By Chris Bovey
Over 1,000 people turned out on a sunny day in Cardiff to protest about the UK’s cannabis laws at the annual Global Marijuana March, which takes place every May in the city.
The gathering started at Cathays Park in the city centre of the Welsh capital in the early afternoon of Saturday 4th May. People from all walks of life took to the streets, marching through the main city centre shopping area onto outside the steps of the Welsh National Assembly and finally finishing at Hamadryad Park, alongside the River Taff.
It was a good humoured peaceful event that passed with no trouble. There was no police presence, they seemed happy to let the stewards get on with the job of safely escorting people through the streets of the Welsh capital to chants of ‘free the weed’.
Many onlookers showed their approval with cheers of support and motorists frequently honked their horns to show solidarity with the protesters who want the Government to abolish laws which prohibit peaceful activities with cannabis. A Welsh ladies choir had a laugh as the marchers passed them giving a performance on the waterfront at Cardiff Bay.
Outside the National Assembly for Wales speeches were given by Darryl Bickler, a human rights lawyer and founder of the Drug Equality Alliance and Greg de Hoedt, NORML UK Outreach Director and Chair of the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs.
Darryl Bickler said: “The day is about being free, being yourself in a public place without fear. We must not allow ourselves to be stigmatised, to have our thoughts censored – we must rescue our rights as humans to exist to our fullest potential and to walk with our heads high, look people in the eye and own our own bodies, minds, streets and parks – this is our time, we are here now and now is our time to be fully alive.
“It’s not about the rights of cannabis, it is of course about the users – but beyond that, it’s about right of every single person to have a possibility of ever wishing to use it. It is about ALL of us, even those who would deny us are cutting their own noses to spite their faces,” said Mr Bickler.
Greg de Hoedt spokesperson for the United Kingdom Cannabis Social Clubs gave a short speech about the CSC model and how it is spreading across Europe and only takes getting together with your friends and growing to make it happen. He explained the importance of growing your own cannabis and taking seriously large sums of money away from organised crime.
On the UKCSC website about the GMC he writes “Growing your own cannabis is the quickest and simplest way to overgrow not only the government, but organised crime. The average price for cannabis in the UK is £10 a gram (of varying but usually poor quality very often wet) or between £200 and £260 on the ounce. Saving that money and reinvesting it in your grow is the smartest move you and your few friends will ever do, and it is your first step to freedom from the oppressive failings of prohibition that you only have to fear and live under if you choose. Growing your own cannabis for yourself or in a small collective (start your own CSC – we will be publishing a guide soon) is socially responsible.
“We gave away 400 seeds for free. If each plant grows an ounce, at £240 an ounce at todays street value means we have potentially removed nearly £100k from going into the hands of organised crime in Cardiff. It’s time to overgrow prohibition,” said Mr de Hoedt.
NORML UK Executive Director, Des Humphrey, who helped organise the Cardiff Marijuana March, said: “It was a tremendous day that showed how much strength of support there is for the cannabis cause.
“The most possitive points I took from yesterday was the zero police presence, which to me meant they gave respect to us to be adult and professional enough to be able to steward our own demonstration through the centre of Cardiff the capital city of Wales.
“These laws need changing now and we’ll keep on coming to the streets until our message is heard. Our body, our mind, our plant!”