MardiGrass 2011 on track

The MardiGrass Organising Body has met with Lismore Council and everything is on track officially for the 2011 annual weekend of cannabis law reform activities.

The MOB meets every friday from 5pm at the Embassy (enter thru the HEMP Bar) and everyone is welcome.

We are always keen for new ideas and input and especially local volunteers. We plan on being better organised with volunteers this year and we may even have ‘Team Leaders’, or perhaps, ‘Top Buds’.

Local knowledge is critical to guide the hordes of often non English speaking backpackers who want to help out and locals wanting to be part of this please register early at the Embassy. Same with Jungle Patrollers.

Recycling at least the cans must happen this year and we are looking for a club or non profit local group who will help take this on and get the profits.

We also want to hear from creative souls who want to do street theatre over the weekend. And remember the Happy High Herbs Float Awards are on again.

A MardiGrass Comedy Cabaret on Saturday night is planned for the Town Hall. We are hopeful Bob Dylan will judge the Buskers Comp but he is not confirmed.

The Bluesfest and Easter is the weekend before Mardigrass this year so we expect quite a few people to attend both.

Pot Art entries can be brought into the HEMP Bar (if they fit!) and will be displayed in cafes around the village.

The Big Question? We inspected Peace Park, the Home of the Hemp Olympix, and expect no dramas fitting in with the new skatepark which should be well and truly finished by then.

It looks like a MardiGrass Skatecomp will in fact become a new Hemp Olympix Gold Medal event though we havn’t quite worked out the details! Is there a Nimbin Skaters Club?

Please come to a MOB meeting!

The Peace Park Main Stage will be repositioned closer to Sibley Street we expect and already in the music line up is OKA, Anarchist Duck, Nathan Kaye, elseWhere, 50 bags, Irie Knights, Pagan Love Cult, Zennith and Kaptan Reefer.

MardiGrass 2011 has been inspired by Proposition 19 in California. Even though the vote was lost, cannabis law reform got a lot of attention and we will be doing our best this year to bring Australia up to date with what’s happening in North America.

Dr Bob Melamede will be at MardiGrass again with new evidence on cannabis eradicating cancer and another director from Cannabis Science Inc (CBIS) Richard Cowan.

Activists Lisa “Mamakind” Kirkman from Skunk Magazine and Englishman Frank Kirk are booked in as is Sandra Kanck, former leader of the Democrats in SA Parliament. Regular supporters Dr’s Alex Wodak, Paul Wilson and Andrew Katelaris are all coming and we hope to have some local industrial hemp crops to play with and hear about now NSW farmers can plant hemp seed.

We are particularly thrilled that Alison Myrden is coming to MardiGrass 2011 as a representative of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – LEAP. Hers is a great story. She began her career as a Corrections Officer in 1988 after working with the Children’s Aid Society, then worked at troubled youth facilities around Southern Ontario and eventually with Young Offender cases. While working in the Youth Court Justice system Alison noticed that many young offenders were in trouble with the law for simple experimentation with illicit drugs. This seemed very wrong to her. She felt it would be better to educate these young people about drugs instead of punishing them. It seemed to her that our youth were being criminalized for no good reason. Around the same time, she was diagnosed with chronic progressive Multiple Sclerosis.

She began battling Tic Doloureux, an excruciating facial pain sometimes associated with MS. Soon after retiring in 1992, she was introduced to medicinal Cannabis. In 1995, Alison was prescribed Cannabis for pain relief after legal, doctor-supervised Cocaine and Heroin therapy was found insufficient to help. She found immediate relief with Cannabis when there was no such luck with the other, more addictive medications.

Within the year Alison had gained enough health to be back at work, sitting in courtrooms for three to five days a week while sporadically supporting herself on a walker or cane. Her health was starting to quickly change and she knew Cannabis was helping to improve her situation. Soon, poor health was no longer her main concern. Back sitting in court, she again noticed that many poor, under-educated and vulnerable youth were being jailed for experimentation with drugs such as Cannabis. The court’s message was at odds with her own experience as she knew that Cannabis was not dangerous.

In March of 2000 Alison received one of the first Ministerial Exemptions under Section 56 of the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to be able to smoke, possess and grow Marijuana in Canada, legally for medicine. She has since maintained international exposure in the medical Cannabis movement through consistent media appearances in Canada and other countries. Alison and her partner Gary Lynch maintain a website detailing her advocacy of Medical Cannabis at It is one of the most well publicized medicinal Cannabis websites in the world ­ with over 30 million visits and counting.


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