Oh, I like this party already.  It’s not so much that I care one way or another about Marijuana – I do think it’s a bit silly to criminalise it, but I’ve never been especially interested in it myself – but you have to love a party that was clearly founded by people who were going, hey, we want to legalise marijuana, so what should we call our political party? I know, let’s call it HEMP!  Now, what can we make that actually stand for…

Acronyms.  Just say no.

The other thing that I love about this party is that it is a ‘genuine grassroots party’.  Grass.  Get it?

Yeah, I’m easily amused. And this, incidentally, is exactly why I don’t have any interest in drugs – I’m silly enough without any chemical aids.

On with the show.  What does HEMP’s senate ticket have to tell us? Or should I say, what do their three different tickets have to tell us…

First up, they like the Drug Law Reform Party, and the Stop Coal Seam Gas Party.  They then mosey along happily, Building Australia, and Motoring Enthusiastically, among other things, before – oh dear – going all Climate Change Sceptics.  Guys, isn’t global warming going to hurt the crop?  The first party of note on their list is the Australian Democrats, but when they finally get around to the slightly more serious parties, their choice is Labor then Greens on two tickets and Greens then Labor on the third.  The Greens are probably quite happy about that, actually – given that they’ve been trying to escape the reputation of being all about legalising drugs, it’s always nice when the drug legalising party preferences someone else! At this point we can probably assume that the vote is exhausted, but in a move of unparalleled perverseness, their next choice is Stop The Greens.  Why on earth would you put that directly after the Greens on your ticket (or a mere seven places after it, on the Green-preferencing ticket)?  What were they smoking? Oh, wait…

Sorry.  This is just too easy, really, but I should try for a higher tone.

The foot of their ticket is occupied by the Australian Christian Party, with the Liberals and Nationals just above.  Apparently, they actually prefer the rest of the Christian Bloc to the Liberals – the Australian Christian Party must have worked hard to get such special treatment.

Let’s move on to their policies.  Can you guess what their policies are?  I bet you can!

Since this really is a single-issue party (and thus will take us very little time to analyse), let’s pause to get a taste of their writing style:

Cannabis Oppression

If cannabis is globally accepted as safer than alcohol and tobacco, why is it that cannabis users are criminals and alcohol and tobacco users are not? Is it because the policy is based in prejudice?

An objective look across society reveals hypocrisy in almost every direction. 

“Cannabis causes psychosis” is one of the most popular catch phrases of the prohibitionists. Well so what? I don’t agree with the statement but that doesn’t matter. The implication that cannabis should be prohibited because of the danger of psychosis just doesn’t make sense. As a society we feed our kids Ritalin in greater numbers every year. One side effect of Ritalin is psychosis, yet Ritalin prescription rates have skyrocketed. Surely the doctors making the prescriptions are aware of the side effects. Clearly psychosis is not something we as a society are too worried about.

It’s tempting to make a cheap joke about this being clearly evident from the Senate ticket, but most of the people I know who have psychoses are decidedly saner than several parties on the ballot, so I’ll just move on.

HEMP would like to legalise Marijuana for personal, medical and industrial use.  They argue that this would have the following effects:

  1. To alleviate the suffering of the chronically or terminally ill.
  2. To enhance the environment by replacing environmentally unsound products.
  3. To reduce avenues of fast cash for terrorists, insurgents, arms traders, and security organisations.
  4. To reduce the flow of Cannabis money to criminal gangs.
  5. To limit corrupting temptations available to Police, Customs Officials, and Prison Guards
  6. Decriminalisation of hemp would drastically reduce Police workload, and free officers to tackle genuine crimes where it is not as easy to gain high arrest rates.
  7. To remove an avenue for scaremongering by opportunistic politicians and journalists.
  8. To hopefully lower the price of hemp or Cannabis.
  9. To put an end to using dogs as a tool of discrimination against a harmless sector of the community.
  10. To put an end to the marginalisation of Cannabis users, indeed to try to put such petty behaviours to rest in many areas of politics.
  11. The HEMP Party would undertake to try to ‘keep the bastards honest’.
  12. To allow people to enjoy a spiritual, relaxing experience – legally

I do love the bit about lowering the price of hemp or Cannabis, and keeping the bastards honest is a nice touch, too.

Look, I’m having a great time gently mocking this party for its single-minded focus, but in fact I do think they have a point.  While it’s not my particular cup of tea, I don’t really see any good reason why one would make tobacco and alcohol legal but criminalise marijuana.  I don’t think that marijuana is especially good for you – certainly, smoking it increases your risk of lung cancer, but apparently so does inhaling lots of incense, and nobody is suggesting we criminalise high church Anglicans.  So yes, I do think decriminalisation of marijuana would decrease crime somewhat, and would make marijuana more accessible for those who need it medically as well as those who like it recreationally.  And that’s OK by me.

There is plenty more on this website, but mostly it’s about the various benefits of marijuana and the case for its decriminalisation, rather than being about politics.

My only real reservation about this party is that it really does only have one issue.  If they got elected and achieved it, what would they do with the rest of the parliamentary session?  After all, there will be other legislation.  It would be nice to have at least some indication about how they might vote on other issues…