Founded in 1993, the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party has a number of policies that centre around the re-legalisation of cannabis for personal, medicinal and industrial uses in Australia.
After 28 years, the HEMP Party is inviting its members to an early AGM with a proposal to change its name to Legalise Cannabis and excluding the word ‘Marijuana’, on the agenda.
HEMP Party President Michael Balderstone says 70 per cent of the party’s members support the name change in two surveys they have done.’ We want to be clear on what we are about and call it as it is with no chance of confusion.
Hemp farming legal
‘Hemp farming is legal again in Australia and Marijuana is a word created by the prohibitionists in America back in the 1930s to trick the hemp farmers who didn’t realise that banning marijuana had also criminalised hemp.
‘Thousands of hemp farmers crops were made illegal overnight when the law was introduced. Vested interests criminalised cannabis back then, just as they maintain its illegality now.’
Balderstone says another reason for the change is to unite the Cannabis community across the wide brown land where we are trying to register Legalise Cannabis Parties in every Australian state. ‘We’ve been inspired by the election of two Legalise Cannabis WA Party members of parliament in Western Australia, the registration of Legalise Cannabis Queensland Party and the good results they achieved.’
Fresh determination to see end to prohibition
Mr Balderstone says that along with the new name comes a fresh determination to see an end to prohibition. ‘We will be striving to get candidates elected to the Senate and will also be fielding candidates in some of the lower house seats for the first time. To achieve this, we need funding and volunteers to help with campaigning. We need our grassroots supporters to pitch in and donate whatever time and money they can afford to help raise the funds needed to pay the AEC nomination fees for our candidates.’
‘With the growing awareness of Cannabis as medicine, the backlash from many patients about the discriminatory nature of the Medical Cannabis policy plus the ridiculous roadside drug testing for merely the presence of THC, we believe we can attract more than 4% of the primary vote – especially when you include the votes of those who partake for recreational therapy.’
‘How about we have the same rules as alcohol where adults can brew their own but you need a licence to sell?’
Mr Balderstone says the RDT cruelty and the police jumping on any move to change the laws like we just saw in Victoria has galvanised new energy in the movement. ‘There is a push to unite our law reform movement across the country. Anyone registered to vote can help by joining their state party at legalisecannabis.org.au‘
The early AGM is planned for September 11.