Pubdate: Sat, 04 May 2002
Source: BBC News (UK Web)
Copyright: 2002 BBC
Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)


Thousands of people are expected to march in various cities across the UK on
Saturday to mark World Cannabis Action Day. 

The Million Marijuana March is a worldwide event involving people taking to
the streets in nearly 200 cities across the globe. 

Participants say it will be a day of discussion, protest and celebration. 

"It's going to be a huge event," said Shane Collins, from Brixton, south
London. "The march is to protest for legalisation, and the festival is a
celebration of cannabis." 

According to the organisers' website, marches are due to take place in
London and Manchester on Saturday, and Hull and Edinburgh on Sunday and
Monday respectively.

Family Park 'Unsuitable' 

A march due to be held by campaigners in Birmingham on Saturday has been
banned from going ahead by the city council and the police.

The West Midlands end of the national march was due to end up in Cannon Hill

But Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police thought the 'family'
park was an unsuitable venue. 

In London the march will go from Kennington Park to Brockwell Park, in south
London, where a festival is being held featuring live music, a speakers'
tent and food stalls. 

'Good Natured' 

Scotland Yard said this was the fourth time the march had taken place in
London, and that last year 15,000 had attended. 

A spokesman said: "Police have been in close consultation with the
organisers and they have ensured police that participants will remain within
the law during the march. 

"If participants are found smoking cannabis they will be asked to stop. 

"In previous years the event has been peaceful and good natured." 

Marches are expected to take place in more than 30 other countries including
the US, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and

Lambeth Experiment 

The London march will be in the borough of Lambeth, where police have been
pioneering a "softly, softly" approach to cannabis. 

Those found with small amounts of cannabis may be warned and have their drug
confiscated, but they will not face arrest. 

The government has recently said it was "minded" to downgrade cannabis from
a Class B to a Class C drug. 

If it did so, users could be free to smoke it in public without fear of

But the Million Marijuana March organisers say this would not be enough. 

Its website says: "The recent progress towards de facto decriminalisation in
Britain is to be welcomed but is clearly not the full solution. 

"Only a complete, total lifting of prohibition will do. Anything less is
simply a half-way house which fails to protect the public."
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