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UK: Surrey Cannabis Club stages protest picnic

Natalie Garland

Get Surrey

Monday 31 Aug 2015

Around 25 people joined the protest 'smoke-up' picnic in Stoke Park

ro-cannabis campaigners staged a ‘protestival’ in Guildford’s Stoke Park on Saturday (August 30).

Members of the Surrey Cannabis Club, who believe the class B drug should be legalised, held a protest picnic for the second year running for both users and non-users of cannabis.

Around 25 people attended the six-hour picnic, with some coming from as far as Brighton and Essex to show their support for the cause.

Alan Pavia, 36, from the Surrey Cannabis Club, said the aim of the event was to provide an open forum for people to discuss the issues surrounding cannabis and interact with members of the pro-cannabis movement.

He said: “We have invited the public and other cannabis users and pro-legal activists to attend, network and discuss some of the ways to bring about change.

“We want to reach out to people who might have an opinion.”

Mr Pavia held a similar event last year and, although Surrey Police warned it would not tolerate any illegal activity on the day, he said police had been respectful of the event.

He said: “We saw three police officers go past earlier and they seemed happy and left us to it.

“Last year they were fine and were very respectful.

“The weather last year was pretty dismal so we didn’t have many turn up, this year there are similar numbers but the people are much more serious about it.

“Last year there were more recreational users and this year there are more activists.”

Banners and marquees were put up at the park and some of the attends put together their own posters and banners.

Many of the campaigners had different personal reasons for supporting pro-legalisation, and some said they used the drug for medicinal reasons.

Greg deHoedt, who is chairman of the UK Cannabis Social Club (UKCSC), suffers with Crohn’s Disease and uses cannabis to relieve his symptoms.

He said: “Cannabis stops me getting as much nausea and vomiting, it has improved my quality of life massively.

“If I didn’t use cannabis I would be on 16 or more different pharmaceutical drugs which would have even more side effects.

“Cannabis isn’t doing me harm, it’s doing me good.”

Mr deHoedt said the prohibition of cannabis was a ‘huge waste of police resources’ and said by legalising the drug, police would have more time to deal with more serious crimes.




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