Lismore Rally for Cannabis Law Reform

MIDDAY Tuesday 1st May at Lismore Court House. Then we march to the Police Station and the Local Government Representatives (Janelle Saffin and Thomas George) to deliver letters asking for a PUBLIC FORUM to discuss the Australia21 Groups findings. 

Drug War? What Drug War?

We have reached a tipping point. The majority of Australians now agree that the cannabis laws in Australia are counterproductive and that the war on drugs has been a failure. Now we have to convince our elected representatives of this fact. And this is a fact. No rational human can look at the history of our war on drugs and deem it as being anything other than a colossal mistake.

For seventy-five years America has engaged this senseless war and for fifty years the rest of the world has joined them: and to what end and for what purpose? Who has this war assisted? What is this a ‘war’ against?

The phrase ‘Drug War’ is utterly misleading. The ‘Drug War’ has never been a war against all drugs. Or against drug use by all people. The ‘Drug War’ is, in reality, a war against certain drugs used recreationally. Drugs that are not corporately controlled. The drugs that are actually killing people in our society are perfectly legal. If anyone ever attempts to tell you that the death toll from illicit drug use in Australia is a ‘problem’; then ask them why we seem to be so complacent about the legal drugs which are killing forty-nine times as many Australians every year?

MardiGrass 2012

MardiGrass May Day Cannabis Law Reform Rally – Midday 1st May 2012.

This May-Day in Lismore ( 1st of May 2012) the HEMP Party of Australia will lead a march of concerned cannabis users and their friends from the Court House in Lismore to the Police Station – and then on to the offices of our public representatives in Lismore, Janelle Saffin and Thomas George.

The recent Australia21 Report has called for a re-examination of our attitudes and laws regarding drug use. This significant report, by a panel of esteemed professionals, was unequivocal in its verdict: in the war on drugs – everyone loses! It calls for widespread consultation towards fashioning a rational response to drug taking in our community. However our politicians are refusing to listen to the voice of the majority of Australians. This protest march has been fashioned to highlight this refusal by our politicians to engage in the drug law reform debate.

In a recent poll more than 70% of Australians agreed that our drug laws must change – yet our politicians remain silent. We must wake them up!

Some of the most respected voices in this debate have proposed that we must reformulate our drug policies, or young and vulnerable Australians will continue to suffer and die -yet our Prime Minister simply refuses to even talk about the issue? This is unacceptable.

This protest will be asking our representatives to engage with the recommendations of the Australia21 Report. The local Lismore politicians will be asked to participate in a night of dialogue with their constituents’ in the Lismore Town Hall at the earliest opportunity. They represent a lot of illicit drug users between them and both of their families have been personally touched by the drug war and should understand the importance of changing from a war on drugs to a plan on drugs.

It’s time our elected representatives faithfully represented the views of their constituents and stopped pandering to the drug lobby and other vested interests.

Other western world countries have tackled this issue. More than 70% of Americans currently have access to legally available medical cannabis and many countries around the world are abandoning prohibition. It’s time that Australia caught up with the rest of the world.

The HEMP Party President, Michael Balderstone, was enthusiastic about getting these politicians to engage in a public debate. “The Australia21 report really is a game-changer. Politicians simply have to sit up and take notice.”

May 1st will kick off our annual MardiGrass protestival weekend, May 5th and 6th , where we will be hosting a round table discussion ourselves which includes Dr Alex Wodak , one of the directors of the commissioned Report our PM dismissed before lunch on the day it was released.

The 20th MardiGrass cannabis law reform annual gathering the following weekend finally got consent yesterday for its development application. “Its all go from here on in,” said a MardiGrass Organising Body (MOB)spokesperson. “ The Australia21 Report has given a new optimism to the annual protest weekend.”

“ We managed to get our permits after changing the program. The threat of an injunction in the Land and Environment Court followed up with litigation for the costs in making sure nothing went ahead made us rethink and we are now having a wreath laying memorial service for the victims of prohibition instead of a mass surrender!” “It’s no big deal and and we are now looking forward to a big weekend no matter the weather.”

There are 2 new Hemp Olympix Events for this year. The Rubbish Bong Race where contestants have to improvise and make a bong from whatever they can find and prove it works. And the “Inaugural Special Distance and Accuracy Alan Jones About Face Bong Throw.” Nimbin is looking more chaotic than ever with practise sessions littering the street daily now.

The full MardiGrass program and tickets are on www.nimbinmardigrass.com

FURTHER INFO HEMP Embassy 02 66890326

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY:

Quotes from the Australia21 Report

Hon Professor Peter Baume AC – Former Chancellor of the ANU and Minister for Health in the Fraser Government

“Many people who think of themselves as the beneficiaries of prohibition are really net losers. Parents are much more at risk of losing their children under prohibition than they would be if there was some kind of system where we had some measure of control over illicit drugs.”

Hon Professor Geoff Gallop AC – Former Premier Western Australia

“I think the idea that prohibition kills is an important one. So my plea is how can we get governments to buy into this issue? I think they need to see that what they are doing and not doing, is causing a lot of the harms. At some stage they have to be held accountable for allowing this to happen.”

Hon Kate Carnell AO – Former Chief Minister in the ACT

“There seems to be a pretty good consensus among us about medical cannabis. I have heard no one to talk against it. I think I also heard a fair bit of support for medical heroin. So at the very least, the reinstatement of substances in the pharmacopeia that were useful and continue to be useful drugs that were removed for non-medical reasons needs to be rectified.”

Dr Alex Wodak AM – President Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and Former President International Harm Reduction Association

“The best evidence that the management of heroin dependence with controlled and prescribed heroin availability made a difference, is a study published in the Lancet in 2006. This study was based on the city of Zurich. This showed that between 1992 and 2002 the number of new heroin users in Zurich was reduced from 850 in 1990 to 150 in 2002. Corresponding with that was a decrease in drug overdose deaths, a decrease in HIV infections among injecting drug users, a decrease in crime and a decrease in the quantities of heroin seized. Clearly, what was happening was that people were moving from black market heroin to white market methadone and white market heroin. This showed that treatment does work at a population level.”

Nicholas Cowdery AM QC – Director of Public Prosecutions for NSW from 1994 to 2011

“I am strongly in favour of legalising, regulating, controlling and taxing all drugs. A first step towards such a regime could be decriminalisation, similar to the approach adopted 10 years ago in Portugal or an adaptation of that approach. I do not say that such a change could occur quickly, efficiently or even at the same time or in the same way for all drugs. Nor do I advocate that any or all drugs should be generally available to anybody wanting them.”

http://www.australia21.org.au/our_research/illicit_drugs.html

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