We went to the Hyde Park ‘cannabis picnic’ and nearly got arrested
The vibes were good though
On Saturday the Leeds Cannabis Social Club held their annual summer picnic in Hyde Park, despite police warnings.
With the police on standby for the controversial event, the LCSC defiantly insisted that the show would go on – and true to their word, they were down there early preparing to construct a small pavilion.
The organisers are admins of the LCSC Facebook page, which boasts over 2,000 members.
But while they may be experts in herbology, they certainly aren’t born for construction work.
With the flimsy pavilion barely enduring the light breeze and proudly sporting the LCSC banner, the scene was set.
As for the police presence, two policemen on horseback had already followed us as we walked to the designated spot.
It seems they were following up on their promise to “respond appropriately”, although their later conduct illustrated quite the contrary.
A few minutes later a handful of stoners (who up until now had been wandering Hyde Park looking for the event) flocked to the pavilion – a few extremely pleasant dealers even showed up and gave us their number.
They were from all parts of the country, and represented a cross section of the UK’s colourful stoner population. They had all converged at Hyde Park, eager to show their support for ganja activism despite the police’s stern warning.
Amid the fumes of a few cheeky spliffs, the chatter of anarchist pagans and the curious looks of passing children, we sat down for a chat with some of them about their campaign to legalise, regulate and educate.
One of the organisers told us a little about the idea behind the event.
He said: “After attending Product Earth in Peterborough earlier in the year, a cannabis expo organized by the UK Cannabis Society, we decided we wanted something more local.
“We came here today just to establish how many people who are liking and commenting on our Facebook page are genuinely interested in cannabis activism.”
Max, a carer, educated us on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
He said: “Cannabis does what many medicines do, without all the nasty side effects.
“For example, you see this little kids taking benzos and they have 20 to 30 fits a day – whereas if they take cannabis it goes down to one fit a month.
“There’s clearly something amazing about the plant.”
Aodhan, a recent Sound Production graduate, was also at the event showing his support.
He said: “On a level of personal cognitive liberty I believe that people should be able to use whatever substances they like.
“But that requires a lot of education around the subject. We need to educate people responsibly, especially about the medicinal benefits of cannabis.”
The police obviously disagreed though, because towards the end of the first hour of the event they emerged and threatened to search and imprison anyone caught with weed.
However they came as soon as they went, and the remaining potheads were left to blaze in peace for the rest of the day.
After the event, the LCSC Facebook page posted: “Bit of drama with the police turning up a couple of times on horseback. After that we were left alone for the rest of the afternoon and had a real good time.
“Great people, great medicine and great conversation. I hope you all had as good a time as we did.
“We think we had about 50 odd people over the course of the day and that included people who just came over to chat and see what was going on most of whom were happy to know there are people out there trying to do their little bit to fight these unjust laws.
“Despite the police presence and the threat of more troops if we didn’t behave there were no arrests and absolutely no trouble at all, and when we left we left the park in the way we found it.
“Stoners are people too. Cheers for being great people!”