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Byron Shire
June 14, 2021

Nimbin MardiGrass 2021 planning gets underway

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Nimbin MardiGrass 2017. Photo Tree Faerie.

MardiGrass2021 is going ahead and ‘We’re planning it like there’s no Corona but who knows what will be going on with COVID by the first weekend in May,’ said MardiGrass Organising Body (MOB) president, Michael Balderstone.

‘It could be jabs all round or rampant corona so obviously we have to wait ‘n see. ‘

The first meeting to organise the event was recently held in the HEMP Bar in Nimbin with a meeting with the police to discuss the event on 27 January.

‘We all agreed it is impossible to pick what will be going on with corona in three months time. And the rules for gatherings change endlessly, so our plans will have to be super flexible,’ said Mr Balderstone.

The MardiGrass will be an all Australian event as they won’t be flying in overseas speakers for obvious reasons!

Monie Bones – Roller Dooby collective. Photo Tree Faerie.

The HEMP Olympix officials have also met ‘and examined the Growers Iron Person and Bong Throw and Yell course and declared there was plenty of room for social distancing should it be needed,’ said Mr Baderston.

‘A smaller crowd than usual is expected because overseas flights will keep many champions from getting here. This has galvanised locals into early training hoping medals might be easier to score this year.

Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone.

Make it legal for all

‘But nothing has galvanised us for MardiGrass like the patheticness of our politician’s who refuse to listen to their own experts who keep telling them to change the cannabis laws. The police apparently are the experts on the drug laws and get the final say. A bit of vested interest in there do you think seeing as half the police work and arrests come from the drug war. Not just jobs, but the power, the power to search and destroy pretty much if they want to. Drug use is a health issue and the longer we police it the way we are the worse it will become.

Graeme Dunstan enjoys the Nimbin MardiGrass parade in 2011. Photo Jeff Dawson

‘It will be our 29th annual MardiGrass protesting to end the war on cannabis. For the first decade we cried it’s our choice of medicine and they said we were liars. The second decade they said maybe it helps epileptic children, maybe. Now they agree it’s good medicine for a wide range of issues yet still we are not allowed to grow our own and they control the supply and we must access it via a doctor.  They say our outdoor organic home grown weed is not safe and they wonder why people don’t trust the government!

MardiGrass 2015. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Change the law

‘There will be a big focus on the ridiculous saliva testing by police of drivers searching for minute traces of THC. These driving laws show clearly just how serious the government is about NOT supporting medical cannabis. Fiona Patten is coming to MardiGrass and by then she might have the Victorian driving laws changed for legal cannabis users which would be a start at least. Ex Magistrate David Heilpern and solicitor Steve Bolt will join Fiona for a Q and A on drug driving.

‘There will also be a special focus on Veterans with PTSD gaining access to cannabis and the government’s lack of support on that. This is likely the tipping point for the American Federal laws to change now Biden is president. The suicide rate of ex-military people is shameful and we know cannabis could help many enormously

Time for a joint?

Plenty of events

Mr Balderstone told The Echo online that ‘people are keen as mustard [for MardiGrass] as we had to cancel last year’s event. So for sure something will happen and we will continue organising performers and speakers, the Kombi Konvoy and Rally for Law Reform, the Joint Rolling competitions and other popular events like the Great Green Cabaret and Comedy with Sorrenson and Glover.’

Nimbin MardiGrass. Photo Jeff ‘Grassy’ Dawson.

If you are interested in getting involved get in touch via the contact list on nimbinmardigrass.com or phone the HEMP Embassy on 66891842.

‘Artists of every kind are most welcome as well as volunteers to help set up, clean toilets, cook, recycle, etc etc. Musicians, poets and performers, Ubud drivers, in fact any drug free drivers, and Jungle Patrol traffic controllers, market stalls and speakers, please get in touch,’ said Mr Balderstone.

‘There is a movement for people to walk to MardiGrass this year in protest against the saliva testing roadblocks. Hitch hiking is acceptable of course and we urge clean drivers to join in helping their druggie friends to join the gathering.’

 

 


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