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Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Hyde Park

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.

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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!)

The BBC’s Absurd Level Of Coverage Of The Pope

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This has been another grave error of judgment by the BBC.

According to the 2001 census there are 4.2 million Catholics in the UK.  According to the 2005 Church census, just 887,000 are regular worshippers.  Does this justify the absurd level of wall to wall coverage we have had to endure over the last four days?

It looks totally disproportionate to me.  More like some sort of subversive attempt by religious zealots to impose their superstitious beliefs on the rest of us.

If any other group can prove nearly a million regular supporters in the UK will the BBC guarantee equivalent coverage?

With 96 straight hours of guaranteed airtime, whoever you are, whatever your “act”, you’ll easily be able to fill Hyde Park and venues all over the country. You’ll make a fortune!

Written by Peter Reynolds

September 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm