Grass greener on other side
Help End Marijuana Prohibition president Michael Balderstone said people will be rallying in the streets with new enthusiasm for cannabis law reform this year because of the sweeping changes that have taken place in the USA in the past 12 months.
“I don’t think people in Australia realise how massive the changes in America are. In California there are now more medical marijuana dispensary outlets than there are Starbucks cafes... In November there is going to be a vote on full legalisation for people over the age of 21. If it is successful an individual will be able to carry up to an ounce or grow a 25 square foot patch in their backyard. That’s huge,” Mr Balderstone said. “California is becoming a living example to people who were afraid to change the laws on cannabis.”
Mr Balderstone said there would be a focus on the medicinal use of cannabis at this year’s MardiGrass with Dr Bob Melamede, president and CEO of Cannabis Science Inc, amongst the guest speakers.
Dr Melamede is a former chairman of the Biology Department at the University of Colorado, is on numerous advisory boards, and is regarded as a world leader in the biology of the cannabis plant, particularly how it relates to the human endocannabinoid system. Cannabis Science Inc is developing synthetic cannabis products for a variety of chronic pain conditions and believes there are even anti-ageing and anti-cancer properties in the drug.
“We are trying to make cannabis extracts available in every state in the USA, and to have the government health care programs pay for them... The first nation to embrace the mutually supporting historical and modern science of cannabis will reap the benefits of a healthier population while dramatically reducing healthcare costs,” Dr Melamede said.
Also talking about his work with medicinal cannabis will be Tony Bower, who has developed a tincture that he has been distributing to chronic pain suffers. Tony will be taking registration for what he hopes will become the first legal cannabis dispensary in Australia.
As well as the serious discussion forums, there will also be the serious business of having fun. There will be the usual attractions such as joint rolling competitions, bong throwing, the tug of peace (with a hemp rope of course) and the growers’ iron person event where competitors have to carry buckets of water and fertiliser through an obstacle course.
“The rally and the parade with the float competition on Sunday afternoon is the main event, no question,” Mr Balderstone said. “But on Saturday there will be another big protest at the end of Kombi Konvoy, where we will be attempting to break the world record for the most number of joints lit simultaneously in one place. Currently it’s around 400, so we are hoping to get about 420 joints in the street. I’m not sure if the Guinness Book of Records will accept damiana and other legal herb joints, but the police have forced us to use them in our events. It’s not quite the mugwort MardiGrass but it has encroached a bit.”
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