Pubdate: Wed, 22 Sep 1999
Source: Evening News (UK)
Copyright: Eastern Counties Newspapers Group Ltd, 1999
Author: B. Maguire


IN YOUR opinion, Evening News, September 14, regarding the "Smokey
Bears' Picnic" in Chapelfield Gardens on Sunday, September 26, you
described the event, as a gathering of law-breakers and advised the
people concerned to "stay out of our city."

Of course you're entitled to your opinion, but as a regular cannabis
smoker, I felt I should respond to this blinkered and arrogant outlook.

Being a Norwich citizen, I would like to point out that not all of us
are as ready to banish these protesters.

It may be hard to accept for some people, but the fact is there are
hundreds of cannabis users in the Norwich area, many of whom are
surely sick and tired of being criticised, branded a criminal, or
compelled to hide the fact they smoke or eat cannabis for fear of
losing their jobs or social status.

When these people gather together to protest at such gross injustices,
(and many others besides), it is not tolerated in our "Fine City".

And yet, no-one bats an eyelid as they walk through Magdalen Street on
a weekend night and witness the aftermath of hundreds of alcohol
drinkers, swearing, threatening passers-by, smashing bottles, driving
like maniacs or lying face down in puddles of cold vomit.

If this is acceptable regular behaviour for our city, then why is it
unacceptable for cannabis users to meet in one place in a peaceful
manner to smoke cannabis and make it known that there's a real issue

You will not drive people like me away, and the protesters have my
full support.  I'll see you at the picnic.

B Maguire
Suffolk Square
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake