Pubdate: Mon, 04 May 2015
Source: Northern Star (Australia)
Copyright: 2015 APN News & Media Ltd
Author: Leah White
Page: 3


Green fun and games at town's annual 'protestival'

ONLY in Nimbin could a protest rally be celebrated with a parade full
of hemp-themed floats, bong-throwing contests and a flock of green,
prancing Ganja fairies down the main street.

This weekend was the 2015 Nimbin Mardi Grass cannabis law reform
rally, a tradition that began as a small, peaceful protest outside the
Nimbin police station in May, 1993.

This year, heavy rain and wild winds threatened to wreak havoc on the
popular "protestival".

Several roads were closed on Friday due to moderate flooding but come
Saturday, the skies had cleared and the crowds were trickling in.

Adding a physical element to the green festival was the annual Hemp

The first event was the Bong throw and yell, where contestants pegged
a half-filled bong up a hill while yelling something slightly absurd.

It was Luke Campbell's second year at the festival, having road-
tripped from Sydney for the event, and he won with an impressive 23m

"I watched Fat Pizza about a decade ago, and it ( MardiGrass) was on
then and I've been wanting to go ever since," Mr Campbell said.

"It was good fun to come last year for the first time," he

Other events included the Growers Ironperson, where a contestant had
to lug a sack of fertiliser and buckets of water around an obstacle

There was also the joint-rolling contest, where awards were handed out
for speed, artistic flair, ability to roll a joint blindfolded and the
wildcard "adverse conditions roll", which is dependent on weather and
the judge's creativity on the day.

Decked out in a green dress, wings and glitter, Ganja Fairy Zee
Marincowids said getting into the theme was a great way to bring a bit
of cheer to rallies.

"When you look like this a lot of people ask you questions and that's
the best time to inform people of all the benefits," Ms Marincowids

She said in mythology, Ganja Fairies were known to sprinkle their
fairy dust over crops to produce a good harvest.

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Medical use major draw card as MardiGrass proves a

MEDICAL cannabis was "unquestionably" the big issue at this year's
MardiGrass festival.

Festival organiser Michael Balderstone said the issue helped attract
large numbers to the event despite the terrible weather.

"Our online ticket sales were up a lot, about a third up," he

"Quite a few people didn't come ( on Friday) because the roads got
blocked. But it was lovely to wake up to the sun on Saturday and all
the roads opened and people started turning up."

Mr Balderstone said the focus of this year's festival was largely on
medical cannabis with an impressive line-up of international speakers.

"I think that's why we've got a lot more people coming," he

"The word has got out there and there's a new acceptance that this
plant really is medicinal and the hippies weren't just carrying on all
those years.

"I also think it's made a change in attitude to Nimbin. We were the
dirty druggie town and suddenly we've got a medical edge."

Speakers at this year's Hemposium included American doctor David
Bearman, an acknowledged leader in cannabinoid medicine.

Canadian speakers Ajia Mae Moon and Rebecca Ambrose spoke about the
commercial applications of the hemp plant while American visitor Abe
Acton focussed on medical applications.

Australian Senator Richard Di Natale and fellow politician Fiona
Patten also spoke.
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