The HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Party calls on Australians to help end marijuana prohibition as the party demands the right to personal, medical and industrial use of the drug.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (SEPTEMBER 2, 2013) (REUTERS) - Australia's HEMP (Help End Marijuana Prohibition) Party formally launched its election campaign on Monday (September 2), calling for the re-legalisation of cannabis for personal, medical and industrial purposes.
Outside the New South Wales Police Commissioner's office, the party saidAustralia's jails are overflowing with people criminalised for no good reason.
HEMP president, Michael Balderstone said moves to legalise cannabis in the U.S. have inspired the party.
"America has given us huge encouragement. Half of America now has access to medical cannabis and now they've started to get new regulations for recreational cannabis so, you now, the wall is down there and no big deal, the place hasn't gone crazy. In fact there's a few reports coming out now, alcohol use and car accidents are way down in the states that have got medical cannabis available so we're going to see really positive results really soon," he said.
Amid a small scattering of amused looking office workers enjoying the lunchtime sunshine in the Sydney city centre park, cancer sufferer Jenn Lea, handed out Hemp Party leaflets calling for parliament to end the discrimination against cannabis.
The mother of three has chronic regional pain syndrome and stage 1 and 2 breast cancer and said she would not be alive were it not for hemp oil and she wants to be able to buy it without breaking the law.
"Disgusted at my country but I'm proud that I've finally taken some initiative and I'm fighting for my rights to medicate. When you think about that, you know, just stop and think, I am fighting for my rights in this country to medicate. I want my life. I want to live. I don't want to be put off in some respite centre to die. I'm 35. I have children. I want to be here," Lea said.
The party says although industrial hemp can be legally grown under license inAustralia, the country remains the only nation that prohibits the consumption of hemp seed for humans.
"I understand that we are not going to get elected this time round. My hope is that we shake the foundations of those that are in power for them to realise they are going to have to do it. It's an inevitable thing anyway. I know deep in my soul this is inevitable. This plant will be legalised. It's just a matter of when," Futter said.
The party says regulation of the sale of cannabis will separate it from the criminality of the black-market. They want to establish a commercial hemp industry producing fuel, oil and other environmentally sound products.
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