It's pot luck in Lismore

I HAVEN'T seen a pothole on the Nimbin Road in years now the council is cashed up on the new green tax. Just driven back from a quick visit to score a jar of "Shivas Elbow". It stops me, amazingly, from feeling my arthritis at all. And some "Cleverman" for my neighbour who can't sleep. He's in his 90s and it's only because we talked him into eating hemp seed a few years ago that he's still alive, we reckon.

He's the last of Howard's people who terrified themselves with their own propaganda and became convinced cannabis drives you crazy. It's been hard for a few of them to change their minds but with cannabis dispensaries now more common than coffee shops, and mental health problems in sharp decline, he had to admit it was the injustice driving people crazy more than the imagination fuel they were smoking. Anyway, the Cleverman is in honey and eucalyptus lollies. He won't even notice the taste of pot but he'll sleep like a log, I guarantee.

Most of the new generations, who are educated honestly now, use vaporisers if they don't use butter, but I'm still hooked on the smoke experience and trust that the plant's anti-cancer and expectorant properties will keep my lungs working. Fortunately the shocking habit in bogan Oz of smoking pot with tobacco quickly died away after the mass advertising campaign explaining how the 'brekkie bong' habit was really just a nicotine addiction.

It's hard to believe the war on drugs kept going for so long but when the new prime minister declared it over, the change to a legal, regulated industry has been almost effortless. And she was so sensible about it. It helped, of course, that she'd dealt pot at school so she understood - and realised it was critical for anyone unemployed with convictions for only drug charges be encouraged to get a legal job in the new industry.

The crew running the very successful "Rainbow Lane Dispensary" grew up in the trade and the change to legal was barely a blink. Many more registered as growers but just as many seem to be working in the dispensaries or in the production of tincture, butter, teas, lollies, cakes and biscuits. You name it, cannabis can be added to any food. And a few even got the much sought-after government tasting jobs.

Nimbin's Sustainability House's hemp walls have so impressed that more than a third of new housing approvals in the area this year have hemp walls and demand is outstripping supply. The NSW hemp crop will be 20 times the acreage of cotton this year. How's that for a reversal? And all the cotton grown is organic now after it was discovered the land was dead useless after 20 years of heavy chemical and fertiliser cotton farming. Cubby Station tried breeding fish in its massive dams but many of them had three heads and other deformities.

Shark attacks are almost a thing of the past as fish numbers are building up quickly now that hemp seed has finally been recognised as way superior to fish oil supplements. Many schools have even made hemp seed snack bars compulsory in school lunches. They've also prohibited refined sugar and say the difference in children's behaviour and learning capacity is extraordinary.

Of course, prohibition doesn't work but the police needed something to do, despite their numbers being cut in half, and already a lot of their time is being taken up tracking down white sugar dealers. Many of the jails are retirement homes, but the biggest surprise is the steadily falling health bill. It might be that they finally allowed nutritionists into the hospital kitchens, and they all love hemp seed. Or is it the pot itself?

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