It’s marijuana patrol time again in the neighbourhood. The cops are out in their helicopters scouring the dense green vegetation for plantations of pot. It’s hard to concentrate on working with a chopper k-thumping overhead – quite literally. They fly so low you expect them to land any minute on the roof like Santa.
This is hippy country, famous for its weed which grows like, well, a weed. Stick anything in the ground here and it will sprout by lunchtime and be an old growth forest by next week. In the nearby town of Nimbin there is a Hemp Embassy and a world famous MardiGrass held every May.
Coinciding with the start of harvesting season the weekend-long blowout – and its more serious side – a drug law reform party – sees thousands of stoned locals and visitors from all over the world transform the sleepy little town into one big happy billowing bongathon.
Led by a road-train of day-glo psychedelic Kombi vans a giant burning spliff is carried down the main street accompanied by a flotilla of floats, the Rolla Dooby Girls and the green Ganja Faeries who dance along spinning their magic.
The Ganja Faeries work hard for months leading up the festival rehearsing and sewing their flamboyant costumes. There is no age limit on fairyhood. It is a state of mind not body. The only requirements are a love of dancing, green tutus and of course a fondness for Mother Nature’s herb.
The weekend festivities include the Hemp Olympics featuring events such as Joint Rolling, Bong Throwing and the Tug o’Peace with a hemp rope, natch. The Bong Throw has male and female categories and the Joint Rolling is broken down into subdivisions.
The previous year Bob the Joint Builder won the Speed Roll at a stunning 29 seconds although Wendy, a nimble local, wasn’t far behind – chased by Andreas from Germany. Wendy had her revenge in the Blindfold where she beat out Bob the Joint Builder and everyone else.
Entrants from Slovakia to Iran and France duked it out in the Adverse Conditions event and the Artistic Roll which was won by something called “the helicopter.”
The grand finale is of course the presentation of the Grower’s Cup for best produce grown that year – although how the judges can possibly tell the difference by this stage is one of life’s mysteries.
Only the faeries know.