds to their woes. Shame on Gladys Berijiklian & this NSW Government & shame on this show of police force this weekend in NImbin.

  4. I don’t do crack, meth or heroin, I don’t smoke and I don’t want to take pain medication everyday of my life. 30 police to catch old people looking for pain relief.

  5. As of 2019 NO so-called activist leaders have supported any bills to legalise Cannabis or protested on the 10 or so bad Cannabis bills since 2016 –

    Unfortunately, sometimes peoples’ Karma runs over their own feral Dogmas

  6. The wonderful people at Nimbin enabled me to get off opiods after my (ongoing) struggle with Cancer. I am in remission now, am active again and have never felt better!

    This is simply cruel.

  7. The people speak and the government cracks down?
    Big pharma are flexing their muscles.
    I used to think the ‘people’ had a say on how our country is run .
    I now know better , our government and ALL political parties are a lying bunch of crap? I won’t vote for any of them, as they’re ALL the same, a lying corrupt bunch of ‘ankles’.?

  8. I have stage 4 breast cancer, I have been using CBD oil the last 3 years with hormone therapy and its keeping my cancer at bay. I refused chemo and radiation therapy and I better for it. Yes the government and the Doctors are in the pocket of the the Big Pharmas and instead of trying to help people they are killing us with the pharmaceutical medication.
    My oncologist has given me 2 different medications which have given me side effects, one I have become diabetic because of that medicine the second has caused me constant infection. THE CBD OIL HAS NOT GIVEN ME ANY SIDE EFFECTS BUT ITS HELPED TO ELIMINATE THE SPOTS ON MY LUNG. I FEEL GOOD AND I CAN DO EVERYTHING BECAUSE OF THE CBD OIL AND NOT BECAUSE THE PHARMA MEDICATION.
    When I have refused the chemo my oncologist has treated me like non grata, It is obvious to me the the doctors are paid off by the big pharma to push chemo.
    Sadly Australia is a very stupid country Even in a small country like Hungary the doctors are acknowledging the benefits of cannabis.
    We should all start putting pressure on the government especially those who are having the benefits of cannabis, it is not right that the government dictate what kind of medication you should be allowed. It is not their right to do, but the people who are ill should determen how they would like to be treated. Doctors and Politicians are not gods. I wish that KARMA will catch up with all of them.

  9. So now thousands suffer because they can’t get their hands on this wonderful, safe medication. What a mad world it is.

    Can we take out a class action against the government for preventing us from getting medication that eases suffering and treats conditions and diseases ? Not for the money but for the publicity. We need change.


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