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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘420

Why Do I Stand Against Protests, Demonstrations and ‘420’ Events?

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420 2015The protests, public smoking, stereotypical ‘drop-out’ behaviour, cause DAMAGE to the cannabis campaign.

I don’t give a damn how people dress, or what they smoke or do, as long as they’re peaceful. In the ’70s, I lived in Vondel Park, Amsterdam, for two years and later I hitch-hiked around Europe and North Africa with a guitar on my back. I’m still a hippy at heart.

When you want to persuade people, when you need to win hearts and minds, when you want to achieve reform, it doesn’t matter what you think, what your ‘rights’ are, or what is ‘just’ or ‘fair’.

All that matters is the perception of the people whose minds you need to change. It’s what they think that you need to consider, instead of getting angry about what you feel you’re being denied.

It’s a question of what works. We know what hasn’t worked, at all, in the last 50 years and what has worked in the last three years – and spectacularly in the last year.

CLEAR is now working with the policymakers in the Tory and LibDem parties.The campaign has never been closer to a breakthrough. The real work is done in meetings and by hard graft, drafting polices, proposals and boring but essential follow-ups.

Civil disobedience and protests produce a dopamine rush in those attending them – and probably serotonin as well, the ‘togetherness’ buzz. That’s all it is. They have never got us anywhere, just emphasised that cannabis users are ‘different’ and ‘separate’ from the rest of society – and that’s no way to achieve reform because it’s not true!  So why, on these occasions, does anyone think it’s sensible to dress and behave as if they’re ‘different’ and ‘separate’?

I don’t blame the people who attend.  I blame the tactic, the methods and the organisers who pursue these events for self-aggrandisement (and, increasingly, for profit), not for the sake of the cause.

When the cannabis campaign grows up and understands this pretty basic marketing, then we will be unstoppable.

I greatly look forward to the day when ‘420’ can be a celebration of cannabis as a legal pleasure and not a confused, self-defeating embarrassment.

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Written by Peter Reynolds

April 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm

Horrible Pictures From Hyde Park Cause Dreadful Damage To Cannabis Campaign.

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Yesterday, the annual Hyde Park 420 event took place.  420 is an American term for cannabis and these events take place all over the world on 20th April.  Why?  For very obscure and esoteric reasons! They are variously described as celebrations of cannabis or protests for legalisation.  Yesterday in Hyde Park was a disaster.

Violent arrests, open dealing of cannabis, hash cookies decorated to appeal to children – these are terrible images that will cause immense harm to the way that cannabis and cannabis users are seen.  CLEAR will not be publishing any of these pictures.

It matters not that these arrests were fundamentally unjust.  The police officers concerned were only doing their job.  The Daily Telegraph and other media are ramping up hysteria over two deaths in Colorado associated with ‘edibles’; so cannabis cookies in kids style was a spectacular own goal. Close-ups of bags of weed being sold alongside the names of the organisers is not just stupid, it is crazy.

We will never win the support of the public by behaving this way.  Inevitably, of the hundreds there, many seemed barely out of their teens.  The images and messages this sends through the media and to our political leaders are destructive of all the positive work that is being done towards reform. These demos, protests,  ‘smoke ups’ and ‘smoke outs’ have never had any positive effect so what makes anyone think they will now?

I know that many involved with the organisers are sincere but if I wanted to plan how to subvert and undermine the campaign, yesterday in Hyde Park would be a good model.

We have MPs, opinion leaders and powerful people on our side but unsurprisingly they will not be associated with such events.  Let’s move on and put this as far behind us as we can. The key to winning this war is to demonstrate that we can behave responsibily, to win hearts and minds which have been subject to propaganda for nearly a century.  Reform in the US has been achieved despite, not because of such events.

So what can you do? Write to your MP, arrange to meet your MP, ask your MP to arrange a meeting with a minister. This is what works. This is what is actually making progress. Let’s not mess it up.

Appeal For Help – Did you attend Hyde Park 420?

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There was an outbreak of violence in the early evening and the police are appealing for witnesses.  We should do all that we can to help them.

DC Tony Esmond contacted me today and he is looking for witnesses to the violence to whom he can show some photographs of suspects.  He is not interested in why you were in Hyde Park or anything to with cannabis. He wants to catch the thugs who inflicted serious injury on several people. I would count it as a personal favour from anyone who is prepared to do the right thing and step forward.

Contact DC Esmond on 020 7321 9315 or 020 7321 9364. Leave a message if he’s not there.

If you did witness the trouble then you should step forward.  It is the right thing to do.  Any society needs law and order and police to enforce it. Although we may use cannabis, we are still entitled to the protection of the law and we should support the police, particularly when violence is involved.

This is also an opportunity to demonstrate that we are reasonable, responsible and respectable citizens.  Co-operating with the police over this strengthens our argument for the change in the law that we all want to see.

My understanding of what happened is that it was a perfect demonstration of why a regulated system for cannabis is a safer and more responsible approach.  It was a turf war between two groups of dealers – the inevitable result of prohibition.

What is really ironic is that CLEAR had intended to organise an event in Hyde Park tomorrow, 7th May, to coincide with the international Million Marijuana March. We invested considerable time, effort and money in applying to the Royal Parks for permission.  We agreed to pay a substantial bond, take out insurance, provide stewards at a ratio of 1:20 and undertake to clear up all litter.  They didn’t actually deny us permission but they refused to allow us to use a stage or a PA – even though we pointed out that this would enhance public safety and order.  Consequently we decided not to go ahead and instead we are running an event in Cardiff tomorrow where we have received constructive and positive co-operation from the authorities.

So the unofficial, unregulated and un-stewarded event at Hyde Park went ahead on 20th April with its own PA and look what happened. I left at around 5.30pm when the atmosphere was still peaceful but it was evident that a massive clean up operation was going to be needed.  I hope that the Royal Parks will learn a lesson from this. I shall be writing to them pointing out what a foolish mistake they made.

So I urge you to contact DC Esmond if you have any information or if you witnessed any of the trouble. Now it should be obvious but If you go to the police station to look at photographs, don’t go there stinking of weed and check your pockets to make sure you aren’t carrying anything you shouldn’t be. You don’t want to put any of the officers or yourself in a difficult position!

(Yes, I did have a little chat with DC Esmond about cannabis. I sent him a copy of the medicinal cannabis leaflet and a link to the LEAP website. Well you’ve got to try,  haven’t you!)