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Last Update: September 22, 2009 5:04 PM


MardiGrass 2009 Doof

Take Stoney Chute Road from Nimbin, and head for Kyogle. Exactly 20km north of Kyogle turn left.

This road has no sign but there is some fluro material to identify it, and it's the first left after Lions Road.

Fly well.

"O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this" Drug War ! Mostly Shakespeare

Cannabis does not make us criminals. The law does.

Please help us continue the struggle to end the criminalisation of cannabis users, and continue to stage MardiGrass. For pot's sake, buy a pass and stand up for cannabis.

A one person full MardiGrass pass, including a two night campsite at the A & I Showgrounds costs $50.

Additional camping nights $10 per person. Showgrounds open from Wednesday.

Full Weekend passes without campsite are $30. A Saturday only pass costs $20, Sunday only $10. That pass gives entry to all venues except the Cannabis Cup.

Green Triangle MardiGrass Buses from Brisbane
1800 503475

Nimbin's ATM's always run out of money. Huge Queues. Bring cash.

Sorry, can't stop!As Nimbin's MardiGrass Organising Body (MOB) gears up for the village’s seventeenth annual MardiGrass, a cannabis law reform protest weekend that has cost NSW taxpayers a fortune in excessive policing of recent years, an extraordinary situation is emerging in America. New Jersey has just become the 14th state to legislate for medical cannabis. Further, the US Attorney General has just reassured law reformers the new government will be treating drugs as a health issue not a criminal one, as Obama promised pre election..

To tell us why California hasn't succumbed to psychosis after a decade of medical cannabis being available, Cheech and Chong are expected to visit, along with Mat and Sita, fresh from Canada to tell us about the latest developments there. A free armband, that is a MardiGrass weekend pass, to anyone with a Medical Cannabis Card or Permission letter who will join in the Saturday Medical Forum in the Town Hall and share their experience with everyone. Many thanks to Grooven for support in bringing DACHAMBO from Japan to MardiGrass. Do visit their shop across the road from Byron Bay's Woolies if you get the chance.

Click for image of the band

Diana Anaid is collecting footage for her new film clip over the MardiGrass weekend. Saturday she will be welcoming the Kombi Konvoy in the main street from 3.30 followed by her joining the Global Million Marijuana March at 4.20. She then sings in the pub at 7.30. Then on Sunday we will hear her again around 3pm at the Rally in Peace Park at the end of the Cannabis Law Reform Parade.

Nathan Burton will be coming from Canada to speak on Industrial Hemp, and hemp nutrition. A petition for the re-assessment of hemp foods is in the works!

Volunteers of all sorts are still needed and we know from experience this is the way to really enjoy the weekend, from the inside. We also especially need more car parking space (got a spare paddock nearby?) and drug free drivers for MUNCH operatives! (See below)

There's a new Hemp Olympix event planned for this year called 'Correct Weight'. Or 'Fair Deal' as some want to call it. Entrants have to estimate an oz weight in a standard cliplock bag. 28.3495231 grams to be exact. It's a gold medal event and some are already practising.

Also this year for the first time there will be a Fringe Mardigrass, "The Red Pill Circus of Truth", hosted by Jago Jago. The proposed program will include guest speakers on various subjects that are taboo on the mainstream media. Subjects covered will be history, medicine, politics, finance, military and other relevant issues not normally discussed or made available to the general public, and will include film screenings from Friday evening to Sunday night.

The "Wake Up Australia” MardiGrass this year is on the weekend of May 2 and 3, and organizers gather in the Hemp Bar every Friday at 5:00pm if you want to join in and help. Otherwise drop into the Embassy or the Hemp Bar anytime and leave a message in the ‘blue book’.

Timing is everything, and all MardiGrass times are Nimbintime!



Lighter Up

We have been asked if we would like Cheech & Chong to come to MardiGrass, but the asking price is bigger than our budget. There is a page on Facebook put up by an Organising Body member that would like to see them at MardiGrass. Do you really want to see them?

Get Cheech & Chong to Nimbin MardiGrass

Facebook Appeal

From: Sarah-Jane Loxton
Hello MardiGrass supporters,
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has supported our mission to get Cheech & Chong to Nimbin MardiGrass.
It has been a challenge, but I finally got to to speak to Tommy Chong himself. He would love to come along, and was very open to the idea, but the thing is, this is a comedy tour being organised by a promotions company, not Cheech or Chong. For Tommy to come it will be a case of squeezing in a short visit between shows.
In the end he did say "OK, I'll come, go ahead and advertise it, I'm coming". We're not entirely sure yet when or where he'll be appearing at MardiGrass, but keep inviting your friends to this FaceBook page and come to MardiGrass yourself and find out!

At least Beach & Bong are definitely coming to MardiGrass!

Beach & Bong, long lost Australian brothers of Cheech and Chong, are coming to MardiGrass in hopes of shaming their brothers into showing for a family re-union. We believe they will arrive in a pink bus(?) Watch out for them as they wander around MardiGrass, waiting for a sighting of their more famous brothers. They've been mulling over what to say for years.

We have been told that no-one among the past doof organisers is organising a doof this year. Can it be true? Hard to imagine MardiGrass without one. Any budding promoters out there? Time is short!

You can check the weather on the Grafton NSW Rain Radar

You can check the NSW weather on the Infra-red Australian Weather Sattelite

You can check the Infra-red Australian Weather Sattelite

Weather Warning

Please respect our little peace of Gondwanaland.

Map preview

Click on the map above for a larger version.



You can register as a volunteer at the Hemp Embassy or the Information Booth in front of the Hall.

We need volunteers from as early as Monday on, so if you want to be part of the preparations, come early. You do not have to register in advance, just come. Volunteers are needed throughout the weekend.

Camping is available at many sites near the village, a bedroll and sleeping bag are minimum kit. The nights are starting to get cold at MardiGrass so make sure you bring warm clothing and whatever else you need in case it rains.

Jobs are varied, and according to the needs of the moment. They can include fence and barricade construction, rubbish collection, erecting marquees and tents, "joint" rolling, setting up stages, constructing big joints, and anything else that needs to be done to make MardiGrass happen successfully.


For the second time ever, the Nimbin Agricultural and Industrial Society (A&I) plan to open the showground for camping and parking for the MardiGrass weekend, which is May 2nd & 3rd. The A & I don’t get the Government grants they used to get and need funds to maintain the place. They can also help minimise the impact of so many visitors to the village over the big weekend. A good example of community organisations helping each other.

You can get a campsite, with access to toilets and showers and a full weekend pass for only $50 per person. The A&I volunteers will be camped there for the weekend to help out, as well as cooking country breakfasts with bacon and egg rolls a specialty. People who camped there last year loved it.

You can book ahead by sending a $50 money order per person to the MOB,(MardiGrass Organising Body), PO Box 177, Nimbin, 2480. $50 secures you an all weekend entry to MardiGrass and a campsite at the showground. We will keep a register and when you arrive at the showground and identify yourself your pass and site will be given to you.

Camping ground opens Wednesday. Additional nights $10 per person. If you want this camping with hot showers arrive early. There will still be plenty of other camping, but with cold showers or none...

Friday night full reception open til 10:30pm. Later than that, you will be directed to a temporary area, and a site will be allocated in the morning.
$50 per person for camping with showers and a full weekend pass.

They will have a local band playing on Saturday night. People who camped there last year loved it.

For further information;

accommodation or Hemp Embassy 0266 891842

Nimbin Rox YHA Backpackers Resort, 74 Thorburn Street, Nimbin: Phone International (+612) or Australia (02), then 66890022. They have camping and parking areas open in the fields along their driveway at the end of Thorburn Street. See Accommodation for more info.....

The area around Rainbow Power is under development, and will not yet be available at the time of MardiGrass. There will be no camping or parking available there this year, so if you were thinking Rainbow, then the Nimbin Rox parking might be the go.

