Australia’s Hemp Party aims high in poll campaign

Australia’s Hemp Party formally launched its election campaign yesterday with a call for cannabis to be legalised for personal and medical use, just as it is now for industrial purposes.

Members of Hemp – Help End Marijuana Prohibition – inflated a 10m plastic replica of a joint outside the state police commissioner’s office in Sydney and said Australia’s jails were overflowing with people criminalised for no good reason.

“America has given us huge encouragement,” said Hemp president Michael Balderstone.

“Half of America now has access to medical cannabis and now they’ve started to get new regulations for recreational cannabis. So, you know, the wall is down there and no big deal, the place hasn’t gone crazy.”

Amid amused-looking office workers enjoying the lunch-time sunshine in a park in the city centre, cancer patient Jenn Lea handed out Hemp Party leaflets calling for parliament to end what she called discrimination against cannabis.

The mother of three, who has chronic regional pain syndrome and breast cancer, said she would not be alive if not for hemp oil and she wanted to be able to buy it without breaking the law.

Industrial hemp can be grown legally under licence in Australia but the Hemp Party wants to extend that to consumers by regulating the sale of cannabis to remove the criminality of the black market.