|Cannabis Users In Public Protest|
Posted by CN Staff on May 06, 2002 at 16:28:32 PT|
Source: Hull Daily Mail UK
Hundreds of pot-smoking protesters took to the streets of Hull yesterday to campaign for the legalisation of cannabis. Police officers kept a close eye on proceeding, using cameras to film users but making no arrests at the time.
The marchers were calling for the legalisation of the drug, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The protest passed off peacefully and only one person was arrested, for a public order offence after allegedly making an obscene gesture at a police officer.
Organiser Carl Wagner, who stood as a member of the Legalise Cannabis Alliance in the last General Election and who is planning to open a cannabis cafe in Hull, said he was disappointed not to see more people on the march.
But he felt the protesters were definitely making their voices heard.
He said: "Anyone who is for prohibition is either ignorant or has a vested interest."
Most of the protesters were in their teens and 20s - although some were older - and there were many still at school who openly admitted using cannabis.
One 15-year-old girl told the Mail: "I smoke cannabis. It doesn't hurt anyone and I think it should be legalised."
Ian Trotter, 43, from Bridlington, said: "Every Friday night people are arrested for violent offences related to alcohol.
"That does not happen with cannabis users."
Natalie Sayner, 17, from Cottingham, said: "It is not a dangerous drug."
Marion Bean, 45, joined the march in a wheelchair, pushed by husband-to-be Roger Martin.
She ate 'hash cake' for the first time last Sunday, and found it relieved her pain.
She suffers with what is believed to be fibromyalgia, which attacks the central nervous system.
She said: "I have three kinds of medicines prescribed by the doctors and none of them help for more than 20 minutes.
"Cannabis, however, gives me a full night's sleep."
Ms Bean added that until a few months ago she was totally against legalisation.
But she continued: "I used to think cannabis was just as bad as heroin.
"But then I started researching the facts and I changed my mind."
Chief Inspector Mark Stafford was in charge of policing the march.
He told the Mail that Mr Wagner had contacted the police to say he was planning a protest and expecting up to 1,000 people.
Police escorted the march from Queens Gardens to Pearson Park, closing roads in the town centre to allow protesters to pass in safety.
"There has been a lot of debate in the media and in Parliament regarding cannabis," he told the Mail during the march.
"But we deal with things as they are, it is illegal and we police it in the normal manner.
"There are people apparently smoking cannabis at the moment and we have teams gathering evidence which we can follow up.
"We have seen no evidence of dealing today, if we had we would have acted immediately.
"The march has been peaceful and we do not want a confrontation."
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