As at 13 January 2009, staff of the Australian Electoral Commission had the following results for the 42 persons who were attempted to be contacted from the Party membership list:

• 14 confirmations of membership
• 11 denials of membership
• 17 could not be contacted by registered mail
The random sample membership check did not disclose any cross-party or internal duplicates and no members under 17 years of age.


See the Australian Hemp Party website or this page for more



Please don't join the HEMP Party unless you are willing to confirm your membership to AEC officials on the phone. If you are unfindable or unwilling to confirm membership, don't join, because it stuffs it up for the rest of us. Sorry, but that's how it works. Give us as many ways to contact you as possible to make it easier to confirm your membership with the AEC. They insist on checking up to see if members really exist.

Be an effective HEMP Party member! Meetings at the HEMP Party Bar at 6:00 pm each evening of MardiGrass!


Is Mardigrass a tradition yet? Is seventeen years enough?

Come and Enjoy

Another Traditional MardiGrass!

Please remember to respect this village that allows this festival, and try to conduct yourself as a true ambassador for HEMP. Do not give our opponents free ammunition through bad behaviour. The whole world is watching, possibly when you least expect it.... Be your best self. Peace.

Please do NOT block driveways when parking your vehicle!

The Jungle Patrol, the parking attendants, all the people doing the work that make it possible, they are all VOLUNTEERS, so please try to help them to help you.

Chill Out Zones: So far, Peace Park and Town Hall. Ask at the Information Booth.



M*U*N*C*H (Monitoring*Unfair*Nimbin*Cannabis*Hype!)

We need licensed non-stoners with vehicles to be the M*U*N*C*H vehicles, which will patrol the approach roads to Nimbin making sure police don’t turn people away from the MardiGrass like they did in 2006, saying “Nimbin is full, turn around and go home!” and observe police behaviour generally. Our fleet of M*U*N*C*H vehicles will be monitoring any unfair Nimbin Cannabis Hype and measuring Omega 3, 6 and 9 levels to make sure you are a healthy driver with a good singing voice. Hemp Seedcake, a winner at the last Nimbin Show, will be provided for those without a glossy coat. Healthy drivers equal better drivers.

Try a Hemp Bar today!


We still have a proposal for an annual grower's cup possibly held late June or early July to allow grower's a bit of time post harvest to prepare and select their best.

Organic only? Different Categories? Rules on how to determine categories? What if its organically grown under lights?

Judging criteria ideas so far include entries and equivalent guests; minimal weight ten grams, no maximum. All unused bud returned to grower, all donations gratefully recieved! The time and location for a meeting to discuss this idea of an National Aussie Cup is understandably a bit vague but keep your ears to the ground at MardiGrass!!

How To Make Cannabis Legal

We would like as many video-witnesses as possible to encourage the peace,

and to bring cameras to HeadsQuarters to share your footage with us all via computer !


We're Growing Ahead!

Names and artists will grow in numbers between now and MardiGrass. The MardiGrass Organising Body is holding weekly meetings from which the 2009 program takes shape, between February & May, so this page will change frequently in the lead up to MardiGrass. One thing you can be certain of, we are growing ahead.


Industrial HEMP Expo, Medicinal Cannabis Info, Ganja Faeries, BIG JOINT, KOMBI KONVOY, “Cannabis Reconciliation” Forum, Parade Float Competition, Rainbow Lane Market, Photo and Video Competitions, local musicians, PotArt Competition, street theatre, live HEMP web-cam, DOTYA Dealer of the year awards (Nominations need to be left in writing at the Nimbin HEMP Party Bar), Michael Phelps Award...a special award for treading water, or poor bong disposal, awarded at the judges discretion, Cannabis Cup, Pickers Ball, HEMP OLYMPIX, MardiGrass Market open all weekend, Bubblehash and Vaporiser Demonstration, Seed Swap, Oasis Comedy Café, Cannabis Cup, Pickers Ball in the Town Hall Friday, Kaptan Reefer and the Kone Scapers doing street music and more!!!


Dutchies CafeDon't forget the core event, 2.30pm Sunday - Cannabis Law Reform Rally and Parade.

Don't miss Dutchies Café (Official Hemp Embassy Cafe) next to the Stage in Peace Park!

Hemp Industrial Estate: For information about hemp masonry building and the availability of hemp masonry building materials this summer, call down to the sheds from 10am daily in Alternative Way, past the Bowling Club and opposite Rainbow Power Company. Klara Marosszeky will be at Nimbin Heads Surf Screenprinters in Shed 8 with some hemp masonry samples and information .... Also check out the women's hemp jackets, screen printed didge covers, fabrics, cushion covers, bandannas and tshirts... look out for the coloured flags. Also at the sheds, Live Art and Music at Riq's Art Bar from 12pm onwards on Saturday... Sunday maybe...

Great Prizes
14 and under: win an I-Pod Nano.
7 and under: win a Nintendo DS.
Entries available at Information Booth and Hemping Around.
Winners announced prior to parade on Sunday.

AOK KogKog's Golden Book and DVD is available in the Hemp Embassy and you can talk to him about working with Spirit to successfully grow a crop of excellent cannabis. Find Kog at the Tattoo show, HEMP Party Bar, or Red Pill Circus of Truth. Kog will be around all weekend.

"Nimbin MardiGrass Lantern Camp 2009" : Candle lit lanterns will create visual splendour and enchantment during MardiGrass. Wanted: Bearers of Light. Lantern volunteers, that is. The task involves making and maintaining the lanterns, and lighting and arraying them each evening Fri, Sat, Sun. Learn the art from master lantern maker, Graeme Dunstan, founder of the Lismore Lantern Festival. Enquire at the Lantern Camp, just south of the Post Office.

Steve "Cry Me a River" Posselt: Steve Posselt is a career water engineer, passionate about kayaks and rivers. Actively opposed to the Traveston dam on the Mary River, last year he kayaked up the Brisbane River, dragged his kayak over the mountain, paddled it down the Mary River to its mouth at the Great Sandy Strait, then down the coast to Brisbane to bring attention to the folly. In 1970 he kayaked (paddled and towed) from the Pacific Ocean to the South Ocean from the Brisbane River and along the Darling. He has a story to tell and book to sell. Talk to him about the plight of our rivers. Display stall beside Lantern Camp.

HEMP EXPO includes hempseed meal, hemp plastics and hemp clothing, hemp cosmetics, hemp oil, hemp paper, hemp bricks, hemp building products and anything else that is made from the versatile cannabis plant.

POT ART ....IN REGIONAL GALLERY AND HEMP BAR...with Annie Heitmann, Rodney Sharpe and Elspeth Jones.

POLITE members are always welcome. However there is a rigorous training program under Stupidnonintended and members are encouraged to bring their own set of blue overalls if they can find some. Slow down training is essential, chillax degrees essential and humour testing continuous and random. Duties include carrying and looking after Big Joint, slowing people down (reminding them nothing is that important), checking greed and raw deals, and checking everyone has an armband .....

CENTRAL CHILL.....On the street between the Museum and Happy Herbal Highs. An undercover chill area where people can sit, relax and meet. Also a central safe house for young people to be.

MardiGrass Industrial Hemp ForumHemp paper making, hemp plastic products and hemp-lime building technologies will be demonstrated during the weekend.

GET HEMPED FASHION SHOWS with Judy Who and friends. Friday night at the Pickers Ball in the Town Hall.
Saturday: 2pm walk thru Peace Park then a show in the Town Hall at 2.15 following the Industrial Hemp Forum.
Sunday: Look for the Get Hemped Float in the Rally and Parade, then a show in the Town Hall around 4.45 before the Joint Rolling Finals.

Jungle PatrolCannabis Cup Raffle - You must have a ticket, be there, and have a valid armband in order to be eligible.

JUNGLE PATROL NEEDS YOU. First Aid Training will be offered free and locals are encouraged to be leaders in this field. Jungle Patrol operates from Friday 8am through to early Monday morning and people are urged to sign up for two four hours shifts .Sign up at the Hemp Embassy or for further info call Heidi 0266897589. If you are here the Wednesday before you could do Red Cross Save A Mate Training.

