This Thursday was 20th April, a date which has become synonymous with cannabis culture over the past few decades.
For as long as I’ve lived in London, each year, on 20th April, thousands of people attend Hyde Park for a massive smoke out / celebration / protest.
This year was no exception, and also saw the introduction of several other 420 events across the country – we will be reporting on Durham’s event soon.
The protest was large in London, attracting a lot of people. We struggle to estimate numbers, but there were in excess of ten thousand attending the event on a Thursday in London. We saw people beatboxing, rap battling, folk singing, painting, juggling and much more as we walked through the crowd. One status we saw mentioned a figure of 15,000 attendees.
We saw people beatboxing, rap battling, folk singing, painting, juggling and much more as we walked through the crowd.
We arrived just after 12:15, while things were still relatively quiet, with groups of people spread across Speaker’s Corner. By about 3-3:30 the place was packed.
We saw lots of people we recognised, but mostly for brief moments, as there were just so many people out protesting and celebrating cannabis.
I have never seen a gathering like this anywhere else, it was like stepping into a different world. The closest thing I can think of is a 3-day festival I once attended, which had that similar unreal feel to it – and that festival happened to be located in the middle of a forest in the Midlands, not Hyde Park, London.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the media’s attempt to paint a negative light on the event was picked up and suddenly we saw some angry people the following day over the rubbish that was left behind after the event.
What wasn’t stated was that at a certain time the police pushed people off the field, panicking people into a rush to leave.
Greg de Hoedt, Chairman of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs movement stated in a Facebook post yesterday:
Each year we speak with both the Royal Parks and the Met Police about 420 in Hyde Park London.
The Police say they would rather get everyone out of the park as quickly as possible rather than allowing us to get everyone to clean up. They do this by standing in a line and moving across the field in and wall at 5pm while people are still smoking their 4:20pm joints.
As you can imagine everyone gets up in a rush and a panic and leaves not taking all or any of their shit, despite the fact that hundreds of black bags have been distributed.
Still there’s lots of spin opportunity for the papers who can easily snap a photo before people have cleaned up that were there to clean up after 15k people sessioned in one space.
Not hard to put your crap in a bag as you go though the day either! The clean up wouldn’t be so big after
There were also far too many people packed in tight proximity there to keep track of rubbish without designated bins – we saw zero bins on the day (besides what some of the CSC’s brought to take home their rubbish). Perhaps London should have spent slightly less on unnecessary police for the day in favour of some bins and cleaning staff.
We enjoyed the day and plan to attend the next 420 celebrations. It’s also worth stating that there are also lots of cannabis events happening all across the country this summer and indeed all year – keep an eye on social media (or our events page here) and make sure you attend local events to show your support for the legalisation movement.
Finally we want to wish a big thanks to everybody who attended 420 protest / celebrations across the country for getting out there and showing the Government that you believe in our rights to consume cannabis. Now, let’s keep up this energy!
Now, let’s keep up this energy!