hemposium 2


Dr David Allen

Cardiac  & Trauma Surgeon-Retired / Marijuana Activist and Educator, USA

David Allen began his career as a heart surgeon in the state of Mississippi. During the tenure of his practice he offered his services free of charge to those who did not have medical insurance coverage. He spent most of his career as an advocate for healthy living, and as a medical marijuana proponent. In 2008 David moved to California to become an independent medical cannabis physician. Shorty after opening his practice, the local drug task force targeted and arrested Dr. Allen, who served 14 months in a pre trial prison. He was acquitted by jury nullification in 2011. David has retired from his medical practice under duress. He now spends his time educating others on the endocannabinoid signalling system, medical marijuana, and treating PTSD with Psilocybin.


Dan Atkins

Sustainability Advocate

Dan is driven by a belief that we can thrive on this planet by growing and recycling everything we need, He has been a pioneer in sustainable business for over 25 years; working with leading businesses, entrepreneurs, government and community groups across Australasia, Africa, Europe, Pacific Islands and the Americas. Some of Dan’s experiences has included working with Toyota Australia, where he was the head of environmental affairs and chair of the companies sustainability committee. He has also been a member of numerous working groups and roundtables including the World Economic Forum and a member of the South Australian Premiers Sustainability Roundtable. Dan is currently a director for a number of sustainability related businesses such as R-hubs, Eco3D, Earth Shop Global and Renewable Energy and Biofuels Ltd (REBL) and is a local Northern Rivers resident.


Greg Barns

Barrister and Writer

Greg Barns is a barrister and writer.  He is a member of the Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australian Bars and practices in the areas of criminal law, administrative law and human rights.  Greg was National President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance in 2011-12 and is a spokesman for the Alliance.  He is an legal adviser to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.  Greg is a an advocate for drug law reform in Australia and regularly acts pro bono in drug cases, particularly those involving medical cannabis.  He also acts for asylum seekers pro bono. Greg was a senior political adviser in Canberra, New South Wales and Tasmania between 1989-1999 and ran the Republic Referendum campaign in 1999.  He was National Chair of the ARM from 2000-02.  Greg is the author of three books on Australian politics and writes a weekly column for the Hobart Mercury as well as appearing on and contributing to The Project, Crikey and Fairfax media.


Dennis Boisvert


I came out of the cannabis closet in 2005 when, as a employee of the city of San Diego, I petitioned for my legal right to be able to use cannabis.  I was examined by a city-approved doctor who declared that it was my legal right to be able to use medical marijuana/cannabis.  I retired in 2010 and immediately started working on passing safe access ordinances for the city of San Diego. This activism evolved into co-founding POW420. I have provided court support and observed over 44 trials in five states and two countries; Federal and State including appellate court and Supreme Courts, prison and education outreach. POW420 is a non-governmental member of the United Nation’s Open Society participating in the special session of the general assembly of the United Nations New York for the purpose of discussing the drug policy. Cannabis prohibition is tyranny!!!


Dr Keith Bolton

Chief Scientist, EcoTeam

Dr Keith Bolton has been involved in the hemp industry since 1996 when he co-founded Decision Earth, a business focusing on the importation and wholesale of a wide range of hemp products. After completing his PhD in Environmental Engineering at Griffith University in 1999, Keith accepted a Postdoctoral position at Southern Cross University to work on the Byron Bay 24ha effluent reuse wetland for acid sulfate soil management, carbon sequestration and ecological connectivity.

During his roles of postdoctoral fellow and adjunct research fellow at Southern Cross University, Keith founded the North Coast Mop Crop Project in 2002 – a partnership between Southern Cross University and North Coast Councils – which investigated effluent irrigation of fibre crops as an alternative to discharging wastewater into local waterways. Through this project, Keith was amongst the first researchers in NSW to be awarded a license to cultivate hemp for the purposes of scientific research, and Keith continued this research until 2010.

In 2004, Keith established an Environmental Engineering company called Ecoteam, and this currently occupies much of his time. Ecoteam focuses on wastewater management, remediation of contaminated land, and environmental assessment. Ecoteam works closely with Aboriginal Communities, and around 1/3 of Ecoteam employees are Aboriginal. Ecoteam has developed land management plans for Aboriginal Communities incorporating hemp cultivation, and currently supplies hemp particle board.


Tony Bower

Long time MardiGrass speaker, Tony Bower is in jail, bail denied, and is unlikely to attend MardiGrass. Tony has once again been arrested for growing his cannabis medicine for children with epilepsy and countless others with cancer, chronic pain, MS and the list goes on. Tony Bower has dedicated his life to helping others and now needs your help. All donations would be greatly appreciated. You can donate to his Barrister appeal at gofundme.