Ganja FaerieGanja Faeries on Parade - Ganja Faeries are the spirit of the MardiGrass Cannabis Law Reform March and Rally. They dance behind the Bundjalung people who traditionally welcome the protesters to their country each year. The ganja faery dance has itself become a tradition simply because the laws remain unacceptable to all self respecting ganja users, be they Bundjalung, faeries or otherwise.

Each year the dance community in Nimbin come together to choreograph a routine for the march and the result is a riot of colour and rhythm on the day. You are welcome to join us. One week before MardiGrass (last weekend in April) there will be a dance workshop held at the Nimbin Dance studio especially for the march, on the Saturday. No experience needed, just enthusiasm. Ask around town when you get here. Start dreaming up your costume now – the common thread is green, in all its shades, in all styles, in all your glory! Ganja Faeries are all different but all the same. Check out the past years photos and the video footage. If you can’t get here in time for the workshops you are urged to simply join the march and stand up and be counted in all your greenery

Last Rehearsal opposite Community Markets Saturday 2:00pm.

Bing Bong!MardiGrass Comedy Club, the traditional night of laughs that will once again turn the Oasis Café in Nimbin into Humour Central on both Saturday and Sunday nights as our local funnyman S Sorrensen leads the charge into the annual investigation into life, hemp, Nimbin and beyond. (Is there life beyond Nimbin? Yes. Sort of, but not as we know it.)
S will be ably assisted by his comrade in comedy, Alan Glover. (Alan and S also do the commentary for the Hemp Olympix– a sporting event to rival the Chinese version. Genuine Tibetans trying to put out the torch will be welcome.)

The MardiGrass Comedy Club sets sail for laugh land Saturday and Sunday nights from 9pm.

Holy Smoke Communion -with Hempseed Balls and the Goddess of the Church of the HolySmoke.

CWA - Cooking With Attitude, Rainbow Market, Pickers Ball, Pot Art Exhibition, Pot Art Tattoo Show, Dance for Cannabis Law Reform.

KOMBI KONVOY -arrives in Nimbin between 3:30 and 4:20pm on Saturday.

Fringe Mardigrass......"The Red Pill Circus of Truth" hosted by Jago Jago In the marquee behind the Oasis. Proposed program will include guest speakers on various subjects that are taboo on the mainstream media. The intent of this fringe event is to create a space which informs & educates people about alternate perspectives & information not available in the mainstream media. Subjects covered will be history, medicine, politics, finance, military and other relevant issues not normally discussed or made available to the general public, Where is the economic collapse heading ? How can we protect our quality of life during the coming collapse? Was 9/11 an inside job ? Is Australia's legal system legitimate? Is Fluoride safe ? What is the agenda behind GM food? These and other issues will be presented and screened at the 'Red Pill Circus of Truth' from Friday evening to Sunday night.


Are you ready for some feel good music? Well you really need to check out Rich Hardesty. With the #1 played jukebox song on the I.U. campus (yes , the #1 party school in the USA) and the song, 'All My Friends are Stoners' featured in the movie 'Totally Baked'. Not to mention headlining for John Mellencamp's 50th birthday bash.

Before the release of the latest record, Rich Hardesty has sold more than 50,000 CD's and has gained a worldwide fan base by playing over 2000 live shows across the U.S., including a 36 city Jagermeister - sponsored tour in 2001, opening for bands, which include Cypress Hill, Kid Rock, and Eddie Money. Not only has he played 6 consecutive spring breaks at beach bars and resorts in Jamaica, but he has also played in Florida and Southern California, and the list goes on building up to his credibility of being Indiana's #1 selling artist.

A Marijuana Music Award winner, Rich will be appearing at MardiGrass Saturday Evening!

Performers confirmed for MardiGrass include Fyahwalk, Diana Anaid, Chocolate String, Zennith, Antibodies, CC the Cat, our old favorite Kaptan Reefer and the Kone Scrapers, Saritah, Groove Foundation, Pagan Love Cult, IBM, Homeless Yellow, Bo Kaan and Essie Thomas.


Bong Throw & Yell - where entrants throw a bong full of stinking bong water as far as humanly possible whilst yelling “Free the Weed” or something similar.

Correct Weight - You've got vegetable matter, a baggie and no scales. Make up an ounce bag. Closest to the correct weight wins. (1 ounce = 28.3495231 grams)

Growers Ironperson Event -involves lugging a sack of fertilizer and buckets of water around the simulated planting area obstacle course with a tick and leech infested lantana tunnel. The men’s event is a 40kg sack while the women contend with an 20kg sack. The top five crawl into the final. A disclaimer must be signed to compete in this endurance event.

Joint Rolling
The joint must burn from one end to the other. The categories are as follows:

1. Speed Roll - Roll a standard three paper joint as fast as you can. The three fastest go into the finals. Joints must include a cardboard filter, or will be judged incomplete. If this custom is alien to you, consult a local professional before the event.
2. Artistic Roll - Roll the most beautiful joint within ten minutes with as many papers as you like. The three best examples enter the finals.
3. Roll in the Dark - Athletes are blindfolded.
4. Adverse Conditions Roll – Dependent on weather conditions on the day and the judges’ creativity.
5. Seed Sorting -You have to get the “seeds” out of the “mull” faster than anyone else. How fast are you?

You could win a Bling Medal at the HEMP OLYMPIX!

Plantathlon Award in memory of Plantem, 'Chicken' George for the best allrounder in the HEMP Olympix. They must be able to kick an Aussie Rules ball.

Inflatable Joint

Last year we created the world's biggest vaporiser bag, cunningly disguised as the new lighter meaner more portable Big Joint. It takes a lot to fill this sucker and its in the march again this year! See the new rapid deployment model at this year's MardiGrass.

If you need a Big Joint overnight .... who you gonna call?

Check out the 2NimFM radio podcast site at This site includes podcasts of many of the 2NimFM radio programs broadcast during last MardiGrass. They will be recording events over this MardiGrass and posting new material as it comes in.


While at MardiGrass, Tune your FM radio to Nimbin's own NIM FM 102.3, broadcasting and interviewing live from venues around the village.


Let's Roll!

Stoned CrowFRIDAY
May 1st

10:00am - Town Hall Information Booth opens
All MardiGrass Passes Available Here!
Join HEMP Party!

Celebrate Mayday!

4:20pm - Web Cam Broadcast begins at the H*E*M*P Party Bar : includes Church of the Holy Smoke MardiGrass Blessing with the sacrificial $US100 note lighting the joint on the very moment of 4:20. Do the anonymous cannabis user's survey! Pot Art on display here also. HEMP Party Members meet 6:00 pm each evening.

Sunset - Opening CeremonyIn Allsop Park with music, and George invites everyone to sing along, till the Hemp Olympix Torch Bearer arrives from the South with the Eternal Flame For The Victims Of Prohibition, then Welcome to Country by the Bundjalung Elders and you can expect the odd surprise, a minute's silence for all Victims of Prohibition, a MardiGrass Rasta Anthem by George Scott and friends followed by fire dancing in the park .

Town Hall - 7:00pm on - Get Hemped at the Picker's Ball, Entry: Show a Weekend Pass, otherwise $15. (Concession $10)
7.30 Jeshua & Taewa
7.45 Cowgirl Cancan
7.50 Renee
8.00 Amanda
8.15 Nomads
8.30 Get Hemped Fashion Show
9.15 Nimbin Cancan girls
9.30 Pagan Love Cult
10.30 Chantico - Belly Dance
10.40 Dachambo
11.45 Christine Strelan - DJ


Other Roadside Attractions:

Nimbin Hotel : Food, drink, and live entertainment: 7.30 pm A Planet In Space

Regional Gallery (Opposite Oasis) * Pot Art * Elspeth will start taking entries a week before

Bowlo: Food, drink, and live entertainment.Jungle Patrol

Birth and Beyond * 7:00pm Nimbin Underground have Birth and beyond booked for friday night only - Don't miss out - There will be 5 bands playing from 7pm through till late
They are in order of appearance: Slug a four piece punk outfit from Lismore/Nimbin, Piss, a 3 piece punk out fit from Lismore, The Antibodies 4 piece punk Sci fi pop out fit from Nimbin, Manifest 4 piece country garage punk from Nimbin, Hypernova 3 piece pub rock band from Brisbane, Admission is free

Roll On!

