2nd of May 2024, 10:55am

State MPs, from one of Australia’s fastest growing political parties Legalise Cannabis, are heading north to Nimbin for MardiGrass (Friday, May 3 to Sunday, May 5), the national law reform rally and celebration of all things cannabis.

Victorian crossbenchers Rachel Payne and David Ettershank will join their New South Wales counterpart, Jeremy Buckingham, and Western Australian MPs Brian Walker and Sophia Moermond.

MardiGrass, which began as a demonstration against heavy-handed policing in 1993, is now a three-day festival and protest attended by thousands.

Legalise Cannabis – one of Australia’s fast-growing political parties

“We’ll also catch up with party members from Queensland, including our 2022 candidate who came close to taking a Senate seat at the last federal election, and we’ll celebrate capturing 15 per cent of the vote in the recent Ipswich West byelection in March,” Ms Payne said.

“In the 2022 federal election, Legalise Cannabis collected between 2 per cent and 7 per cent of the national senate vote in most Australian states, and in the last Victorian state election we took more than 4 per cent of the vote.

“Our message – legalise now. At a time when police resources are scarce, it’s outrageous that our police and courts are prosecuting cannabis offences. What we need off the street is violent offenders, not people consuming cannabis.”

NSW MP Jeremy Buckingham will speak at MardiGrass about how cannabis prohibition funds organised crime and gang violence.

“This is a law-and-order issue as much as one that’s centred around civil liberties,” Mr Buckingham said.

“Let’s divert the billions of dollars spent on enforcing misplaced drug laws to fighting real criminals. Legalisation takes away the economic model for gangsters – just as it did when prohibition of alcohol was dropped in the United States.”

Cannabis is already legal in nine countries as well as 24 states and three territories in the United States. Since legalisation in the ACT in 2020, there has been a sharp decrease in drug charges and no reported increase in adverse health outcomes.

Working with Labor Governments

Western Metropolitan MP David Ettershank will deliver a workshop with Mr Buckingham on the challenges of working with Labor governments.

“Legalise Cannabis is a force to be reckoned with. We have almost a quarter of a million followers on Facebook and hold upper-house seats in the parliaments of Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia with our sights on a federal senate seat,” Mr Ettershank said.

“Our advice to Labor governments is of course to work with us, not against us.

“The latest National Drug Strategy Household Survey, released in February found that more than 80 per cent of the 20,000 people surveyed do not think cannabis possession should be an offence.”

A message from the Party President

The president of the Legalise Cannabis Party, Michael Balderstone, said he was heartened to see so many jurisdictions legalising cannabis, including Germany in April, and he hoped Australia would soon catch up.

“The world has changed a lot in 30 years, as has Nimbin, but we still have annual helicopter raids in northern NSW, and we are not allowed to grow our own plants,” he said.

“Add that to the disgusting and completely unfair saliva testing of drivers, and there is a lot to protest about. We do our best at MardiGrass to make it an enjoyable and fun protest. There is comedy galore, we need it in the face of so much nonsense.”

A full program of MardiGrass events can be found HERE


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