Saturday, 21 September 2013

Cannabis users deserve protection not punishment, unless they harm others

How can it be fair to threaten punishment of victimless cannabis users because some people that have used it have said they have had problems or have committed other crimes?

If that logic is applied generally, considering the problems cause by some people that drink alcohol, then it also should be illegal and all drinkers would face prosecutions. Drivers too!

Cannabis users, like anyone else, should be punished if they harm others or break other laws - otherwise they deserve the same level of protection in law as people that drink - protection from drug dealers, protection from bad quality, credible point-of-sale advice, and profits on commercial cultivation and sale should be taxed.

If the idea is to reduce cannabis use, then clearly with many millions in the UK admitting to use, many times more than in 1971 the the Misuse of Drugs Act was introduced, the law has totally failed - all it has done is criminalised so many that had actually done no harm.

And whilst the numbers of users has increased so many times over the last 40 years, the incidence of mental illness has not - so there is little connection there.

And in any case those that suffer need doctors, not police, courts and lawyers.

Our RIGHT to practice our own beliefs, alone or in the company of others

Sadhu's, Jains and others that use cannabis for "religious" reasons have been exempted from prosecution of possession for many years, I believe, due to Human Rights Articles - but the Indian Government limits that exception to religions that it accepts, whereas Human rights says "Every person can choose their own religion or BELIEF"

Almost every Government in the world is acting illegally when they prosecute any person that believes that cannabis is beneficial to them unless they can show that a ban is in the interests of public health, public order or national security, or the Rights of others.

WE are allowed to practice our belief alone or in the companies of others - that is a RIGHT that cannot legally be taken away.


Article 18.

  • Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 30.

  • Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Report from Norwich Smokey Bear's Picnic

It was just two weeks notice but when the idea was posted on Facebook
some of us jumped to action. As well as spreading word through social media, I told the two local papers, the Norwich Evening News and the EDP and Radio Norfolk.

Within a few days, I had a letter through my letterbox asking me to urgently phone the police. So I phoned them and agreed for them to visit my house within an hour.

Two chief constables turned up an sat in my kitchen for almost an hour reading out a series of questions they had prepared.

"Are you the organiser?" one asked.

"No," I said, "I am a publisher, I publish events and news."

"Well if you publish it you are the organiser."

"Oh, if that's the case, I should be getting paid because I published the Leonard Cohen tour too - but I did not organise it!"

Other questions were "how many do you expect to turn up?"

"I don't know, I am not an organiser"

"Will you be having marshals?"

"I don't know, I am not an organiser. I keep telling you that."

"What about young people or children?"

""I don't know, I am not an organiser. But I think young people will be asked to stay away from anyone smoking, and children are the responsibility of parents and police, we can hardly drag them away!"

"Will you be smoking cannabis"

"Personally, you won't see me smoking anything and what other people do is their choice, they all know they could be arrested. Anyway, people smoke cannabis in parks in Norwich every sunny day, don't they?"

Yes," said the Constable, "but will they be smoking in your picnic?" "I don't know, I am not an organiser"

"What if somebody thinks, these people may have some drugs or cash and tries to rob people on their way into the park?" he asked.

"Well that would be up to the police to handle and I would call you.

Otherwise I would probably give him my money, I don't carry a lot"

"yes, I would too," he said.

With that they said they did not want the picnic to go ahead.

"I am not surprised," I said, "I guess police don't want any demonstrations or protests unless it's their own!"

"Have you got permission from the Council?" he asked.

"I don't need permission to have a picnic in the park and in any case, I am not an organiser; and if somebody did ask for permission, the Council would say no."

"Do you have public liability insurance?"

"Me, no. For a picnic? I don't know, I am not an organiser".

Two days later there were articles in the local press, one headed "Police want picnic nipped in the bud!"

I told the police that I would go on Facebook and suggest we get some hi-vis jackets and marshals in case thousands turned up, but I expected 50 to 100, based on the picnics we had attended in Chapelfield Gardens ten years or so ago; that we would deal with our own litter and if there was any trouble we would call the police.

When they day came, I went down to the Park expecting to be searched on the way in, but was approached by two bobbies who asked if I was the organiser!

"I am not the organiser, I am just a publisher"

"How many do you expect to turn up?"

"I don't know, I am not an organiser"

"The lady PC asked "Will people be taking drugs?"

"I don't know, I am not an organiser. People may smoke tobacco or cannabis, they know the risk, some are quite prepared to be arrested.!"

"but this is a public park with children and families."

"I know that, I am a member of the public, we all are. Tell us where else to go and we can think about it. You have to do your job and we have to protest."

Then I was approached by Radio Norfolk: "Are you the organiser?"

"No I am not, there is no organiser. It is an idea - let's have a picnic and then people invite friends".

The interview lasted about half an hour and then they took some quotes from a few others, Tina Girling, Don Barnard, Chris Philbin, Kevin Deadman ... on Monday morning many of us were heard on the early morning radio show.

Interviews with the local rags went much the same way and we saw two quite good articles on Monday Morning. You can read the press at

The day went quietly, the only trouble was when police told Don, our liaison officer, that they could smell "skunk" by the park gates (a couple of hundred yards away)

Police pulled a couple of peopl from the group nearest them and did some pocket searches that produced nothing, whilst we just sat on the grass on the grass!

Several amongst us just wandered across the park for a toke and a cup of tea, and several smaller groups were spotted picnicking and toking around the park.

I felt like a decoy, a member of the public eating crisps and drinking orange juice, whilst around the park, across the city, county, country and world, people were peacefully toking as normal.

I wrote a letter to the press, which was published under a heading "The Big debate: Should Cannabis Users Be Given Somewhere Safe to Smoke?" - in it I said that we wanted the Council to ask the Government to allow them a temporary license where we could go and safely smoke and associate without fear of arrest and away from people that did not want to inhale the smoke.

Until then, we would continue to picnic in the parks.

With the estimated 2 dozen police earning double or more money on a Sunday, how much did that all cost?

Multiply that by 8 or 9 times next year, multiply that by ALL the other picnics and protests across the country - it will cost the taxpayer millions.


Personally I felt the day was a success with good publicity for the cause, and everybody seems to have had a good day. And it was sunny!Thanks to Kevin Bear, Don Bearnard, Jack Koala Bear and all the Bushbabies.

Letter: Time to look at a new approach.  

Letter: Alcohol is the Bigger Problem 

Letter: Special Picnic Made its Point 

Cannabis campaigners hold protest event in Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich 

Police want drugs demo group to scrap protest