May 2nd

Peace Park:

4:20am to Dawn * Mahawana Sunrise Meditation

11:30 * Hemp Olympix registration

12:00 - 2:00 * Hemp Olympix First heats of the Bong Throw and Yell, followed by the Growers Ironperson Event. Hosted by S Sorrensen and Alan Glover.

1:00 - 2:00 pm and 3:00 - 4:00 pm * Leif's Circus Workshop for Kids

2:00 * Dutchies Café (Official Hemp Embassy Cafe) next to the Stage * Cooking with Cannabis …Medicinal Cannabis Classes with the Ganja Faeries….

2:00 pm * Get Hemped fashion models walk thru Peace Park then a show in the Town Hall at 2.15 following the Industrial Hemp Forum.

2:00 pm * MardiGrass Hemporium Tent * Vaporiser Demonstration and Joint Rolling Classes

Between Olympix * Poetry by Andy Putnam followed by Reggaenades with IMANDAN

3:00 pm * Hemp Olympix Joint Rolling (Speed, Artistic and Adverse Conditions) followed by Correct Weight.

3:00 pm *MardiGrass Hemporium Tent * BUBBLEATOR DEMO......the washing machine and all your other questions answered. Smoke your first lavender hash! Wet and dry extraction will be demonstrated. Share your knowledge. This is a demonstration of the method, and a discussion of tips and tricks may follow.
Also a Saliva Testing Workshop. Snake oil or not? Hear the arguments and we can even test you with the little blue saliva stick.....if you can afford the $40 pricetag!

4:10 pm * Global Marijuana March leaves for HEMP Party Bar

5:00pm * Marchers return to Park for the Olympix Hemp Rope Tug O' Drug War with Cheech and Chong pulling against the NimFM Hemp Hour hosts team.

Marijuana Music Awards, previous winners will play around sunset in Peace Park Sat evening when the 2009 winners are announced.

Harvest BallHarvest Ball - Peace Park Concert for Cannabis Law Reform

MardiGrass's big Saturday night in Peace Park. MC Andy Putnam.
Japans most popular psychedelic band Dachambo is coming out especially to play at this gig.

Saturday Night
With special guest, RICH HARDESTY. 'Totally Baked' from the USA. 'All my friends are stoners'
6.00 *GROOVE FOUNDATION. Our local giddyuppers.
7.00 *SARITAH. Energetic and captivating, Saritah combines conscious lyrics with soul, reggae, root and positive passion.
8.00 *CHOCOLATE STRINGS. Brisbane’s finest purveyors of grooved out dub.
9.15 *ZENNITH. The rainforest reggae Boyz. High-energy rhythms and rhymes, the future of Australian roots and Indigenous music. It's were it's at!
10.30 *DACHAMBO. Direct from smokey Tokyo! Funkenpsycalternative, lots of drums and didj from Japans most favourite festival band.
*PLUS our special DJ's and inbetween guests.

Town Hall:
Chill Zone, to include Cannabis Law Reform Workshop, Movies, Music, Food, Peace & Quiet in the Garden at least.

12:00 * Legal Advice Session with Steve Bolt (Solicitor and author of a number of publications on drug laws and drug policy). All students of law welcome to participate.

1:00 * Industrial Hemp Forum, - Speakers include Dr Keith Bolton, Klara Marosszeky and Nathan Burton.

2:15 pm * GET HEMPED FASHION SHOW with Judy Who and friends.

2:30 pm * "International Forum on Medical Cannabis Reconciliation" - MC Bob Tissot, Special guests: Mat, Nathan and Sita from Canada and, please, any visitors with genuine medical marijuana cards are especially welcome to come and share their experience.

5:00 pm * Dr John Jiggens speaks on Underbelly and his new book "The killer cop and the murder of Donald Mackay". Underbelly 2's reenactment of the murder of Donald Mackay was the most watched drama in Australian television history with an audience of 2.5 million. It was wildly inaccurate, and its historical inventions were criticised by many of the people portrayed, from Bob Trimbole's ex to Donald Mackay's son. Dr John Jiggens, author of "The killer cop and the murder of Donald Mackay" explains how Underbelly 2 got it wrong and explains who the murderers were and why the NSW police covered up the murder.

7:00pm * Dinner & Discussion of all things HEMP: "Between peace of mind and police of mind!" Bon Appetit!

8:00pm * Jago's Red Pill Movies.

If we get wet weather we will be moving the Harvest Ball from Peace Park to the Town Hall, and the movies will move to Birth & Beyond.

Other Roadside Attractions:

Industrial Estate Sheds * 10:00 am * For information about hemp masonry building and the availability of hemp masonry building materials this summer, call down to the sheds from 10am daily in Alternative Way, past the Bowling Club and opposite Rainbow Power Company. Klara Marosszeky will be at Nimbin Heads Surf Screenprinters in Shed 8 with some hemp masonry samples and information .... Also check out the women's hemp jackets, screen printed didge covers, fabrics, cushion covers, bandannas and tshirts... look out for the coloured flags. Also at the sheds, Live Art and Music at Riq's Art Bar from 12pm onwards on Saturday... Sunday maybe...

HEMP Party Bar
11:00 am * Pot Poetry
4.15 pm * Church of The Holy Smoke Mass Baptism with Her Holiness The Goddess
4:20 pm
* The Global Marijuana March "The Global Marijuana March at 4.20 PM on the Saturday could require some real walking for the first time ever," leaked Max Stone. "This year, again, well over 1 million cannabis law reform activists in over 200 cities will be marching (Last count 236), we usually keep the actual 'thing' we do for the GMM secret until the day which increases the spontaneity of the event," confided Max,"Don't Panic, the most distance anyone will have to march will be 420 metres and all you will need is a thing in your hand that looks like a joint and a heart full of peace, remembering all the while that the MardiGrass and the GMM are gatherings of people who want to CHANGE the cannabis laws, not as police seem to think, gatherings of people who want to BREAK the law."
6:00 pm * HEMP Party Members meet 6:00 pm each evening.

Kombi Konvoy3:30 to 4:20pm KOMBI KONVOY arrives in Nimbin, having wended its way from Byron Bay, via Lismore. Sponsored by Rvbyesque - Could people in the crowd please refrain from jumping on the back bumpers of Kombis as they pass through town, as it can damage the vehicles.

Birth and Beyond * Chill Space. Back verandah quiet space for Mothers and babies.

1:00pm on *BOWLO* Fourth Hemplore Pro Pot Art Tattoo Show (Entrants register 10:00am to 12:45pm), featuring local band The Antibodies...

Nimbin Community Centre
to late * MardiGrass Market Stage * Family Friendly * Cranking music all weekend: MC Bo Kaan,
10: 00 am * John Douvris
11: 00 am * Lewis Parter
12: 00 am * Jabiru
1: 00 pm * Door 7
2: 00 pm * Bo Kaan & Tommy Chong
3: 00 pm * Invisible Friend
4: 00 pm * Kaptan Reefer
5: 00 pm * Homeless Yellow
6: 00 pm * Vasuda Jem
7: 00 pm * Eagle & Louis Burdett
8: 00 pm * Imandan
9: 00 pm * Mystic Beats

We really hope to see Tommy Chong here!

Nimbin Regional Gallery (Opposite Oasis Cafe)
Pot Art - Elspeth will be receiving entries the week before, at the Gallery. Entries may also be left with Gary at the HEMP Party Bar.

