MEDIA RELEASE MARDI GRASS BEST EVER

Nimbin's Eighth Annual Cannabis Law Reform Rally was declared the best ever by visitors and locals alike. Organisers estimated around ten thousand people visited Nimbin over the weekend. The biggest crowd ever seen in Peace Park heard a series of speakers call for an end to the war on drugs. When the crowd was asked how many had been busted for cannabis, hundreds of hands were raised; asked how many more had been hassled for their drug of choice, hundreds more hands came up.

Cannabus Freedom Ride in NSW

There was huge support for a Peace Bus convoy tour of NSW jails in July and August to document and broadcast the suffering of the victims of the war on drugs, which is clearly being won by drugs!

HEMP Olympix in Sydney The tour will culminate in a HEMP Olympix in Sydney just prior to the Olympic Games in September. "Ours will be the real green Olympics, and judging by the crowd reaction to the idea there will be plenty of competitors and spectators. Everyone loves the HEMP Olympix", organisers said. "We need laughter to handle the oppression of prohibition and our Olympix has an educational slant. At the weekend many people saw the madness we go through to grow a simple herb."

In the Growers Ironperson event contestants run uphill with a 40 kg bag of fertilizer before negotiating the lantana tunnel without spilling a bucket of water, then dashing with the stash to the finish line. Nigel Freemarijuana from Queensland set a new world record time of 1 min 37 sec, a full 12 seconds ahead of his nearest rival! Afterwards Nigel said that he was driven by his fury at the drug laws and the way that they had wrecked his life. "They took away my job and they tried to strip me of my dignity", he said. The female winner was a local girl retaining her title from last year in 2 min 12 sec. The bong throw was also a new record at a fraction under 42 metres. Throwers had to stand where their bongs landed so there was plenty of incentive for a big throw. In the men's throw, the second placed thrower was hit on the head, relegating him from second to third! Celeste from the North Coast won the female throw with 34.83 meters.

"The joint rolling events were so popular that many couldn't see it, and in Sydney we'll need an amphitheatre", said organizers. Bob the Hat became a dual gold medallist, the first ever at the HEMP Olympix. The standard three papers with a cardboard filter was aloft in 24 seconds! Bob, who'd obviously been practicing, then went on to win the artistic roll where competitors have ten minutes and as many papers as they like. Bob's "Mullennium Bug", a huge insect, won a very close call against the Anarchy symbol (A in circle) joint made by a Brisbane couple. The decision, made by crowd acclaim, is still being disputed around Nimbin's streets today. Local artist Elspeth Jones clearly won the morning heat with her dolphin joint but couldn't be found at final time! An American's call for two paper joint rolling was rejected by the international crowd.

Cannabis Cafes Proposal

The cannabis forum was the best attended that anyone could remember in years, standing room only if you were lucky. Andrew Katalaris spoke about his progress on the industrial hemp front. Regrettably, NSW bureaucrats continue to put petty obstacles in his path, and industrial hemp will most likely focus on Victoria, where some of these obstacles have been removed. Andrew also spoke about the difficulty in obtaining suitable seed stock and processing equipment

Dana Larsen and Greg Williams from Canada spoke of their activism and seed distribution. Along with possibly thousands of overseas visitors, Dana said Mardigrass was "the most fun I've ever had". There was plenty of enthusiasm from both audience and speakers for the obvious rethink on cannabis laws happening around the world. Local doctor David Helliwell's proposal for a cannabis cafes trial in Nimbin, delivered to a packed hall, attracted widespread acclaim for its common sense. In David's proposal Nimbin should have not less than three and not more than five cannabis cafes. Loud applause also greeted the announcement that a HEMP party has now been registered with the Australian Electoral Commission. Members for the federal party and for a proposed NSW state party were collected throughout Mardigrass.

Other amazing happenings included the Ganja Faeries dance performance, where the healthy outdoor faerie buds rescued their sickly hydro sister, a riveting giant electronic cannabis leaf as a backdrop to the hall stage for the three big gigs on Fri, Sat, Sun night, Digital Hempy, The Harvest and Pickers Balls. Blue Feather's sacred pipe ceremony at the launch of The Church Of The Holy Smoke moved the audience. "It brought tears to my eyes, said Mr Balderstone, "People are casual about smoking pot these days. Bill Clinton didn't inhale, but Al Gore did, lots. It's a big joke, but not if you get busted, or your parents still believe reefer madness and throw you out of home.

Organisers say there was a new feeling in the air this year, with cannabis law reform on the move. "Will we still have Mardigrass when prohibition ends, some asked. Most agreed it will be hard to stop so much fun happening once a year.

Organisers praised the police and police praised the organizers as commonsense ruled the weekend, with only one arrest. After a long loud Friday night when the music couldn't stop, for which organizers apologized to sleepless locals, the weekend became one big smile for thousands of people as the mellowness of marijuana took over. "For the first time I really enjoyed Mardigrass", said local Lismore councilor Diana Roberts. "The organization of Mardigrass improves each year, and it was encouraging to see more of the community actively involved. I enjoyed being around so many people who were obviously in high spirits, but intent on having a happy time."

.HEMP PARTY MEANS BETTER DEALS FOR VOTERS.


At the 8th Nimbin Mardigrass and Cannabis Law Reform Rally opening ceremony, next Sat. May 6th, a newly registered Federal Political Party will be announced. The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party first called for members at the Mardigrass 2 years ago.

"It's taken a while, but we're finally through all the red tape," said inaugural president Michael Balderstone. "And now we hope to register a NSW party for the State Election as well. They've made new rules but Mardigrass next weekend should get us a few members!"

