The famous Big Joint is carried during the Rally for Cannabis Law Reform and Float Parade.
The famous Big Joint is carried during the Rally for Cannabis Law Reform and Float Parade. Jerad Williams

Cops disjoint HEMP party's plan

DESPITE being banned by Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Big Joint will roll into Canberra to greet US President Barack Obama when he visits Australia next week.

The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party's plan to offer President Obama the 10-metre joint has become disjointed, with the AFP forcing the group to gather in an Authorised Assembly Area between new and old parliament houses along with other protest groups next Wednesday and Thursday.

But the "10-metre long inflatable structure" was not approved.

Michael Balderstone from the Hemp Embassy at Nimbin still plans to deploy the Big Joint, perhaps even floating it on Lake Burley Griffin.

"The big joint has been around for 20 years, it's a modern political icon as recognisable as Ballina's Big Prawn."

"I'm sure we will get coverage from the international media anyway."

"We really want to get the issue of legalising the use of medical marijuana on the agenda - it's a great treatment for glaucoma and relieving nausea due to chemotherapy," he said.

"A marijuana plant is just like having an aspirin tree growing in your back yard and I think that big pharmaceutical companies put pressure on politicians to keep marijuana illegal so people have to buy their pain relief over the counter."

President Obama has struggled in recent times to distance himself from statements he made in 2004 about his use of marijuana and advocating the legalisation of medical marijuana.

Mr Balderstone believes that both Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama would reap electoral rewards if they took a fresh look at the whole issue of cannabis use.

"Up to 10% of Australians use marijuana regularly already, and these are everyday people who work and vote and smoke but don't want to be treated like criminals."

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