Nimbin Hotel: Food, drink, and live entertainment. 1.30 pm Glory B, 7.30 pm Diana Anaid Duo, Durga Babies

Mingle Park: the BlackYard Stage * DRY CAMP * Music and discussion from midday, Saturday and 11:00 am Sunday with "Yarndi Yarns', hosted by Koori and other Grandmothers and Grandfathers who are unafraid to tell their stories of why yarndi is good for them and prohibition is not.
12:00 Opening Ceremony
12:30 Jowi
1:20 Homeless Yellow
2:10 Camilla
3:00 Chris Bolt Band
3:30 Bib
4:00 BREAK
5:00 Spooki
6:00 Sunset Ceremony
7:00 “ ...” Concert featuring:
Monkey & the Fish
Louis Burdett and Lemniscape
Bart Willoughby
Bunna Laurie & the Whale Dreamers Band

Rainbow Cafe * Food and Music.

Fringe Mardigrass - Red Pill Circus of Truth - Marquee behind Oasis: -Red Pill will be on at the tent behind the Oasis from 1pm till 4pm depending on how well patronized the event is Andy has no gauranteed time for it unless it has a decent crowd so can't commit to times but can give you speakers Jost Sauer on Drugs and how they work , Mark McMurtrie on why we are all millionares and who owns Australia, Jaquie Boustany on Energetic healing and KOG on A Growers Lot

S and Glover at work9:00 pm on... The Oasis Comedy Cafe ......hosted by S Sorrensen & Alan Glover and featuring well known comics Greg Sullivan, Nick Penn, Steve Davis and surprise (as in yet-to-be -confirmed ) guests!







Roll it up!

Stoned CrowsSUNDAY
May 3rd

Town Hall:
Chill Zone, Forums, Movies, Music, Food, with Peace & Quiet in the Garden at least.

11:00 am * Legal Advice Session.

12:00 * Industrial Hemp Forum, - Speakers include Dr Keith Bolton, Klara Marosszeky and Nathan Burton.

1:00 pm till 2:00 pm * MardiGrass Beyond Prohibition Workshop - MC Bob Tissot, Special guests: Mat, Nathan and Sita from Canada, Neil Pike, John Jiggens, and card carrying medical cannabis patients from around the world.

2:30 pm * The Rally is on.

4:00 pm * Cannabis Cup Raffle drawn. You must have a ticket and have a valid armband in order to be eligible. Numbers drawn will be announced over the PA and will also be listed on a blackboard at the Town Hall Information Booth by 4pm. Only numbers will be called and listed, so don't lose your ticket/s.

4:45 pm * GET HEMPED FASHION SHOW with Judy Who and friends.

5:00 pm * Joint Rolling and Correct Weight Finals, followed by the Plantathlon Award for the best Hemp Olympix All-rounder, in memory of Chicken George, the recently passed Plantem.

7:00pm * Jago's Red Pill Movies.

Peace Park:
Dawn * Mahawana Sunrise Meditation

Industrial Hemp Expo in MardiGrass Hemporium Tent open all day with examples of hemp paper making, hemp plastic products and hemp-lime building technologies.

11:00 am * Seed Swap

11:30 * Hemp Olympix registration for Last Heats.

12:00 till 2:00 pm * Hemp Olympix [Last Heats and Finals] Growers Iron Person & Bong Throw and Yell.

12:00 * Dutchies Café (next to the Stage) * Cooking with Cannabis …Medicinal Cannabis Classes with the Ganja Faeries….

12:00 - 1:00 pm * Leif's Circus Workshop for Kids



2:00pm * Gather and get ready for the MardiGrass Parade. If you want to be in it join us all at the top of Cecil Street where it meets Cullen Street, opposite the local Police Station. The march is the main event, so please come and join in.

We have the second Float Competition, sponsored by Happy High Herbs, but we're not talking motorised floats. Here's how they see it, and of course we would like it if there was an anti-prohibition theme to the "float".

If you have a float remember to arrive in time for pre-parade judging!



Due to a change of circumstances for the principal sponsor, the float competition is in reduced circumstances. Bravely, our sponsor has put up a thousand dollars in prizemoney. Nimbin Happy High Herbs has chipped in five hundred! We are actively seeking sponsors to take up the gap between that and last years, but if they are not found we will have to make do.

Height – Floats must not exceed 3.2 metres from “the road”.
Width – Must not exceed 2.4 metres wide.
Length – Should not exceed 4.2 metres long, however this is a bit flexible.
Floats must be peopled or green powered.
You will be given a competitor number at the beginning of the Parade. Floats may feature a single person or group, or may be a centrepiece of a larger on foot display.

These floats are our opportunity to present a powerful message to the outside world of both celebration and/or protest. Your float can express whatever you feel or want to share. We need floats and displays that reflect our area, our people, our pride and desires for the future, our fun and festivity.

Drug Law Reform is a major focus of this festival and we encourage all to have their say.


Judges will remain unknown until the day of the event. They will be women and men, and mostly not part of the Happy High Herb shop.

A 1-10 point score method will be adopted.

1. Judged pre-parade whilst assembling:
Use of recycled materials

2. Judging During Parade:
Function (Locomotion)
Message power
Overall effect
Crowd response

PRIZES will be presented to nominated heads of winning floats in Peace Park after the Rally. Contact the HEMP Embassy for details on 66891842


Look for the Get Hemped Float in the Rally and Parade, then a Get Hemped Fashion Show in the Town Hall around 4.45 pm before the Joint Rolling Finals.

The Parade begins at 2:30pm and makes its way to the Rally in Peace Park. Sometimes the parade might stop while the Ganja Faeries up front do a brief performance. This keeps the parade from being too hasty and allows the crowd a better opportunity to take it all in. Everyone waits behind the BIG JOINT until the procession continues. No rush. Percussionists who have not been practicing with the Ganja Faerie troupe are asked to form a second Drumming Troupe, further back in the parade to provide a continuing accompaniment for the parade. The procession will eventually make its way to the Rally for Cannabis Law Reform in Peace Park.



At the end of the Parade we arrive in Peace Park for the Rally. There will be a welcoming song by Diana Anaid. Speeches and DOTYA, Cheech & Chong Lookalike and Michael Phelps Awards follow, interspersed with song, then the winning Cannabis Cup raffle numbers will be announced and Parade Float prizes awarded before the MardiGrass Harvest Celebration takes over the stage.

Speeches by Bundjalung Elders, Mat Beren, Sita, Nathan Burton, Neil Pike, Michael and Others.

"This is our seventeenth consecutive Rally for Cannabis Law Reform. We vowed to Rally every year on the first weekend of May until we are no longer criminals for using cannabis. The recent Nimbin police raids have highlighted their need to reconsider how their limited resources are spent. For over three decades they have been picking on the pot smokers in Nimbin with very expensive operations which have made little or no difference other than to create more young people with criminal records for life. Building more jails is clearly a primitive approach to what is obviously a health and social issue. There is little public support left in Nimbin for their hollow justifications for over policing cannabis. Surely by now they must realise there are more important things for them to do with their time." says our Michael.

Sunday after the Rally
* DIANA ANAID. Brazen Accoustic Rock Goddess. An absolute queen of the MardiGrass stage. She's what the locals like.
* PARANOIA CLUB. Think garage jazz and classical punk. Voted 'Sydney's best live rock band'. Here to rock the night.
* CC the CAT. A bunch of groove-driving party-shaking reggae-rockers, regularly playing packed shows from the Sunny Coast to Byron Bay. "WE ACHE TO MAKE YOU SHAKE"
* FYAH WALK. MardiGrass in a band. Roots Reggae with a conscious message. Groove, bump and grind the night away.

