Image: Banner from a German GMM protest in 2015
This weekend I attended the UK’s only “Global Marijuana March” in Cardiff, Wales. The Global Marijuana March, sometimes known as Global Cannabis Day or the Global Cannabis March is the single largest simultaneous cannabis protest in history – it’s even a bigger event than 420 globally.
It takes place in nearly 900 cities in over 70 countries around the world and is participated in by millions of conscientious cannabis consumers.
The March certainly has grown from its humble origins in the semi-annual protests and various marches that took place across the US in the 1960’s and 1970’s which called for an end to the war on Cannabis. A war that has claimed thousands of lives. Cannabis prohibition kills someone every day, Cannabis has never killed anyone on any day!
The march has taken place under various names and appeared in many guises over the years. The first event that we would recognise as the Global Marijuana March took place in 1999, in New York. It has been growing with new marches and protests being held in more cities every year. Millions of people now take to the streets and gather annually on the first Saturday in May to protest the antiquated and draconian prohibition of cannabis.
The event in Cardiff, which is now in its eighth year was once again organised by the team at Cardiff Cannabis Social Club and remains the UK’s only Cannabis street protest. (something myself and several other clubs are hoping to change for next year with marches in England and Scotland!)
The day started with the glorious Welsh sunshine beating down on Cathay’s park. The crowds began to amass from 11 am onward. Groups of jubilant and joyous cannabis enthusiasts being to fill the park’s luscious green space and the air with the sweet aroma of cannabis terpenes.
A couple of representatives from the local constabulary arrived around noon walking past several groups of people openly rolling and consuming joints, smoking bongs, and others who were just generally enjoying our favourite plant.
They deliberately ignored the smell and paraphernalia of the guests as their primary concern was to check the march route with the organisers to ensure the safety of the marchers as we would be marching through the main high street and several rather busy road junctions.
Image: Organisers discussing the route with the local constabulary
It was great to see the police concerned with public safety rather than just following corrupt legislation that protects pharmaceutical cartels profits, perpetuates racism, erodes community and police relations, and has declared otherwise law-abiding citizens as enemy combatants in a war they do not wish to fight in.
Video: Heading out of Cathay’s park and into the city.
Once the group achieved critical mass in Cathay’s park the organisers lead some 400/500 Cannabis advocates out of the park and into the bustling city. Marching behind the Cardiff CSC banner, clubs from all over the UK including Swansea Cannabis Social Club, The Tottenham Compassion Club, Plymouth Cannabis Social Club, Peterborough Cannabis Social Club, Southampton Cannabis Club, Hampshire Cannabis Community, Durham City Cannabis Club, Bristol Cannabis club among others attended to show solidarity and support what remains the UK’s only GMM.
En route to the shopping district, I have delegated bullhorn duties and tasked with leading the chants of “Free the weed” and attempt to educate the passing public on their endocannabinoid system and the fact that their government produced the most cannabis for medicinal consumption in the world last year.
Some of the marchers engaged directly with the public, handing out flyers and stopping to talk to and answer peoples questions. I spent the next hour exclaiming to all that would listen that cannabis is our oldest companion species, that is has never killed anyway and taking every opportunity to remind the local constabulary that their time is better invested dealing with the real criminals, the ones who commit crimes that have actual victims and blight lives.
Once the march entered the city the crowds quickly swelled and ballooned as hundreds more joining the anti-prohibition parade to protest our draconian cannabis policy.
Halfway through the march attendees stopped at a local corner shop seeking hydration and a few minutes rest bite from the spring sunshine, providing them with potentially more sales in an hour than they’ll have made all week!
Image: refreshment stop at a local shop
The event ended, as it always does in Hamadryad Park with live music, food and drinks, stalls and a raffle organised by Cardiff Cannabis Social Club.
A reporter from Wales online spent the day with the crowd documenting the gathering groups early in Cathays Park, asking questions and presenting a neutral unbiased account of events, even live streaming during the march itself from Cathay’s all the way to Hamadryad park.
Several people were interviewed including myself, Cardiff CSC organiser Azzy, Medical patient and activist Chris G Beard, and The Prince of Pot Marc Emery, who was in town to enjoy the festivities and experience how the British protest its antiquated and unjust Cannabis laws.
Ultimately, a great day was had by all attendees. No arrests were made- in fact, the police didn’t even interact with any protesters, other than to ensure their safety when crossing busy main road junctions. Its great to see the Cardiff march grow year on year, however, I hope to miss the event next year as hopefully I’ll be helping to organise marches to take place in more British cities in 2019!
Written by Simpa Carter
Chairman at DCCC