Tony is the owner of Mullaways Medical Cannabis Pty Ltd. Mullaways is the first medical cannabis company established and registered in Australia for the purpose of scientific research, cannabis education and the development and delivery of medicines derived from cannabis/ cannabinoids for the management of chronic pain and nausea.


Julie Chiariello

Co Owner at SKUNK Magazine, Canada

As an entrepreneur  for close to the last two decades Julie enjoys bringing green, cutting edge products successfully to market and empowering other women to succeed. She is a medical cannabis user, an herbalist and believes in the use and protection of herbal medicines in all of their forms. She is a champion of new style of business that upholds the tenets of sustainability, empowered consumerism, philanthropy and a more intelligent use of our collective resources. She has successfully built and led the sales teams of various companies within the yoga, health and wellness industries and entered the Cannabis market 10 years ago in the vaporizer manufacturing segment, where she was able to cultivate a global network of friends and activists. In her travels, she has heard stories that have touched and enraged her and have moved her to action in her work at SKUNK Magazine . She strives to empower small businesses to succeed and give voice to the unseen and unheard that continue to suffer and be torn apart by the crime of cannabis prohibition. She is just one in the midst of millions who are banding together globally to tear  down the walls surrounding cannabis prohibition once and for all.


Martin Ernegg

Hemp Engineer, Hemp Fibre Fusion

Hemp fibre fusion is the materials and molding company of Martin Ernegg whose core competance is structural materials made from micro-fibrillated plant fibre. Martin and early partners Horst Döpfner and Robert Bramsteidl started their early research with recycled paper drawing on the technologies of paper mache to make a recycled suitcase. In 1994, their invention ‘hempstone’ landed on the market,and Martin continues to develop and work with his innovation using a variety of raw materials. He runs the factory in collaboration with Jon Worsley. One of the beauties of Martin’s work is the essential fusion of three simple elements: fibre, water, pigments &/or hemp charcoal. Without additional binders, his material is a revolution which he is continually developing and refining. This is advanced nano-fibre technology which Martin continues to nourish for sustainable material development. He is a creator and available for Consultancy from a vast number of technical approaches.


Adela Falk


Co-Founder of POW420 which is first a website highlighting those incarcerated for cannabis, including writing, visiting, and interviewing pot prisoners. Second: We attend court provide support and assist lawyers in cannabis laws. Third: We educate people about bad and unjust cannabis laws, and about knowing their rights. I am an activist and advocate for our brothers and sisters arrested and incarcerated for cannabis. I believe that no-one belongs in jail for a plant. Website: POW420.com



Mehreen Faruqi

NSW MLC, Greens Party

Dr Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens NSW spokesperson on drugs & harm minimisation. She joined the NSW Legislative Council in June 2013 and is the first Muslim woman elected to any Parliament in Australia. Prior to this she was the Director of the Institute of Environmental Studies at University of NSW and an Associate Professor in Business and Sustainability. She is a civil and environmental engineer with a PHD in Environmental Engineering. Since migrating from Pakistan to Australia in 1992, with her young family, Mehreen’s work has focused on developing real solutions to social and environmental challenges.


Jenny Hallam

Medical Cannabis Advocate

For 20yrs Jenny suffered the horrible effects of Fibromyalgia, bodywide chronic pain and nerve damage until she discovered Cannabis oil. After going off all pharmaceutical pain medication her health just kept improving and soon she was helping many others too.

On 4th January 2017 SA police raided her home which resulted in subsequent charges of Manufacture, Possesion and Supply of Cannabis oil and the same charges for Cannabis Resin. This carries a sentence of 18yrs jail. Jenny is pleading not guilty in hopes of setting a precedent and her trial begins in February 2019. She was helping approximately 120 people free of charge at the time of her arrest, including many children with amazing results. Now Jenny works as an activist, trying to change the laws in this country. She is trying to make sure a safe, affordable product is available for all that need it. She also teaches people how easy it is for them to make their own Cannabis oil at home and take their health back into their own hands.


Gail Hester

Medical Cannabis Users Association, MCUA

Gail Hester is a retired RN who founded the Medical Cannabis Users Association facebook group in 2014 with the aim of bringing people together in one place to lobby the Govt for access to medical cannabis. The group now has a following of close to 17,000 Australian members and became an incorporated not-for-profit association in November 2015. Gail is currently on the executive committee and is also involved with the CannaNanna project to help educate our seniors.