Other Roadside Attractions:

Mingle Park: the BlackYard Stage * 10:00 till Parade Open * Mic Songs and poetry
afternoon concert
11:00 ‘Yarndi Yarns’ forum & discussion
12:00 tba
12:45pm Chris Fisher
1:40 Dachambo
2:30 RALLY
4:00 pm Bart Willoughby
4:50 pm Jiggi Veranda Band
5:40 pm Paranoia Club
6:00 pm Closing Concert

Industrial Estate Sheds * 10:00 am * For information about hemp masonry building and the availability of hemp masonry building materials this summer, call down to the sheds from 10am daily in Alternative Way, past the Bowling Club and opposite Rainbow Power Company. Klara Marosszeky will be at Nimbin Heads Surf Screenprinters in Shed 8 with some hemp masonry samples and information .... Also check out the women's hemp jackets, screen printed didge covers, fabrics, cushion covers, bandannas and tshirts... look out for the coloured flags. Also at the sheds, Live Art and Music at Riq's Art Bar from 12pm onwards on Saturday... Sunday maybe...

HEMP Party Bar
4:00 pm * Pot Poetry
4:20 pm * Church of the Holy Smoke MardiGrass Blessing with the sacrificial $US100 note lighting the joint on the very moment of 4:20. Do the anonymous cannabis user's survey! Pot Art on display here also.
6:00 pm * HEMP Party Members meet 6:00 pm each evening.

Cannabis Cup * Somewhere, sometime tonight!

Nimbin Community Centre
10: 00 am to 6:00 pm* MardiGrass Market Stage * Family Friendly * Cranking music all weekend: MC Bo Kaan
10:00 am * Cannabis Chris and the Buds
10:15 am * John Douvris
11:00 am * Essie Thomas
12:00 am * Buffalo Pig
1:00 pm * Paranoia Club
2:00 pm * Go and get ready for the Parade and Rally

4: 00 pm * Dick Desert
5:00 pm * Fricken Hecks
We hope to see Tommy Chong here also!

Oasis Comedy CafeOasis Cafe
* Comedy Cafe: hosted by S Sorrensen & Alan Glover, and featuring well known comics Greg Sullivan, Nick Penn, Steve Davis and surprise (as in yet-to-be -confirmed ) guests!





Birth and Beyond * Films * follow the lights. All weekend. Back verandah quiet space for Mothers and babies.

Nimbin Hotel: Food, drink, and live entertainment. 1.30 pm The Creepers, 6.30 pm Baron Samahdi.



Stoned Crows






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Available now at the Nimbin HEMP Embassy.

Many thanks to Grooven for support in bringing DACHAMBO to MardiGrass. Do visit their shop across the road from Woolies in Byron.

Happy High Herbs Ad

Rvbyesque Ad

Susukka Ad

Rainbow Love is the little shop next to the Rainbow Cafe.

Campervan Rental - Wicked Campers

Spangled Drongo Ad

Bringabong Ad

Agung Ad

Hemp-Eaze has hemp root as an ingredient. This excited the interest of the AFP sufficiently for them to seize a sample during a search, but when analysed it was found to contain no THC whatsoever, and the Hemp-Eaze was returned. Officers, you cant smoke it. It's a healing cream to be rubbed on bruises and abrasions.


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Hemp in History

At the beginning of what we know about man's historical relationship with hemp, in China ten thousand years ago, it was used for fibre, oil, medicine, and as an entheogen (drug used to achieve a spiritual state). Four thousand years ago they made papyrus in Egypt. The plant was spreading. A thousand years ago hemp found its way to Europe, and was used for rope, sails, cloth, fuel, paper, paint, food and medicine. Five hundred years ago when Portuguese sailing ships began to explore beyond the known shores, the demand for hemp rope and sails grew rapidly making hemp a resource of strategic importance to all seafaring nations. When explorers got to North America, there was already a native strain of hemp growing there. The circle was complete. From its beginnings in China hemp had come to be a vital resource grown all around the world. It was as important to trade then as oil is now.

The year 1839 saw the introduction of the screw propeller which spelt the end of the sailing ship era and also the first Opium War in China broke out when Britain backed the right of British merchants to sell opium in China, a practice the Chinese government had wanted to stop. It was essentially a trade war to open up Chinese markets, but hinged on Opium.

In the New World gold rushes of the 1800s there was racial tension between Chinese and European miners, reflected in laws passed by governments of the day. Opium was then considered a "filthy Chinese practice" and this is ironic considering opium was forced on the Chinese to balance the British Tea trade going the other way.

While being an opium smoker was socially unacceptable, in the late eighteen hundreds miracle cures, nostrums, tonics, baby soothers and patent medicines multiplied, adroitly using the media to market their wares. There were no regulations at the time to control any of this. They were consumed by a gullible public, perhaps avoiding the expense of doctors. Some people became addicted to preparations containing opiates or cocaine. By the time alcohol prohibition came around, the general populace were familiar with the concept of addiction.

The Twenties had brought notions of town planning, public education and public health. There were campaigns to increase literacy generally and reduce mortality rates in children. This included school health, school milk and vaccination programs.

Science though is not the only influence on world affairs. The Christian church does not have a visible history of using entheogens, and generally views drugs as more the Devil's work than God's. (Wine, as used in Christian rituals, is not used for intoxication or to achieve a spiritual state.) Many Christian women of the Twenties campaigned for voting rights and temperance. They saw alcohol as a destroyer of families, and helped bring about the US prohibition era. Alcoholics and drug addicts were seen as slaves to their drugs, and it was thought by many wishful thinkers that prohibition laws would make those slaves free.

These other drugs were generally thought of as Un-American or Un-Australian and originating with another race. Opium was touted as a Chinese drug, cocaine was South American, and cannabis was Mexican or Arabic. Racism visibly entered the equation.

Some newspapers of the Thirties exploited all these sentiments mercilessly. So did politicians.

A cheaper fast-yellowing paper was by then being made from bleached woodchip for newspapers, and nylon rope came onto the market. Synthetics were seen as a sunrise industry and enthusiastically embraced as the way of the future at the time.

All of these factors contributed to governments seeking ways to control drug use, and not allow people to self medicate. Pharmaceutical companies and regulations ensuring the purity and safety of food and drugs emerged. While this move from quackery to government and science approved medicine had its good points it also created the medical and pharmaceutical monopolies of today.

States rights in the US are part of the equation. The US constitution gave the states rights to avoid the potential tyranny of a central government, but the Federal US government has consistently sought ways to gain power over the states, and uses interstate commerce provisions to deem crimes federal and take jurisdiction. The states have not always agreed with the federal view, and frictions do exist.

The prohibition of alcohol came and went as it was deemed a failure, but the prohibition of a number of drugs remained, including hemp/cannabis. With alcohol prohibition the rise of enterprise level gangs, public corruption, gang warfare, and crime was an unexpected consequence of such good intentions. While the continued prohibition of other drugs may have mollified the temperance movement and allies, it also left territory for the abusers of alcohol prohibition to move into.

America in its ascendance promoted and encouraged the adoption of like laws through the UN and trade agreements. It was an attempt to achieve globally, by the same means an aim that had failed locally. In this case legislating for conformity created a new criminal class and attracted a non-conformist reaction.

While only a few used cannabis and police did not have computer records this probably did not affect a huge number of lives statistically, but in the Sixties cannabis use spread among all classes of the younger white generation, and increased in use each year following.

Richard Nixon saw the general increase in drug experimentation and use as a matter of national urgency and gave us the term "Drug War" as he and his successors sought to control a cultural phenomenon. Cannabis was declared the front line. One generation of beliefs declared war on another generation.

By that time computers had made it possible for every misdemeanour of your youth to haunt your whole life.

Now there are so many drug users in prison that governments are privatising prisons in a bid to reduce the expense. The Drug War might look sane to some from the outside, but most within see it as a form of fearful madness with one type of human outlawing another and discriminating on the basis of a small point of difference. As a self proclaimed real criminal in Grafton jail once told me with dismay, "They lower the tone of the place! Used to be all real crims in here!"

I did not bother telling him I was there for cannabis.

Please try to imagine walking in the shoes of a cannabis smoker. Help end prohibition. Seek saner solutions.

