Australia’s weed-friendly capital Nimbin recently hosted the MardiGrass Festival. Stoners took part in activities like the Hemp Olympix, along with wicked bong-throwing contests. As usual, the police were there to keep things under control (making sure nobody got too stoned); the same police that raided Nimbin’s Oasis Café and Perceptio Bookshop last year, which gave the old-guard hippie’s a sad trip they haven’t gotten over.

This year would be different.

Nimbin’s stoner population is peaceful, so in order to make sure the police kept it chill for MardiGrass, a few hippies created something called “The Polite Force,” as away to keep the peace between stoners and cops.

“We needed a way to juxtapose this police presence, to chill the MardiGrass out,” said Max Stone, a member of the Polite Force. Rather than being a formal organization with a charter and actual objective, the Polite Force are just a few laid-back hippies who create avante-garde performance art, and from time to time, make sure stoners get home safe and keep the roads clear.

But whatever they did at MardiGrass this year, eyewitnesses say things were chiller than usual. Which begs the question: Why doesn’t every stoner gathering have a Polite Force?

Photo via VICE/Laura Rodriguez Castro