Unfortunately the weather reports had got it right for a change - it was pissing down with rain.
With our backpacks loaded with supplies we exited the underground and headed to Speaker’s Corner for the annual 420 cannabis picnic in Hyde Park.
Organised by London Cannabis Club, NORML UK, and UKCSC, last year’s event boasted attendances in excess of 10,000, hopes had been high for a repeat of this success.
We made our way through the park and past an alley of old bill in Transits. Not sure if the Royal Parks Police were trying to be funny with their sign ‘Cannabis is illegal, anyone found in possession of drugs will be arrested’ but we all smiled. I couldn’t resist a response to people walking past “Cannabis is indeed illegal, cannabis seeds however are not!”
After some mingling, during which we saw a few comical arrests for overzealous behaviour more than criminal activity, we pitched up and took in our surroundings. Even in the 30 minutes we had been mingling numbers were swelling and the police were retreating from their original dominant stance to observers on the outskirts.
We got to work handing out some supplies for the crowds, roach cards with chances to win prizes, pipes, skins, grinders and for a lucky few some free Freedom Seeds for their collection. The response we got was warm and enthusiastic which is as much as we could have ever asked for. People took the time to actually read the literature we handed out and a good way of judging this I feel is how many leaflets you see on the floor surrounding you. I didn’t count one of ours all day.
It was great to see the weather wasn’t dampening the spirits of those attending and thanks to the amazing work of UKCSC and NORML the public passing the outskirts of the park were given a more palatable introduction to the benefits of cannabis. It truly was a moment to shine a positive light on the culture we all love.
If you couldn’t make it this year then I don’t think you need worry about London 420 being held in 2015. With ever increasing numbers and press coverage there might be some method to the ‘madness’ that some naysayers (they know who they are) would have you believe this event was.
If we don’t see you on the grass, we hope to see you next year. Pass the brolly.
Bottom right photograph credited to Diego Palmerini