Gail wants to see an end to prohibition and the suffering it causes. Her real advocacy journey bagan when she met a man who had put his liver cancer into remission using cannabis oil. Having lost her own 21 yr old daughter to a similar cancer because “nothing could be done”, she saw cannabis as a way of restoring hope. Gail has heard and read many many success stories since beginning this journey. She has made it her business to spread the word about Cannabis and restore the healing power of hope where all hope is gone. 


Carol Ireland

CEO and Managing Director of Epilepsy Action Australia

Carol has an extensive background spanning 35 years in the not-for-profit human services sector and holding a variety of executive positions in operations, service delivery, marketing and fundraising. Carol currently serves on the Australian Advisory Council for the Use of Medicinal Cannabis, the Advisory Board of the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney and Steering Committee for the NSW government’s Paediatric Epilepsy Trials (Medicinal Cannabis Research), and is a founding Director of the newly constituted Medicinal Cannabis Council. In her role at Epilepsy Action she has had significant contact with many individuals and families who are faced with managing very challenging forms of medication resistant epilepsy, with few or no options left in the conventional treatment bucket. Carol has heard and seen the changes in people’s lives, including reduction in the severity and frequency of seizures, resulting from use of medicinal cannabis. She is a strong and active advocate for people living with epilepsy.


Dr Andrew Katelaris

Dr Andrew Katelaris, who has been speaking at MardiGrass for 25 years, is currently incarcerated facing severe penalties for prescribing and providing Whole Plant Cannabis to children with a condition formerly known as “Intractable Epilepsy.” You can donate to his legal fund via gofundme.

Dr Andrew Katelaris makes hemp oil and risks his freedom for sick children. Since 1990 he has been experimenting with the medical uses of cannabis. For the past 18 months he has been supplying CBD dominant cannabis to 20 children with serious seizure disorders. With this safe and effective herbal medicine he has seen a dramatic reduction in the frequency and intensity of the seizures and in addition, most of the children have shown a noticeable improvement in their social, intellectual and motor functioning. Whilst various governments have talked about trialling medical cannabis this has not progressed at the rate required by the seriousness of the situation. Epilepsy is currently the major cause of preventable brain damage.


Andrew Kavasilas

Andrew is a 20 year Nimbin local, founder of Vitahemp, biggest Australian grown hemp seed food company, founder Medical Cannabis Limited (MCL) which is now majority owned Queensland Bauxite Limited (ASX:QBL). Andrew has been an active lobbyist since and regularly meets with bureaucrats, policy makers, many politicians and Ministers discussing cannabis law reform issues. Andrew has spent the last 10 years breeding sub tropical hemp cultivars for local broad acre production and is a true pioneer of the fledgling Australian industrial hemp industry. More recently, Andrew has brought his intricate knowledge and experience to the Australian HEMP Party as its Secretary.



Cannabis Expert

In 1995, Kog was busted with 8,000 marijuana seedlings. The cops valued these worthless little plants at $2,000 each and sentenced Kog to 2 years in prison for being in possession of $16 Million dollars worth of marijuana. After he got out of prison, he set about to grow the biggest and the best crop of dope he’d ever grown – and he did. Kog was determined to share his knowledge with the greater community and wrote the groundbreaking seminal book “Marijuana – A Grower’s Lot” which has been featured in Holland’s “High Life” and “Cannabis Lit”.


Deb Lynch

President, Medical Cannabis Users Association [MCUA]

Deb is a patient with multiple life limiting conditions. She is currently fighting Cannabis Crimes through the Qld judicial system using medical necessity as her defense.
Deb stumbled upon MCUA by accident in 2014 and after exhausting all mainstream treatment options. Lobbying for law reform and educating others became a necessity. Canna Nannas evolved, because of the desperate need for accurate, educational cannabis information in the community. Deb is current president of MCUA of Australia Inc. (Medical Cannabis Users Assoc of Australia) and will not stop her fight until cannabis prohibition is lifted.


Klara Marosszeky

Managing Director, Australian Hemp Masonry Company

Klara Marosszeky is the founder of the Australian Hemp Masonry Company. This small company has been involved in the construction of over 100 Hemp homes in Australia over the past 18 months. AHMC trains builders, owner builders and building designers in Hemp construction and design and supplies Australian Building Code compliant Hemp building materials and advice.

The homes built to date have used hemp grown and processed in the Hunter Valley. However the company is working with farmers in all states to support emerging regional hemp farming co-operatives, with the ultimate goal of being able to source hemp regionally for carbon neutral or better, housing.

