Hemp Bar, Mardi Grass eve, 5th May, 2006
Image: © Hisashi Isogai
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
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.
Dooley, Nimbin Good Times, May 2009