Pubdate: Sun, 19 Apr 2015
Source: Mail on Sunday, The (UK)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Kirsten Johnson
Page: 5


Astonishing claim of the arrogant cannabis campaigners who intend to
light up in public

THOUSANDS of illegal drug users plan to flout the law by smoking
cannabis in public tomorrow.

Activists who want the Class-B substance legalised will taunt police
by lighting up at the 'Cannabis Celebration' in Glasgow's George
Square - claiming 'they can't arrest us all'.

Nearly 4,000 people have pledged to attend Scotland's biggest
pro-cannabis rally in front of the City Chambers. Speakers will
promote the so-called health benefits of the plant - including
incredible claims it can cure cancer - as well as encouraging people
to 'grow their own'.

Among those speaking will be a retired police inspector who believes
all drugs should be legalised and the internet millionaire behind a
procannabis party fielding dozens of candidates in the General Election.

Musicians, rappers and comedians will perform from noon until 8pm and
a range of drug paraphernalia will be available to buy.

Potent cannabis 'skunk' seeds - which can be sold legally as
'souvenirs' - will also be on offer.

Glasgow City Council tried to block the event last month after
refusing the organisers permission to use the site. But campaigners
still intend to descend on George Square tomorrow afternoon.

Politicians and addiction charities have put pressure on Police
Scotland to ban the event. But the force said last night officers had
been liaising with organisers to ensure it would be 'policed

The Glasgow Cannabis Social Club, the group behind the event, set up a
Facebook page to 'spread the word'. By last night, 3,985 people had
signed up to attend.

Many supporters have vowed to bring cannabis and 'hotbox' - slang for
filling a room with cannabis smoke - George Square.

Facebook user Lewis Robertson posted: 'Let's just keep calm and get

Shaun Conway said: 'There will be thousands of people, how are they
going to manage to lift us all? They can't just lift one person for
the same thing everybody is doing. There isn't enough police.'

Adam Mcrae said: 'If you love weed and love puffing it then who gives
a f* about the police.'

Five people were reported to the procurator fiscal after being caught
with cannabis at a smaller event at Glasgow Green last year, but
supporters say it has not put them off.

Andy Crone: 'I went last year and had no bother smoking.'

Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said: 'It's not a good look for
Scotland's largest city to have such an irresponsible rally right in
its heart.

'No doubt campaigners will spend the day telling people how harmless
cannabis is. But the fact is it's responsible for one in ten
drug-related hospital admissions and there is increasing concern within
the medical profession at the impact it has on mental health.

'Hopefully, the police will have enough resources to deal with any
illegal activity which may occur at this event.'

Christine Duncan, chief executive of Scottish Families Affected by
Alcohol and Drugs, said: 'Any glamorising of substance misuse cannot
be supported as we are too aware of the impact on families.

'The more young people see an illegal behaviour so publicly exhibited,
the more difficult it will become to educate them on what is still an
illegal substance.'

One of the most high-profile speakers tomorrow will be retired
Strathclyde Police inspector Jim Duffy, a member of the organisation
Law Enforcement against Prohibition.

He said: 'The war on drugs is lost and unwinnable. Drugs have never
been more plentiful or easier to get. We need to do something
different and the way to do that is to legalise, regulate and control.
The way forward is to take drugs out of the hands of criminals. It's
about time the Scottish Government were more progressive.'

Paul Birch, founder of social networking site Bebo who launched the
Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol Party earlier this year, will be
launching his Scottish manifesto at the event.

Glasgow City Council confirmed the event had not been given
permission, but said it was powerless to prevent people gathering in a
public place. A spokesman said: 'We told the applicant we were
refusing permission because the event appeared to encourage the use
ofcannabis and it was felt that this would be not be appropriate in
one of our parks.'

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: 'We are aware of this event and
will be liaising with the organisers. As with all events, it will be
policed appropriately.'

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Illegal drug that can land users in prison for five years

THE most widely used illegal substance in the United Kingdom, cannabis
is controlled under Class B of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

It is illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell cannabis - even
being caught smoking it can lead to a criminal conviction.

The maximum penalty for supplying or producing cannabis is 14 years'
imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine, while anyone caught in
possession of the drug can face up to five years in jail.

People in England and Wales can escape with a police warning the first
time they are caught with a small amount of the drug. But anyone found
in possession of cannabis In Scotland will automatically be reported
to the procurator fiscal and a decision on cautioning or prosecution
will be made.
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