Klara has been involved in the industry since 1999 in farming, growing hemp trials on dry-land and irrigated farms in NSW and in Hemp Building and building materials research at UNSW. Her background is in education and land and resource management and her aim is to reduce the emissions associated with conventional construction and construction materials and to be involved in more sustainable land use.


Mae Moon

Publisher of Twelve High Chicks Magazine, Canada

Mae Moon was Originally drawn to cannabis, medicinally to aid with her disability she has from birth. She began Twelve High Chicks Magazine in 2014, its the passion project and a look into the cannabis enhanced and creatively beautiful mind of publisher Mae Moon. It’s one of the many initiatives of this busy mother of four who began her mission as a medical and recreational  cannabis activist in 2005. Mae is also the founder of the much anticipated Weed Woman Comic Series, and recently produced a successful  2nd Annual Mail Order Marijuana  (M.O.M.) Cup in Vancouver, Canada. Mae has also won a number of cannabis competitions including in 2016 1st Place Indica at the Kush Cup (Vancouver, Canada). Recently 2016 and 2017 most of Moon’s Time has been consumed by 3 separate court cases/trials. But she is back, and had jumped right into activism. 


Fiona Patten

Victorian MLC, Reason Party

Fiona Patten is the founder and leader of the Reason Party and a Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for the Northern Metropolitan region. She came to politics after 20 years of lobbying for the rights of organisations involved in the sexual rights movement – including small businesses, sex workers, HIV/AIDS organisations, adult media and online anti-censorship groups. Before that she was an established independent fashion designer with her own label called Body Politics.

Her political career began as an AIDS educator with ACT sex worker advocacy group, WISE. She also held positions on the Board of the AIDS Action Council, as an AFAO (Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations) Committee Member and a member of the ACT Attorney General’s Sex Industry Committee. Before being elected, she was best known as the CEO of Australia’s national adult goods and services lobby group, the Eros Association. She ran a number of high profile campaigns in this role, many of which saw off bans on adult material, restrictions on sexual behaviour and a focus on the real villains involved in sexual abuse.

Frustrated and deeply disappointed with the lack of social change on censorship, drug law reform, euthanasia and gay marriage, she set up and registered the Australian Sex Party in 2009 with a strong focus on civil libertarian and personal freedom issues. She became the first political leader to call for a Royal Commission into child sex abuse in religious institutions.

In the 2014 Victorian state election she won her seat in the Victorian Legislative Council and a balance of power position. Since her election to the Victorian upper house she has successfully instigated physician assisted dying laws, a landmark inquiry into drug law reform, the legalisation of ridesharing and the introduction of a bill for both safe injecting facilities and pill testing. She is also part of a number of Parliamentary committees.


David Shoebridge

NSW MLC, Greens Party

David is a Greens MP in the NSW Parliament, serving in the State’s Upper House since September 2010. David is the Greens NSW spokesperson for Industrial Relations, Aboriginal Justice, Planning and Heritage, Child Protection, Firearms, Justice and Local Government. David has been a strong voice in the campaign against amateur hunting on public land, and continues to work against the development of a pro-gun and hunting culture in NSW. Among David’s current campaigns are working to keep decisions about council amalgamations in the hand of the local community, campaigning to curb the use of police drug sniffer dogs and Tasers, and protecting the rights of workers to fair wages and workers compensation. David was an elected Greens Councillor on Woollahra Council between 2004 and 2012 where he served a term as Deputy Mayor. Before entering Parliament David worked as a lawyer for 13 years, the majority of this time as a Barrister. In that time he acted for a broad range of people and organisations with a focus on employment, discrimination, industrial and tort law.


Justin Sinclair

Research Fellow at NICM

Justin is a Research Fellow at NICM, an international leader in integrative medicine research based at Western Sydney University where he is also the co-ordinator of the Australian Medicinal Cannabis Research & Education Collaboration. For the last 2 years he has also served on United in Compassion’s Scientific Advisory Board, Australia’s leading medicinal cannabis patient advocacy group, in a pro bono capacity. His scientific background is in pharmacognosy (i.e. drugs that come from plants), but his research interests extend into botany, ethnopharmacology, analytical phytochemistry, horticulture and pathophysiology. He is currently a co-investigator on several clinical research projects in development around medicinal Cannabis and spends much of his time lecturing to medical practitioners, nurses, politicians and other allied health professionals about the therapeutic applications of the Cannabis genus. Justin has many years of industry experience in areas such as quality assurance, new product development and regulatory affairs involving herbal medicines and is a strong supporter of full spectrum plant extracts and understanding the deeper workings of the entourage effect. He has published on the topics of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system, pain management and herb/drug interactions in peer reviewed publications and is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and International Cannabinoid Research Society.


