The Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) Party has formally lodged an application with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to change the party’s name to ‘Legalise Cannabis Australia’.

The move was unanimously agreed at an early AGM of around 40 members. 

Surveys leading up to the AGM found that 70% of members supported the change, with the aim of distancing the party from the word ‘marijuana’ and clearing up confusion as hemp farming is now legal in Australia. 

Another goal was to unite Legalise Cannabis parties across Australia as they are now either formed or in the process of forming in every state and territory.

HEMP Party president Michael Balderstone

HEMP Party president Michael Balderstone said: “Personally I wrestled with the name change a bit, but in the end talked myself into it as I like the idea of a rebirth of sorts, while forming state Legalise Cannabis parties at the same time.

“Joining with the Legalise Cannabis crews, from Qld and WA especially, where they are registered, has given us a whole new bigger and broader team. Fresh input and energy.”

With the new name, the party is calling for people to join as members within their local state as all currently registered non-parliamentary parties have until December 2 to reach the increased membership threshold of 1,500 members.

Balderstone added: “You can join both federal and state parties at once now on the website. Hopefully, that will help get the state numbers up as the NSW application needs to be lodged soon.”

While state registration for the party in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales is the main focus as it waits for the AEC to process the name change, the HEMP Party is still preparing for the next federal election, said Balderstone.

“We are keen for the next federal election and already have a few candidates lined up, including Don Fuggle running against Scott Morrison in his own electorate.” 

Hannah Adler

Hannah is a communications professional and early-career researcher in the disciplines of health communication and health sociology. She is a PhD student at Griffith University currently writing a...