Marijuana legalisation ‘elephant in the room’ at G20


Legal Weed
President of HEMP Embassy Michael Balderstone in Musgrave Park. Photo: Janelsa Ouma

The G20 Leaders’ Summit is the right time to address “the elephant in the room” marijuana legalisation issue, HEMP Embassy president Michael Balderstone says.

The Hemp Embassy protested in Musgrave Park yesterday for the legalisation of marijuana continuing the long running debate surrounding the drug.

Organisers of the protest hope for media attention during the G20 Leaders’ Summit to put the legalisation debate back on the political agenda.

The group made national headlines earlier this week after G20 security officials squashed their plans to use a 10 metre long inflatable joint as a protest prop deeming it too large.

Speaking prior to the protest, Mr Balderstone says, “Cannabis, [worth] 300 billion dollars is the biggest crop in money terms on the planet.”

“How do we get it on the agenda? There’s big vested interests stopping [the law] from being changed.”

Legal Weed
Simonetta Zigaldo, HEMP Embassy protester. Photo: Janelsa Ouma

Ten members from the HEMP Embassy were present at the protest.

Mr Balderstone says he stood for total removal of prohibition and want the drug made available for recreational use.

“Medical use is a good start, but I think it was a big mistake prohibiting nature’s best pain killer,” Mr Balderstone said.

Mr Balderstone also criticised the Australian Medical Association and the medical industry for their opposition to recreational use.

“I just feel furious at the AMA, the doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for their lack of compassion. I have to say they are sucked into the money game,” Mr Balderstone says.

“You know there’s huge profits to be made from pain relief… I just think the business thing has clouded their view and they’ve lost touch with nature.”

The AMA describes itself as an independent lobby group representing the medical profession.

President of the AMA (NSW) Dr Saxon Smith says the group does not support legalisation of marijuana for recreational use due to the evidence of harm caused by the drug.

Issues like psychiatric illness are long term consequences of smoking marijuana and when it’s mixed with tobacco users run the risk of throat cancer, lung cancer and tongue cancer, Dr Smith says.

“These are very well documented issues that have been discussed both at a national and international level.”

The AMA says they support and encourage further research into the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Dr Smith dismisses Mr Balderstone’s accusations levelled at the AMA.

“Our whole response is actually about keeping the whole community in mind and ensuring the safety around any drug,” Dr Smith said.

The use of marijuana for any purpose remains illegal in every state and territory of Australia.

In September of this year, the New South Wales government announced it would begin clinical trials of marijuana for medical use.


  1. Psychiatric issues? What a load of propaganda. How do these doctors still get the light of day for these phony accusations!?

  2. Their argument is irrational for not legalizing recreational use. Many legal things cause health problems. Like tobacco, alcohol and side effects of pharmaceuticals … Not to mention chemotherapy… By their logic they may as well make everything bad for our bodies illegal… Since they care so much about our health and well being ( not ) so yeap ppl smoke anyway and who knows how much tax payers money is wasted policing it. Making out people are criminals over smoking some ganja is absurd. Funniest thing is people who want to smoke just do it anyway, be smarter to stop wasting tax payers money policing it, and labelling every day people as criminals.dont you think ?

  3. There is not one study showing long term, heavy cannabis only smokers have an increased risk of throat or lung cancer. It’s smoke may contain twice the amount of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke which has led many experts to infer an increased risk as we know the effects of tobacco smoke. But in the largest study done of actual long term heavy smokers that spanned over two decades they actually showed less risk of getting head, neck, lung cancer and COPD than someone who smokes nothing at all. There is no argument here they have no reliable evidence. Just as the argument of risk of mental illness. Mental illness is completely dependent on genetics and personal circumstances. There is no evidence of causation that has not been debunked. These are all weak excuses. Big pharma wants people on their drugs and they have the money to influence politicians, the AMA, the TGA and anybody who has any position that can affect their hip pocket.

  4. So, I gather Dr Smith has had a discussion “at a national & international level” on the effects of legalised alcohol as a yard stick….guess those US states that have decriminalised, if not legalised it weren’t part of the discussion?

  5. Lol, psychiatric issues. I still have long term side effects from the Ritalin I was forced to take to stay in school, funded and approved by those profiteering nutjobs.

    “when it’s mixed with tobacco users run the risk of throat cancer, lung cancer and tongue cancer”
    Yeah and when I mix water with jumping off a building I run the risk of broken legs and death, water prohibition!

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