Todd Subritzky

PhD student, National Drug Research Institute

Todd’s thesis is a multi-source investigation of issues that arise from the implementation and evolution of the recreational cannabis market in Colorado. As the world’s first fully commercialised seed to sale legal marijuana market for adults, Colorado is an important example to begin examining early consequences of specific policy choices.

During the course of his study, Todd has visited Colorado three times to interview senior regulators, high profile cannabis industry executives and front line public health representatives. In addition, he attended numerous industry conferences in the US. Todd has published his research in well regarded international journals, and presented findings at international conferences in New Zealand, Australia and at the inaugural conference of Institute of Cannabis Research in Colorado, USA.

Todd also runs the website www.marijuanasurveys.org, which among other things offers members access to a searchable cannabis focused media Database with over 46,000 articles since 2014 and growing quickly.


Gerald Taylor

The Hemp Club

Gerald is a hemp farmer, a hemp weaver, a hemp seed oil extractor and a cosmetic hemp producer. “I have worked in the garden for forty years and believe that hemp is the most useful plant we have. Also that hemp, in all it’s uses can be refined and used in your kitchen and garden more effectively than in the best factory or most advanced pharmaceutical laboratory. My message is simple: we have been using cannabis for many millennium and it lends itself to being used by us, whether fiber, oil, medicine or entertainment cannabis can be accessed by anyone, simply and easily.” Gearald’s website is topicalhempcream.com.au and is running  a workshop in the community center during mardigrass.


Ray Thorpe

Happy Herb Company & Elixiba

Ray first started on his mission for herbs in 1993 when he discovered a unique but very significant herb called Damiana.  Bedazzled by its many benefits, he wanted to tell the world about it but was soon startled to discover that it was forbidden to make claims, and therefore learn about the benefits and healing power of herbs.

Ray dropped his corporate lifestyle to set out to change this inequity and opened his first Happy Herb shop in 1996 at Nimbin,inspired by and in alliance with the cannabis law reform movement at the Nimbin hemp embassy. The Happy High Herb franchise grew from that first shop in Nimbin to over 55 stores around the globe.  His book, Happy High Herbs, is now on it’s 8th reprint with 40,000 copies sold worldwide.

He continues the mission for herbs with his latest venture Elixiba, a chain of plant based Herbal restaurant and bars-proudly featuring the HEMPBURGER. Ray is a passionate leader in his mission to promote the appreciation, information, benefits, culture, use and availability of all natural plants and herbs.


Dr Teresa Towpik

Medical Practitioner & Medicinal Cannabis Supporter

Dr Towpik has over 25 years of experience working in Australian hospitals and medical centres. A former cannabis sceptic now turned advocate, Teresa has always embraced different aspects of healing, not only as a doctor but as a patient as well. She strongly believes healing occurs on many levels from the physical to the emotional as well as spiritual and sees great potential for cannabis in modern medicine. Her efforts are focused on educating health professionals and patients as she understands that knowledge is the key to reversing the stigma behind cannabis especially in our evidence based society. “The absence of evidence is no evidence of absence. We need balance and we need to listen to patients as well”.


Wadzy Wadsworth

Health Farms International

Wadzy has had many years of experience in the hemp industry being a passionate supporter of all things hemp. He has done marketing and selling of hemp products, helped other people set up hemp businesses and is currently Nimbin biggest (legal) hemp grower. Wadzy will talk on the need to set up Co–operatives and Health Farms for developing hemp industries in Australia. He will also give advice on how to get into growing and developing markets for Hemp in Australia and overseas.



Martin Williams

Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine, PRISM

Martin Williams, a postdoctoral fellow in Medicinal Chemistry at Monash University, is founding Vice-President of Entheogenesis Australis (EGA, entheogenesis.org) and founding President of Psychedelic Research In Science & Medicine (PRISM, prism.org.au). He is also affiliated with Harm Reduction Victoria as a Peer Educator at events and festivals in Victoria. In these various roles, Dr Williams advocates a mature, open discussion about the use of psychoactive plants and chemicals in societies past and present, and their (increasingly demonstrated) potential to contribute to a more healthy and harmonious future for humanity. With his fellow members of PRISM, he is working to initiate an Australian contribution to the expanding global field of psychedelic medical research.