HUNDREDS of campaigners brazenly took drugs in front of police – but only two were arrested.
Medicinal and recreational cannabis users took part in the Green Pride event at Preston Park on Saturday.
Whilst stalls sold CBD products made from legal strains of the plant – many of the attendees took pot luck by happily sparking up in front of police.
As the pungent smell of cannabis smoke floated over the park it was clear many people were not keeping off the grass as groups made a joint effort to discuss the benefits of the drug.
The event was held to campaign for legalisation of cannabis both for medicinal and recreational purposes.
One woman who lives in the North Laine area of Brighton but declined to be named told how her late husband had used cannabis whilst dying from lung cancer.
She said: “He had chemotherapy and had been told it was terminal. I researched everything and came across cannabis oil.
“It alleviated his symptoms and meant he was able to enjoy the last weeks of his life.
“We were able to go out and do things together.
“I do smoke cannabis now and grow a couple of plants at home.
“I’m not smoking today because this is about getting the important messages across.
“But cannabis is no where near as dangerous as alcohol or many prescription drugs like Tramadol. “
Alex McDonald, 29, recently moved from Sheffield to Brighton and invited his friends to join him at the event.
“For me I use it both medically and recreationally.
“It’s a lifestyle choice rather than a necessity.
“But from a street level it is much more dangerous. It is being advertised with names like bubblegum to younger and younger children.
“I think it should be legalised so you know exactly what you are getting.
Charlotte Robey, 49, vouched for capsules of cannabis oil removing all symptoms of the menopause.
Dominic Clarke, 27, of Sheffield said: “I am a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, but since taking cannabis I have not taken any medication.
“The evidence I have from personal experienced, is that I was diagnosed before I started smoking it. Now since smoking it, cannabis has brought me back down to a base level.”
Shannon Lousie, 19, was smoking a large strong smelling roll-up which she happily admitted contained illegal cannabis. She was happily puffing away alongside a large group of friends when four PCSOs approached them – giving them leaflets warning that cannabis is illegal and would not be tolerated at the event.
However they were not searched or arrested.
Shannon said: “I have been smoking it since I was 13 or 14. I don’t smoke a lot, just in the evening to chill out.
“Everyone is smoking here and no one is causing any trouble.”
Another woman who did not wish to be named because of ongoing legal matters said she used cannabis to treat her 21-year-old daughter’s epilepsy.
She said: “She has epilepsy which means she has fit.. She has been given so many different pharmaceutical treatments and cannabis has had more of an affect than any of them.
“I have been campaigning to my MP and her neurologist. “
Sussex Police said they made two arrests during the event and around 30 interventions where drugs were confiscated – but added that the event caused “minimal disruption”.
Chief Inspector Chris Veale said: “We were able to actively engage with a number of groups, clubs and individuals associated with Green Pride, many of whom had travelled from across the UK.
“This enabled us to set the tone early and give people the opportunity to make the right decision based on the information provided. We made it clear that we would facilitate lawful protest, however we were also there to safeguard the public, particularly young people and children and to enforce the law, and most people responded positively to our engagement.
“There was a calm community feel throughout the day, and the vast majority of those in attendance were well mannered and good spirited. The peaceful crowd was reflected by the low level of law enforcement.”
One man was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply cannabis and one man was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and are in custody.
Police made around 30 interventions where cannabis was seized from people and dealt with by various ways including community resolutions.
Five teenagers were referred to the youth outreach service and their parents contacted.
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