THERE was no shortage of brave (or foolish) competitors in the Nimbin MardiGrass "Hemp Olympix" on Saturday.

Hilariously hosted by two homegrown hippy comedians S Sorrensen and Alan Glover, it kicked off with the infamous tug'o'war spectacle between local police and the Polite force, with the Polite force scoring an upset win.

Competitors then vied to outdo each other in bong throwing and the gruelling "growers' ironperson" which saw many a competitor collapse in a heap at the finish line.

With visitors hailing from as far away as Germany, the US, and France, as well as Sydney and Brisbane, and Melbourne the Mardi Grass has after almost 25 years of operation cultivated a worldwide following.

Cullen St was a throng, with the now vacant site of the old Aquarius Museum and Rainbow Café being used for a live music stage and 'stoner' chess competition and chai tent.

The weekend peaked with the traditional parade on Sunday.

Visitors might be forgiven for thinking it was all fun and games, but organisers were quick to emphasise the serious side of MardiGrass as a law reform rally.

"We're not a festival, it's a pro-cannabis rally," long-time organising committee member Lil said.

Her fellow veteran organiser Cat said public interest in ending prohibition was at an all-time high thanks to changes medicinal cannabis laws.

"It's the first time we've really had anything to celebrate," she said.

"They're just starting to say we're going to trial medical cannabis and decriminalise it a little bit, and so that's really important."

"We're getting somewhere, this is our 24th year… let's hope we (now) have a quantum leap… or it's a domino effect."

She said the government now needed to allow the grass roots industry to flourish, instead of outsourcing legalisation to pharmaceutical companies.

One such grass roots identity is medicinal cannabis supplier Tony Bower, who has been coming to the MardiGrass for 20 years and been supplying his tinctures since the early 2000s.

Mr Bower has achieved national media coverage for facing arrest at the same time as his cannabis tinctures have successfully halted life-threatening severe epilepsy in children.

He said he had seen "hundreds" of children benefit from his cannabis tinctures.

He said the NSW Government seemed to be moving towards "paying for drug companies to steal our information" in order to make an industrial version of what he was already offering.

But he also said his financial backers were in the process of negotiating with the government and he was optimistic about the future.

"What I want to see is for them to do their job and sign the paperwork and start helping kids," he said.


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