The Hemp Embassy at Nimbin was swarmed with police on Thursday, just a day out from its ‘Mardi Grass’ celebration.
About 20 officers and quite a few sniffer dogs descended on the constructing with a search warrant just just before 11am.
Absolutely everyone inside, about 50 people today, had been evacuated, with police looking and dogs sniffing every individual as they left.
Thursday marked a single of the busiest days of the year for the embassy, with their annual ‘Mardi Grass’ festival only a single day away.
According to the Hemp Embassy web page, Mardi Grass is a ‘celebration and rally to protest the drug laws, educate people today on the a variety of makes use of of cannabis (medicinal, industrial, recreational & spiritual) and to celebrate the culture that has grown right here more than the final 40 years’.
Nimbin was when thought of the centre of Australia’s marijuana culture, but an rising police presence has place a strain on the town.
A string of higher-profile arrests in 2015 and 2016 ended a trade that saw Nimbin locals develop and sell kilograms of the intoxicating plant each and every day.
Locals gathered at the embassy on Thursday as word spread about the raid to protest in song.
A single man was observed wearing a hi-vis jumper and carrying a guitar, though other people gathered with a umbrellas decorated with a cannabis leaf image and sang a version of ‘we will rock you’, directed at the officers inside.
Police earlier mentioned they would be out in force more than the course of the festival, which goes from Friday to Sunday, targeting illegal drug activity and anti-social behaviour.
Richmond Police District Commander, Superintendent Toby Lindsay, mentioned officers would be maintaining an eye out for underage drinking and alcohol connected violence, as nicely as illegal drug use and provide.
‘Illicit drugs can have life-threatening effects, specially when a mixture of drugs is taken, or they are combined with alcohol,’ he mentioned.
‘It is not only illegal to possess or take illicit drugs but these caught face really serious consequences.
‘We will take acceptable action against any person who chooses to commit a crime, or behave in an offensive manner.’
A lady identified only as Judy referred to as the operation ‘a big waste of resources’.
‘The millions of dollars that goes into this stupid drug war could go to wellness, education and training… this is so stupid, so counterproductive,’ she mentioned.
‘What’ve we got? We’ve got a police force that does anti-neighborhood policing. These guys have far greater issues to do.’
Nimbin police declined to comment when asked for additional data.