16 May 2023, 15:25
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne

David ETTERSHANK (Western Metropolitan):

On the weekend of 5 to 7 May, I attended MardiGrass 2023 in Nimbin with my colleague Ms Payne. For 30 years MardiGrass has been a national celebration of cannabis culture and an organising forum for cannabis law reform.

Thousands of people travelled from across the country for the festival, which included entertainment, educational sessions, much political discussion, parades, great food and of course a lot of really good quality weed.

A profound optimism prevailed with a heartfelt belief that the time has finally come for meaningful reform. This was underpinned by the presence of Legalise Cannabis MPs from three states, with two forming part of the balance of power in their respective upper houses. The police presence throughout the festival was discreet, and there were, as far as we are aware, no arrests or seizures in the town.

Many festivalgoers commented on what a stark contrast this was to the extraordinary police harassment at the Melbourne 420 rally only a few weeks ago. Last week the Therapeutic Goods Administration reported that there are now over 1 million medicinal cannabis consumers, so there was of course much interest in Victoria’s progress at reforming medicinal cannabis driving laws.

Ms Payne and I left Nimbin invigorated and with a renewed commitment to cannabis law reform, and we look forward to engaging further with the government on this issue.


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