Saturday 6th May, 2000


The Cannabis Forum at Mardigrass 2000 to be held in the Nimbin Town Hall with many interesting and varied speakers promises to be a special event.  Rarely is so much cannabis expertise and knowledge together under one roof in Australia. The forum will be hosted by local legend and healer, Harry Freeman and includes many experts in their fields.

Dr. Andrew Katelaris, NSW hemp pioneer, farmer and activist is the first speaker at 11am. Dr Katelaris is a medical doctor, currently practising in Sydney.  His interest in Hemp (Cannabis sativa) began following an invitiation to visit the Dutch government research project.

This project established that hemp was a valuable rotation crop that smothered weeds and repelled nematode worms in chemically exhausted soils.  Despite progress with the introduction of industrial Hemp in Europe, the UK and Canada it took until 1996 for the NSW government to permit the first experimental cultivation of Hemp. 

Dr. Katelaris is in the process of breeding and introducing a range of Hemp varieties suitable for the production of quality fibre and highly nutritious oil.  Progress has been made in product development both here and overseas.

More recently Dr Katelaris has taken an interest in the medicinal uses of Cannabis and is currently submitting an application for the cultivation of medicinal cannabis.  This research would permit the development of a range of standardised extracts and administration systems suitable for the treatment of a range of serious medical conditions.

After the opening ceremony and Kombi Konvoy the forum continues at 1pm with a session on Global Pot and Politics - Where its all Heading!  Guest speakers include Dana Larsen from Cannabis Culture magazine, Vancouver, Canada and his friends from Marc Emery's seed company including Greg Williams, “Marijuana Man”.  Dana came to Mardigrass last year, loved it and is returning as a sponsor with a crew from Canada.  These people are at the forefront of modern pot technology and global hemp activism.  They'll be worth hearing.

Also, speaking here is John Jiggens co-author of Hemp & The Marijuana Conspiracy (the Australian version of The Emperor Wears No Clothes) with Jack Herer. He is currently researching a Ph.D. on the history of drugs policy in Australia, and is Australia's foremost cannabis historian.

Other speakers include Tony Kneipp who has been an activist for cannabis law reform since 1986, when he ran as an independent candidate in Queensland in opposition to the introduction of the Drugs Misuse Act. He was the first person to be arrested and charged under that notorious piece of legislation. In 1993 he was one of the founding members of Qld HEMP, and was at the forefront of their campaign of civil disobedience. 

Most recently Tony has written a play, The Joke, about police, drugs and corruption in Queensland. Tony currently resides in Adelaide, where he is an active member of HEMP SA.   The play will be performed at the Cave during Mardigrass on Sunday at 11am

Jamnes Danenberg, another speaker has been involved in environmental and social justice groups in general and drug law reform in particular since 1982 and has been the Co-convenor of HEMP SA since 1993. He has stood as a HEMP candidate at two previous State elections and is currently upgrading the HEMP SA web site:

At 2.30 local Doctor David Helliwell presents his Cannabis Cafe proposal for Nimbin.  This is a well-thought out intelligent response  to the local Nimbin situation but it applies to many places. The next step in cannabis law reform must surely include regulated supply.

This will be followed by a Medicinal Marijuana Forum with Lucy Charlesworth, long-time compassionate lobbyist and Eve Sinton co-author of The Australian Cannabis Cookbook joining the panel.

Sunday morning at 11am in the Town Hall, lawyers Steve Bolt, Graham Irvine and Hugh van Dugteren offer free legal advice including information regarding the recent Cannabis Cautionary Notices which came into effect on April 3rd. 2000 in NSW.