MardiGrass is a cannabis law reform rally and festival held annually in the town of Nimbin, in north east New South Wales, Australia.

In March 1993, after a decade of raids and arrests, and a particularly intensive recent period of random street searches, arrests and rough treatment, a spontaneous demonstration erupted, and marched to the police station, pelting it with eggs and toilet paper. Negative newspaper reports followed. Nimbin Hemp Embassy (formerly "Nimbin Hemp") members decided to hold a peaceful protest in a non-confrontational atmosphere, that ordinary people could comfortably attend, on 1 May 1993. That was the first MardiGrass. (The spelling is that officially used by the MardiGrass Organising Body) The MardiGrass Organising Body (MOB) was formed to manage the event and consists entirely of volunteers. The intention is to hold a MardiGrass every year until prohibition ends.

In March 1993 the Nimbin police station had already been laid siege. Undercover police officers had been discovered buying cannabis in the area. This enraged a small portion of the townsfolk to such an extent that they chased the police officers back to the police station and pelted them with eggs. Concerned about bad publicity some of the townsfolk decided to come up with a more peaceful form of protest that ordinary people could comfortably join. Bob Hopkins (a.k.a. The Plantem) was the man who came up with the idea of MardiGrass.

On 1 May 1993 people gathered by the local creek for the rally. They also had a good time with their colourful bright clothing coloured with dye of food colouring. Bob, dressed as a nun led the people while blowing on a tuba. There was only a small group at the start (along with a giant joint made of a large sheet and other assorted household goods).

The big joint acted as a giant magnet for the townsfolk. By the time they reached the police station they were, by most accounts, over a thousand strong.

Shortly after, backup arrived, but not before the media who began to broadcast images of the event to the country and world. The cops found themselves in the unenviable situation of not being able to act against the townsfolk. They were unable to use aggressive force against them on camera, and as such watched on as the protesters marched forward.

This page was last edited on 14 May 2018, at 13:05.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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