Under allegations of a drug being unlawfully sold from the premises, the Nimbin Hemp Bar closed its doors recently, ending an eight year campaign on cannabis law reform. Unlike previous raids and protest in the Northern New South Wales town, the closure was unattended by police as approximately 100 people farewelled the Hemp Bar.
Nimbin Hemp Embassy spokesman and Museum curator Michael Balderstone said, “Both landlords of the hemp bar and the museum have got a letter from the NSW Crown solicitor’s office saying they’ve got to kick out their tenants,” he said.
The letter addressed to the owners of the Hemp Bar building states, “The application is based on detective Sergeants Smith’s reasonable grounds to suspect that a drug is unlawfully sold or supplied on or from the premises, or has been so sold, or supplied and is likely to be so sold again on or from the premises.”
A six year resident of Nimbin, Lurinda Simpson says, “A lot of people here in Nimbin actually appreciate the lifestyle we have living here. They actually enjoy the fact we can live our lives as we like. We like doing what we do and we’re not hurting anyone, if anything we’re letting people know what else is out there and available to them.”
According to the Hemp Bar website, “The Hemp Bar is a place where you can sit in a relaxed atmosphere sip coffee and have a smoke while you browse the latest information about medicinal cannabis, industrial hemp and the state of global cannabis law reform.”
However, Vivian of Nimbin believes, “The marijuana has sucked all the energy out of the place. There are a lot of people who like to do positive things around the place but it all gets lost in a haze of dope smoke. I don’t think blackening your lungs with smoke is culture… I think if you could make Cullen Street (Nimbin’s main street) free of dope a lot of good things would start happening here,” Vivian explained.
A resident of the Hemp Bar, David Cannabis Carrol says, “We’ve been running the Hemp Bar for over eight years and it’s a little sad, it’s terrible but life goes on. We could probably go and do high court stuff and all that rubbish but in then end I’m not sure if it would be worth it… we haven’t got that sort of money anyway.”
Dave remains hopeful that the Hemp Bar is not completely finished, “Maybe one day the hemp bar will rise from the ashes and spring up somewhere else… I don’t know. But for me, I’m going to take a break for a while…it’s been eight long years.”
While the the residents of the Hemp Bar left the premises without any fuss, the Nimbin Museum remains open but undecided about the future.
After meetings with local Police and the buildings landlord, Museum curator Michael Balderstone said, “It’s looking like a new tenant will be required for the Museum. Whoever that is, they will have to install surveillance cameras in and around the entire building for police to monitor.”
– Article from ABC News, September 2nd, 2008