Michael Balderstone writes
HEMP Party AGM 2021 – President’s Report
There may not have been an election but it has been a big year for the Cannabis law reform movement in Australia.
First up in the year was the Eden-Monaro by-election. It was mid winter and the electorate surrounded Canberra where people are allowed to grow 2 plants for themselves. Pathetically stingy but at least something.
Caroline and I drove down and together with Graeme Dunstan in the Peacebus and Don Fuggle in his own bus we managed to get a bit of attention on the issue.
Some media felt we were the difference helping Labor to narrowly retain the seat with our 2.3% of the vote.
Albo even mentioned us in his victory speech but I personally have found the Labor Party gutless on the issue of drug law reform, a big disappointment. The opposition just wears a different coloured tie.
Next was the QLD state election and absolute congratulations to the crew that got Legalise Cannabis QLD registered and then ran 23 candidates across the state collecting plenty of votes.
It was a terrific result and they were so enthused they wanted to create a Federal party. We all agreed it was silly to have 2 parties so here we are today with the proposal to change our name from the Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party to Legalise Cannabis Australia. More on that later.
The LC team were also inspired to register in every state across Australia and the next state election was in W.A.. It’s absolute legend now how they got registered in record time, ran candidates and got 2 members elected.
Sophia Moermond and Dr Brian Walker, an almost unbelievable result and a fantastic reward for the hard work put in by a lot of people. In particular I have to mention Gail Hester and Deb Lynch, Craig Ellis and Leo Treasure.
Sophia and Dr Brian are in there with one job for the next 4 years and that is to keep raising the issue of Cannabis law reform. And we couldn’t have asked for 2 better people to represent us.
The mission to register Legalise Cannabis Parties in every Australian state and territory continues and SA, NSW, and the ACT all are getting close to the numbers needed.
Please, everyone, spread the word on going to legalisecannabis.org.au and registering in your state. New members can join both State and Federal parties on one website.
Meanwhile the HEMP Party’s membership numbers steadily grow and we now have about 4,400 members with email addresses and another couple of thousand without.
So the new AEC rules changing the numbers needed to register a party from 500 to 1,500 should be ok. Cannot thank James Kingsbury enough for looking after the membership, website and pretty much everything else keeping us legit. We wouldn’t be the same today if it wasn’t for him, it’s as simple as that.
For me it’s the same old fury spiced now with in-credulousness that they hunted our favourite plant like it was a terrorist, refusing to acknowledge it was a valid medicine until the evidence was overwhelming.
But now, they control the market and sell it to us via a doctor, while still hunting us the same and keeping up the dangerous drug propaganda
The vested interests are just too powerful it seems, for now. Led by Big Pharma with the police really working for them and endless other beneficiaries like the privatised jail industry.
Changing the Cannabis laws is hard to get on the agenda with politicians who love telling us now it’s legal, just go ask your doctor.
Except for one big thing. Even with the doctors weed you are still not allowed to drive. And this overwhelmingly got a lot of people to vote one HEMP in Eden-Monaro I am sure.
Being allowed to drive and being allowed to grow our own weed remain the two prime issues for me and the public is ready for change on the drug war. They are slowly but surely waking up to how we have been lied to.
Meanwhile the police have a huge say in preventing any law change, like they are now the drug experts rather than they are the experts at getting rid of drugs.
In America and Canada Cannabis has been deemed an essential service in the pandemic. CBD is available at the corner store in England. But here down under we are led by a Hillsong Church member who possibly still believes weed is of the devil!
The good news is change is upon us. Coming from every corner and every direction and no longer can they hide behind the lies and corruption like they used to.
In the big melt down ahead of us a new consciousness is going to be needed and that will end the war on trying to control what drugs we can use and not use. Our health needs to be in the not for profit sector.
Nature fights back we could call this big change, and Cannabis, known as Gods Gift in the East for Millennia, is going to be a big part of it, like it or not Scomo.
We are gearing up for the next election likely in the next six months.
Don Fuggle who lives in the PM’s electorate has put his hand up to run against Scomo. We are looking for other candidates and plan on having Senate candidates in each state or territory and also some lower house close or important seats.
Finally the name change.
I support it for a few reasons. A rebirth of sorts. A uniting of the movement and getting beyond Nimbin more. (Really happy for someone to take my chair but no new nominations at all this year.)
Hemp is now legal for farmers and the two words legalise Cannabis leave no doubt on what we are about.
The word Marijuana was created by prohibitionists in the 1930’s as a sneaky move so hemp farmers wouldn’t know their crop was being outlawed.
And I love the new energy and enthusiasm the Legalise Cannabis crew has brought into the movement and finally in our own online surveys of members a big majority of you want to change our name. Me too.
Lastly but importantly I want to thank everyone here in the HEMP Embassy for their tireless support and enthusiasm. There’s a great dedicated crew here. We’re open again today for the first time after a month in lock-down.
And a huge thank you to all HEMP Party members for sticking with it, some of you have been members for twenty years. Lets see if we can make a difference at the election, coming up very soon.
PS. We have applied to change the Party name and it will become official in due course.