Rainbow Dreaming  

Generation Y

Nimbin’s Hemp Bar, Mardi Grass eve, 5th May, 2006
Image: © Hisashi Isogai

Gen Y to the Rescue

Judging by this year’s Mardi Grass, there has been a significant generation change in the cannabis law reform movement.

There was a defining moment, just before the parade began on Sunday afternoon, where Cullen Street was lined six-deep with Generation Y – well-heeled, well-informed and well-behaved – waiting with an expectant hush that was almost reverential. The mood was palpable.

They weren’t there to party; they displayed none of the clothing or accoutrements of the stereotypical drug user. They were there simply with a quiet determination to bring about a change in the legal status of cannabis.

And determined they certainly were. Having heard the police warnings in the media; having been breath-tested, drug-swabbed and subjected to car searches on the way here; then having their bags and purses searched at random, and being under constant surveillance on the street and in their campsites - still they came, and stayed, in their thousands.

If seasoned observers found the Parade rather same-y and old hat, with no floats and little creativity, it didn’t worry Generation Y. They followed the police horses down to Peace Park for the speeches, acknowledging each pro-cannabis speaker with thunderous applause.

The effects of this new demographic will be far-reaching. Encouraged by international progress towards legalising medical cannabis, and frustrated by the mish-mash of Australian state laws, these young people have the determination, energy and longevity to continue the struggle for rational and compassionate drug law reform.

After all, they work, they smoke and they vote.

Bob Dooley, Nimbin Good Times, May 2009

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