Afghanistan opium

According to a UN Office on Drugs and Crime 2007 opium survey in Afghanistan, the region produced 8,200 metric tons of opium - twice the annual estimate of global opium consumption. Afghanistan produces more opium than anywhere else in the world. But the price of opium is not being driven down by overproduction. Antonia Costa for the Washington Post writes,

"The (unweighted) national average price of dry opium at the farm gate in Afghanistan is dropping, but not significantly -- it was $125 per kilo in December 2006 compared with $150 per kilo a year earlier. Prices differ across the country, not surprisingly, since Afghanistan is not a unified territory or market, even for opium. But overall, the drop in prices is modest when compared with the massive increase in opium production, 50 percent, in 2006."

Opium also has a longer shelf-life than cocaine, and can be used as a store of value. It is considered a source of liquidity and is used as collateral for credit. But if this is so, why aren't Afghan farmers using their collateral to build up capital? Why isn't Afghanistan more prosperous? Something is not adding up. An alternative explanation is that the estimated annual global demand, thought to be 4,500 metric tons, is not actual demand. The real demand for opium could be much higher, or could be growing as fast as the production, as the illicit market spreads to new places.

But if new markets were absorbing the surplus, Costa writes, "we would expect an increase in seizures of the drug and overdoses in these countries. That hasn't been happening." She offers another alternate explanation.

"Drug traffickers have a symbiotic relationship with insurgents and terrorist groups such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Instability makes opium cultivation possible; opium buys protection and pays for weapons and foot soldiers, and these in turn create an environment in which drug lords, insurgents and terrorists can operate with impunity."

"I suspect," she concludes, "that the big traffickers are hoarding surplus opium as a hedge against future price shocks and as a source of funding for future terrorist attacks, in Afghanistan or elsewhere." She warns that Afghanistan's neighbors are "either accomplices or victims in the opium trade, so they need to be part of the solution."

Her last statement echoes a longtime NATO accusation. NATO, with 55,000 troops in Afghanistan, accuses Iran of allowing weapons and drugs to be smuggled into and out of the region, and giving money to 'insurgent' farmers and fighters. The UN International Narcotics Control Board says Pakistan is also a popular trade route.

If the supply of opium does not affect the price, then buyers are willing to pay a lot for it. But while the price of opium has not significantly dropped (even though production is twice the expected demand) farmers are entering the cannabis market instead. The UN's International Narcotics Control Board said in its annual report that because of overproduction in opium there has been a rise in the production of cannabis in Afghanistan. Many provinces which had been declared by the post-9/11 Afghan government and NATO to be free of poppy cultivation have switched to cannabis. The report went on:

"The lack of security in Afghanistan has severely hampered government efforts to eradicate illicit opium poppy; a total of 78 persons involved in the eradication efforts lost their lives in 2008, a six-fold increase over the previous year. The increase in illicit cultivation of cannabis in Afghanistan is also a worrying development."

Another law of economics commonly touted is "comparative advantage", which says that countries should produce in whichever products they have a comparative cost advantage over other countries. Afghanistan has comparative as well as an absolute cost advantage over other countries in drug production. And while Afghanistan is considered one of the least-developed countries in the world, with the lowest standard of living, their most traditional and cost-effective ways of industrial organization is outlawed, which leads to prohibition-style murder. The UNINCB does not see it this way. They say,

"The large-scale smuggling of Afghan opiates has resulted in a wide range of social ills, including organized crime, corruption and high illicit demand for opiates. For example, the Islamic Republic of Iran has, for a number of years, the highest rate of abuse of opiates in the world."

The same could be said about US energy firms, whose large-scale operations result in a wide range of social ills. The United States has, for a number of years, the highest rate of abuse of oil in the world; oil money leads to massive corruption, and the propping up of imperialist regimes; world government leaders have been trying for years to switch oil producers to more legitimate ways of life, but the oil drilling persists. In addition, many of the legalized US agricultural commodities harm other countries in the same way the US claims opium harms it, through policies like dumping. What if the overproduction of these crops were banned by the international community? Oh wait, they are.

As occupying Western armies have learned, from Winston Churchill to the Soviet Empire, controlling Afghanistan is much harder than invading it. Alternative solutions to Afghanistan's illicit drug "problem" should include the legalization of its drug trade


Red gold: the solution to Afghanistan’s opium addiction

Afghanistan produces 93 percent of the world’s opiates and 90 percent of the world’s opium. Not only does this trade exacerbate a global drug crisis, but it also provides Taliban and insurgent groups between $100 million and $400 million per year. It is estimated that 80 percent of personnel at the Ministry of Interior benefit from the drug trade, and Afghan officials even believe that 100,000 members of the Afghan government gain from the trade—whether it be from transportation fees, bribes or profits. Even highway police are believed to be involved in facilitating and taxing smuggling. At times, they themselves transport the drugs in government law enforcement vehicles. An increasingly lawless Afghanistan, riddled with corruption at all levels of government and police, has led the way to an explosion of poppy cultivation.

Tackling the ongoing and growing opium trade in Afghanistan must be a priority for American policymakers. The current U.S. strategy is to train and aid Afghan forces to conduct a mass eradication campaign by force, which has proved to be ineffective.

The Afghan Eradication Force was created in 2005 with the help of United States Drug Enforcement Agency and the US State Department. The troops consist of police drawn from Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior. On occasion these eradicators have been ambushed by Taliban forces and even targeted by suicide bombers. Eradication is not working. In fact, last month, Richard Holbrooke, U.S. envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, stated that the $800 million the US spends per year on counter-narcotics is “wasteful and ineffective.”

In June of 2005, the Counter Narcotics Trust Fund was established through the United Nations Development Programme to provide additional resources to implement the policies of the National Drug Control Strategy of the Afghan government. The CNTF has, among other things, been promoting a system of subsidies to encourage “poppy-free provinces.” The U.S. has been responsible for 75 percent of the funds pledged for so called “performance incentives.” According to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report, 98 percent of farmers said they would be ready to stop poppy cultivation “should access to alternative livelihoods be provided,” and many farmers were eager to receive a portion of those subsidies. In 2007, this system seemed promising: 13 out of a total of 34 provinces became poppy free. Unfortunately, in many instances, provinces that claimed poppy-free status substituted poppies with cannabis, another illicit crop that propagates drug trade, while truly poppy-free provinces did not receive subsidies at all.

Eradication is difficult because it threatens the livelihoods of many Afghan farmers who simply cultivate out of necessity. In fact, many farmers cultivate poppies in order to pay off a loan-in-kind from the previous year. It is common for moneylenders to charge usurious rates or conduct other forms of intimidation such as simply kidnapping family members of defaulters (usually daughters). At any given point in time, farmers are reliant upon loans at staggeringly high interest rates and have loans taken out in advance for the next season’s harvest. If they choose to abandon poppy cultivation, they will still have to pay for that loan they already took out, without any of next season’s profits.

The welfare of these farmers must be the primary concern of the international community if it intends to end the drug trade in Afghanistan, which benefits insurgency and Taliban forces. Their attraction to poppy is simply a matter of convenience—it is a high value crop, with profits estimated at around $5,200 per hectare, and trade routes are already established. A substitute crop, which provides an equal or better livelihood for farmers, must be introduced.

The ideal substitutable crop is saffron. As a result of being one of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron has been nicknamed “red gold.” It is high-profit, low-risk, and suitable to climatic conditions. Western Afghanistan has a long history of growing the best saffron in the world. In fact, trials of saffron growing in the Herat province, bordering Iran, have beaten the international record for most productive yield—on average $5,000 per hectare annually and even up to $8,000. The statistics make saffron a higher value crop than cannabis, with the potential to exceed profits accrued through poppy cultivation.

In order to make this substitution of saffron feasible, donor nations, led by the United States, must provide funding in order to provide corms (saffron seeds) to farmers. In addition, organizations such as International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas must be brought in to train Afghans on proper farming techniques for saffron, so that they can grow a successful and profitable crop. The U.S. must adopt this policy of crop substitution in order to increase national security, reduce drug trade, and increase stability in Afghanistan.