"John Howard's ignorance on drug issues and his choice of guru in the matter, Major Brian Watters from the Salvation Army, is a worry. If only they'd realize

the suffering they are creating by resisting reform. This idea of a world without drugs is pure fantasyland. Talk about us hippies dreaming! They need to snap out of it." said Michael.

"The new party legitimizes our political campaign and our attempts to make the mainstream parties listen to our reform message. In the past we have run as Independents. With the name HEMP on the ballot paper, we expect our Senate candidates preferences to determine the outcome of the final seat in a couple of States."

"Some people are wondering why we are bothering with a Federal Party when the cannabis laws are State laws. Historically it has been the Federal Govt. that has been the promoter of prohibition as the signatory to a number of International treaties (1931 Narcotics Limitation Convention, 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1988 UN Convention Against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances). Mr. Howard continues to lead the charge with his "tough on drugs" stance."

These treaties were promoted principally by the US Govt., which now has over 2,000,000 people in jail! Five million if you include those waiting for trial or on parole!! Many of these have been jailed under mandatory sentencing laws which set minimum terms of up to 20 years for certain drug offences. Is this the example we want to follow?

HEMP will be offering an alternative vision to this madness. Many young voters are fed up with the Govt.'s line on law and order in general and drugs in particular. The PM still thinks that "tough on drugs" is a vote winner. We aim to prove otherwise.

HEMP expects to field candidates in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia for both Houses of Parliament at the next Federal election, due late in 2001. To be effective the party needs strong candidates, hence we are seeking expressions of interest from motivated, capable individuals. Apply in writing to the HEMP Party, HEMP Embassy, PO Box 177, Nimbin, NSW 2480.

Further enquiries Nimbin Hemp Embassy 0266 891 842. A/H 0266 897 525

- PRESS RELEASE - April 25th - PRESS RELEASE -

Perhaps it’s the extraordinary planetary alignment or the emerging global swell of Cannabis Law Reform that’s brought about unprecedented international interest in this year’s 8th Annual Nimbin Mardigrass and Cannabis Law Reform Weekend - May 6th & 7th. Or is it the Hemp Olympix 2000?

Cannabis Law Reform is currently on the agenda of the British, Canadian and NZ Parliaments. Australia is clearly lagging behind and this will be a subject of discussion both at The Cannabis Forum and at The Cannabis Internationale on the 8th & 9th of May, a global link up and conference of drug law reform activists immediately following Mardigrass.

Also on Saturday 6th, Nimbin will participate in the webcast worldwide Millennium Marijuana March happening concurrently in approximately 100 cities on all continents, with an expected million people marching.

Spokesperson for the Nimbin Hemp Embassy, Michael Balderstone said "The horrendous consequences of prohibiting natures medicinal herbs is all too obvious now and public opinion is swinging. These laws are a big mistake, every week now young people are dying and families are breaking up because of prohibition. It’s time for change."

This year’s theme for Mardigrass is "Good Medicine" and everyone is encouraged to participate. Poets, artists, storytellers, entertainers, experts, elders, healers, olympixies and everyone dress green for the Parade and Rally. Non pot smokers are especially welcome, there is a lot to learn from this unjustly criminalised culture.

Two leading Canadian Pot Ambassadors, Dana Larsen, editor of Cannabis Culture and a representative from Marc Emery’s British Columbia ‘Emeryseed’ are speaking at The Cannabis Forum on Pot in the New Millennium and where its all heading.

As well as discussions on Medicinal Cannabis, hopefully to be legally available soon in Australia, Dr. David Helliwell will present his proposal for Cannabis Cafes in Nimbin. Another keynote speaker is Dr. Andrew Katelaris, pioneer of the NSW industrial hemp trials who will show films of this year’s crops.

The unique Hemp Olympix has generated big interest and this year countries will compete against each other, as well as individuals, vying for the gold, silver and bronze medals. Early favourites are the Israelies and Italians, known for their artful joint rolling. It‘s hoped this year’s medals will be made out of isochanvre, an ancient lime and hemp hurd building wonder that is as strong as concrete but twice as light.

The most popular Hemp Olympix events, The Bong Throw and Yell, The Grower’s Iron Person event and the fiercely contested Joint Rolling Competitions (speed roll and artistic) will be running all weekend along with a new event, the Police Triathlon. Inspired by the police’s proposed new drug testing for drivers, contestants will be judged on eye gazing, the walk and turn and the one leg standstill and count. Drug testing will be mandatory unless John Howard intervenes.

The highlight of the weekend is the colourful Cannabis Law Reform Parade at 1pm on Sunday followed by the Rally. Other major events are the Kombi Konvoy and opening ceremony. The Mardigrass Markets with a Hemp Expo, Nimbin’s infamous Gunja Faeries, Pot Poetry Breakfasts in the Rainbow, Pot Art, the Cannabis Cup, the Seed Swap, the Hemp Comedy team and a feast of music and entertainment at seven different venues including the Harvest and Pickers Balls in the Town Hall. There’s also a Furry Freak Brothers Look Alike Competition, a Busker’s Bonanza, and a special Pot Puppet show for children on the History of Hemp.

The Mardigrass is Australia’s largest drug law reform and social justice event and coincides this year with a solar eclipse and an extraordinary planetary alignment that apparently occurs only every 3000 years or so. Many astrologers are predicting major changes!

The Hemp Embassy organisers will be asking visitors for $10 on arrival. Tickets and enquiries contact Nimbin Hemp Embassy, Nimbin 2480. NSW. PhFax 0266891842. e-mail mardigrass2000@hotmail.com

What are you doing after the Mardi Grass and the MMMarch?

wwwhy not attend the Cannabist Internationale May 8 & 9