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Party Crasher: HEMP Party

Making a comeback for the 2013 election, The HEMP Party has one issue on their agenda- legalising marijuana.

A record number of parties have registered ahead of this year’s election. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging into the newest entrants to political thunderdome. Next up is the HEMP Party.

Originating 20 years ago by a man who ran for election under the name of Nigel Freemarijuana, the HEMP Party was created by those were fed up with the prejudice against cannabis users.

The Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party is a single-issue party with three goals: decriminalising recreational cannabis, legalising it for medicinal purposes and promoting its industrial applications.

Party President Michael Balderstone has a hard time understanding why a “god given, beautiful herb” is unlawful.

“As long as we have had history cannabis has been there. Even the first writing was on cannabis paper, it is part of the planet.”

Strictly an independent party with no political allegiances, Balderstone explains how the Greens lack of policy contributed to the creation of the party.

“We might never of been formed except a lot of us were disappointed in the greens for not making [the decriminalisation of marijuana] more of a priority.”

Aiming to “get the truth out there” about the benefits of marijuana, The HEMP party are encouraging other political parties to get a cannabis policy together.

“Really at the moment we are pushing the Greens and Labor to talk to about drug use. It needs to be on the political agenda, it’s like an elephant in the room for them,” says Balderstone.




– Re-legalise and regulate Marijuana for personal, medical and industrial use.

-Allow home growing and regulated sales of Cannabis through registered outlets.

This policy aims to separate Cannabis from the criminality of the black-market and end corruption.

-Allow marijuana for medical use

-Establish a commercial hemp industry that will produce products such as fuel, fibre, paper and food.

-To release those imprisoned solely for Cannabis and remove all records of previous Cannabis convictions.


Facing an unfortunate comedown over the years due to legislation changes, The Hemp Party have finally hit their high this year, rolling 4000 members.

“We ran in the 2004 federal election, but then John Howard changed the rules. If you didn’t have a member of parliament, those parties were deregistered and were forced to register again with 500 members.

This was quite difficult and we failed a couple of times due to member paranoia.”

This “paranoia” present in members encouraged The HEMP party to push the AEC to go online and digitalise the membership process.

“It was a HEMP Party member that went to the AEC a year ago and said ‘look our members are paranoid, we get mail from the AEC and people deny being a member and change their address, so why can’t they join online?”

“Low and behold a month later the AEC said everyone can join online now and since that we have had thousands of new members and donations.”

With their slogan reading “The Law Is The Crime”, Balderstone says Australia is behind the eight ball in comparison to the rest of the world.

“Overseas countries are all starting to decriminalise cannabis. Half of America now has legal medical cannabis.

The sooner we start trying to rid the criminal view the better it will be on a million fronts. The case in Australia is urgent, lets get it there.”

The HEMP Party has candidates in every state running for election. Visit their Facebook or website for more information.

Bridget Rollason is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student and upstart’s Fashion and Lifestyle editor. You can follow her on Twitter: @Didgeriedoo.

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