Pubdate: Sat, 04 May 2002
Source: BBC News (UK Web)
Copyright: 2002 BBC
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Fewer People Joined the March Than Had Been Expected

More than 600 people have taken part in a march in Manchester to support 
the legalisation of cannabis.

The event on Saturday was designed to mark World Cannabis Action Day and 
was mirrored around the world, billed as the Million Marijuana March.

Police presence was strong partly because many more people had been 
expected to join the event.

They said that if they saw protesters smoking the drug they would not 
arrest them, but would instead quietly ask them to stop.

Cannabis 'Industry'

The march held up traffic in the city centre but there was no trouble or 

The protesters converged on Whitworth Park, where there was music and 

Many people were there to support Colin Davies, the Stockport cannabis cafe 
owner who is currently on remand in prison.

Jonjo Nally, of the Manchester Cannabis Coalition, said they also wanted to 
draw attention to the other uses of cannabis, including for medicine and 
hemp clothing.

"We want to show that there is an industry that can be born from this," he 

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

Lambeth Experiment

A similar march was held in the London 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 arrest.

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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