«I’m very pleasantly surprised but not totally,» he said.
«It’s quite a big increase, doubled our vote in some spots.
«[Next time] we might attract better candidates.
«We’re struggling to get people to put their hands up because you become a bit of a target, not everyone is an unemployed hippy like me.»
State-by-state the result is more surprising.
In NSW HEMP secured 2.2 per cent of the primary vote, putting it two spots ahead of United Australia.
In WA it has secured 1.66 per cent of the vote, just ahead of Palmer’s 1.6 per cent.
In Queensland the party is ahead of Katter’s Australian Party and sitting in sixth spot on first preferences behind the major parties and One Nation, which enjoys huge public recognition in that state.
Mr Balderstone, who is also president of the Hemp Embassy in the small south-east Queensland town of Nimbin, said HEMP had spent «f—k all» on the campaign.
«We had to scratch to get the money together to put someone in every state because its $4000 in every state and we did the Northern Territory as well,» he said.
«We did a bit of online work but we didn’t spend any money on advertising or anything.
«We don’t have any money.»
He said it was the party’s messages on roadside drug testing and changing laws around cannabis use that was cutting through to a nation that was «waking up» to cannabis.
«We feel really bullied by the roadside drug testing, it’s become a nightmare for cannabis users. It’s so unfair, it stays in our system so long,» he said.
«It’s impossible to introduce a meaningful medical cannabis program when you can’t drive, no one is allowed to drive, even the people who are getting legal medical cannabis now.
«I think people are sick of cannabis being bunched in with all the other illegal drugs, which are so different.
«We’re a dried herb and they’re all chemicals pretty much or certainly processed.»
«Medical cannabis is happening everywhere and we’re just getting left behind.»
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s business reporter.