Holbrooke Calls for "Complete Rethink" of Drugs in Afghanistan

This morning, after President Barack Obama unveiled his new Afghanistan policy, three senior administration officials held an on-the-record (but no cameras) briefing for White House reporters. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Bruce Riedel, chair of the Afghanistan policy review, and Michèle Flournoy, undersecretary of defense for policy, hammered home the points that Obama had made: that this policy has a concise and clear goal (protecting Americans from al Qaeda by making sure this terrorist band does not have any safe havens in Afghanistan or Pakistan), that it has a regional focus (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and that it has a strong civilian component (i.e., sending not just more troops, but more advisers to work on development and related matters). They did not talk timelines, deadlines, costs, or exit strategies. They did repeatedly refer to benchmarks and flexibility.

I asked if this review had addressed Obama's previous complaint that the national government in Afghanistan is "detached" from the rest of the country and whether any of the development envisioned by the review could be accomplished given the widespread and profound corruption in Afghanistan. Holbrooke fielded this one:

I would just point you to the fact that no American chief executive has spoken about corruption this way ever before in open. Isn't that a fair statement, Bruce? And on the way out, a former Assistant Secretary of State, who many of you know, but I better not give his name, since he isn't...said to me, I've been waiting six years to hear a speech like that, and the emphasis on corruption is essential. You've all been reporting it for years. We view it as a cancer eating away at the country and it has to be dealt with. And obviously we're not going to lay out how we're going to deal with it. To some extent, we don't know yet. There's so much dispute about it. Senators have talked about it, including senators who are now President, Vice President and Secretary of State. And they bring what they said as senators to this issue.

And speaking for myself, I've written about it a lot. I don't take back anything I ever wrote as a private citizen. Now we've been offered the extraordinary challenge of trying to deal with this problem. And we're here to say, it is at the highest levels. Why? This isn't baksheesh. We've got to make a distinction between ordinary problems that happen in every society. This is massive efforts that undermine the government. President Karzai himself has said this, and we need to work on this. It's a huge recruiting draw—excuse me, huge recruiting opportunity for the Taliban. It's one of their major things they exploit. But I can't lay out to you how exactly we're going to do this. We're just starting out. And by the way, we're in the middle of an election campaign in Afghanistan, which complicates everything enormously.

So here Holbrooke was acknowledging the significance of the corruption issue, somewhat eloquently and candidly, yet he could not say how it might be addressed. As for Karzai's government being "detached," he didn't go there.

Holbrooke is a wonderfully engaging character—an old-school power player. He schmoozes reporters, coming across as intelligent, crafty, and concerned. He is a charmer who knows his stuff. He won't no-comment a tough question; he will compliment the reporter on posing an insightful query, show he fully understands the issue at hand (which he does), and then explain he can't answer it—in a manner that can be convincing, not annoying.

But at the end of the briefing, Holbrooke did speak somewhat candidly about a vexing part of the Afghanistan problem: drugs. What to do about the opium flowing out of Afghanistan has always been a knotty element of US policy regarding Afghanistan. How much of a priority should it be? (Simply put, if you attack the the opium trade, warlords and locals get pissed off and join or support the other side.) Asked about the priority of drug fighting in the Afghanistan review, Holbrooke, as he was leaving the briefing, said "We're going to have to rethink the drug problem." That was interesting. He went on: "a complete rethink." He noted that the policymakers who had worked on the Afghanistan review "didn't come to a firm, final conclusion" on the opium question. "It's just so damn complicated," Holbrooke explained. Did that mean that the opium eradication efforts in Afghanistan should be canned? "You can't eliminate the whole eradication program," he exclaimed. But that remark did make it seem that he backed an easing up of some sort. "You have to put more emphasis on the agricultural sector," he added.

For years, officials of the US government and other government have pondered what to do about the poppy fields of Afghanistan. Holbrooke indicated he favors a significant shift in this front of the war on drugs. But what specific policy does he fancy? He offered no clues, and then began talking to several reporters in French. Whatever he was saying, it sounded quite good.

Medicinal Cannabis
A toke a day, keeps the Doctor away!

Cannabis helps with glaucoma, relieves migraine headaches, helps brain cells, can relieve skin diseases, helps ease asthma attacks, may block epileptic seizures, works as a back spasm medicine, treats depression and other mood disorders, may help emphysema patients to breathe better, alleviates pain associated with chemotherapy, has successfully reduced tumours (benign and malignant), can help multiple sclerosis patients control spasms, can easily be grown organically (free of toxic chemicals), assists in over coming insomnia, dilates the bronchi, to allow more oxygen into the blood, helps paraplegic and quadriplegic patients, may induce antibacterial effects, is the best way known to dry the mouth’s saliva in dentistry, relieves the pain of arthritis and rheumatism, alleviates the symptoms of withdrawal from alcohol and narcotics, hempseed oil has an omega-6:omega-3 ratio of about 4:1 and the seeds have essential amino acids in ideal proportions. Hempseed contains alpha-Linolenic Acid (18:3 omega-3), gamma-Linolenic Acid (18:3 omega-6) and Linoleic Acid (18:2 omega-6)


Hemp food in the greater scheme of things…
Klara Marosszeky

Those in know about the nutritional value of hemp food products would also be aware that in Australia we can’t yet legally eat low THC hemp seed. It’s under federal legislation, unlike the rest of the industrial hemp applications that are under the states. It’s now legal to grow industrial hemp in NSW because of a change in legislation last June, but we can still only feed hempseed to animals, even though it’s passed all human food safety testing.

Hemp food needs to be on the agenda for a number of reasons; the first is that there is a global food crisis. We’re mostly blissfully oblivious because we live on one of the few landmasses that have been identified as being suitable for larger scale food production. As opposed to most of the European continent, we still have farming land where there has not yet been too much soil or groundwater contamination to farm food.

Hemp is exceptionally suitable for organic agriculture. It does not need massive inputs of chemical fertilisers. It can also be used as a soil remediator to take up excess nutrient. (In Europe it’s used to remediate sites contaminated with heavy metals as well). In terms of the negative impacts of crops on biodiversity, hemp is remarkably less “ecotoxic” than most other crops including flax, wheat, soybean, rye, rice, barley, oats, rapeseed (canola), cotton and potatoes.

It was once a part of the staple diet of many of the world’s cultures. It was so widely grown and used, that the seed was readily available and provided a good source of oil, flour and easily digestible protein containing a high percentage of the essential fatty acids needed for healthy metabolism. Today it remains in the diet of some cultures like China, where hemp milk, hemp chocolate, hemp cake and hemp oil are part of the military’s food pack, and it’s been reintroduced into the global diet by large scale production in Canada and the UK where hemp pasta, flour and food bars are manufactured.

Hempseed protein is known to increase energy and circulation, prevent lactic acid build up in muscles, boost the immune system, balance hormones and improve skin, hair and nail condition. It’s considered to be an excellent source of protein for vegans.

Dual purpose hemp crops have the potential to save trees that would otherwise be harvested for production of lumber and pulp. In Australia and in many parts of the world we currently harvest timber faster than it grows. Hemp produces four times the volume of fibre per hectare than trees and takes up huge amounts of carbon which can be locked into strong building materials, insulation, fibreglass replacements, plastic, paper, industrial oils to begin the list.

Legislating to grow hempseed for food would create a realistic opportunity for the hemp industry to develop in Australia. Farmers could grow dual purpose food/fibre crops providing them with strong returns. Meanwhile the technologies for other industrial fibre applications could emerge. Given that climate change has now been acknowledged, you’d think it should be full steam ahead. Not yet ….so please sign one of the hemp food petitions available in venues throughout Mardigrass, so we can forward them to our politicians.

“Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes.” Abraham Lincoln

NIMBIN MardiGrass and Cannabis Law Reform Rally
2009 MAY 2nd & 3rd

Stoned Crow


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