Here& Now with S SORRENSEN

Hemp Embassy, Nimbin. Sunday, 1.30pm

I like hemp. I especially like hemp clothes.

Hemp lasts longer than cotton, is warmer than cotton, and doesnt require the fertilisers and pesticides that cotton does.

And it just feels so good on your skin. (Its a body stone.)

The Hemp Embassy in Nimbin has a new shipment of hemp clothes and Im buying.

I particularly want some hemp jeans. I like jeans. (I dont like Thai fisherman pants. Thai fishermen wear jeans.) The first Levis to hit the shops, in 1853, were made of hemp.

The Embassy is crowded with people and all sorts of hemp stuff. And some marijuana paraphernalia. I hear Japanese, American and Goonellabah being spoken.

A busload of old people from Grafton is in town. A man with silver hair (like mine) neatly parted (not like mine) and a name tag pinned onto his yellow polo shirt stands behind his wife (I presume its his wife but who knows what goes on in those retirement villages) with her diamante encrusted glasses as she sorts through a rack of hemp bags.

A cuddling young black couple with Hawaii printed on their t-shirts checks out the cardboard police helicopter hanging from the roof. On it is written The war on drugs is a war against people.

Too right.

Last week the riot squad charged into Nimbin to find marijuana.

Ill tell you a secret. Its not hard to find marijuana in Nimbin. You dont have to spend a fortune. Give me $50 and Ill find you some. No guns needed.

I check out a hemp/lime infill wall being built inside the Embassy. Great building material. I could use it in my shack. Another wall would be good. Then Id have a complete set.

Selecting a funky dress shirt and a pair of hemp jeans, I wander past the bongs, pipes and Furry Freak Brothers comics, past the moisturisers and shampoos, past a card game called Grass (go directly to jail), past the embarrassing Big Joint, towards the dressing room at the back.

The riot squad targetted the Hemp Embassy.

Hemp hasnt always been criminal. Thomas Jefferson wrote the US Declaration of Independence on hemp paper. And he grew the stuff. So did George Washington, who in 1794 wrote, Make the most of Indian hemp seed and sow it everywhere.

At the back of the Embassy are a couple of lounge chairs and a TV. An older man with a bald head and beaded dreadlocks (my favourite look) sits in one, entranced by the drag racing flickering on the screen.

Yep, you need the riot squad. Stoned hippies are so aggressive. (If you can get one to move.)

The elderly woman with the sparkly specs sits in the other chair inspecting her new hemp handbag.

Dreadlock Guy slowly turns his very red eyes to me. (Must be hay fever.) Dry lips slowly part. Words are forming... mountains rise... continents drift...

I could wait for the sentence but I dont believe in reincarnation.

I slip into the change room and try on the shirt. Perfect fit. And the jeans? Legs too short. Probably fit a Thai fisherman.

Bummer.


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