Pubdate: Tue, 02 May 2000
Source: Australian Associated Press (Australia)
Copyright: 2000 Australian Associated Press


A new federal party which aims to end marijuana prohibition in Australia,
will be launched at the eighth annual Nimbin Mardigrass and Cannabis Law
Reform rally on the weekend, organisers said today.

The president of the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party, Michael
Balderstone, said the launch of the party on Saturday should help push drug
reform on the national agenda.

"The new party legitimises our political campaign and our attempts to make
the mainstream parties listen to our reform message," Mr Balderstone said
from Nimbin in far northern NSW.

"In the past we've run as independents. With the name HEMP on the ballot
paper, we expect our Senate candidates' preferences to determine the outcome
of the final seat in a couple of states."

Mr Balderstone said the HEMP Party will offer an "alternative vision" to
issues like mandatory sentencing and Prime Minister John Howard's so-called
tough on drugs stance.

"Many people are fed up with the government's line on law and order in
general and drugs in particular," he said.

"The PM still thinks that tough on drugs is a vote winner and we aim to
prove otherwise."
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