Cannabis activists in the UK will be continuing their support for change in cannabis policy with the first ever virtual 4/20 rally.
The High Club (THC), Volteface and London Canna Group are presenting the UK’s first ever virtual 4/20 event today, which will be live streamed at 15:45 GMT on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Many countries around the world have now relaxed laws on cannabis consumption by allowing use of the plant for both medical and recreational use. However, the UK continues its prohibition of recreational consumption.
Marwan Elgamal, the lead organiser of 4/20, said: “This year’s annual 420 Hyde Park rally in London is going online. We are broadcasting a digital version of this year’s programme to the thousands who usually turn up to the live event. Our aim is to continue to give the cannabis movement a platform to campaign on and spark online activism.”
The virtual event will act as the platform to launch a new petition brought to Parliament by Elgamal, which will call on the government to ‘make the cultivation, production, sale and use of cannabis legal for adults.’
Want to watch the UK’s first ever virtual 4/20 event LIVE? Visit our Facebook page at Medical Cannabis Network at 3.45pm GMT.
Politicians take the stage
At this virtual 4/20 event audiences will hear from politicians who have campaigned for cannabis law reform. The lineup includes: Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, Labour MP Jeff Smith, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, Conservative GLA Member Andrew Boff, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita and former health minister Sir Norman Lamb.
YouGov polling data has shown that the UK is now broadly in support of cannabis legalisation, with 53% in favour, 32% in opposition and the rest undecided.
Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP for Reigate, Co-Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform and Chairman of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group, said: “We have known for a long time that prohibition has seriously bad outcomes for society including health, crime, child protection and exploitation and a large business handed straight over to criminals.
“This approach has failed, wasting police time and taxpayers money. Our approach to cannabis, and indeed all drug policy, should be able to proceed on the basis of the evidence.
“I’m happy to engage with a movement that has entrepreneurs and experience to contribute to a legal British cannabis industry. Only by eliminating the black market can we protect our children, reduce crime and violence and successfully bear down on the harmful spectrum of drug consumption through a comprehensive public health and education approach funded by that industry.”
Charlotte Caldwell, whose son Billy catalysed the movement for legalising the use of cannabis for medical purposes, said: “We need a more open and honest conversation about cannabis.
“It’s too easy to brush under the carpet. But the consequences are that we limit its use as a medicine, and we lose out on the revenues we could generate if we regulated it like alcohol. Revenues this country is going to need more than ever after the pandemic.”
‘It’s time to end the stigmatisation and criminalisation’
The broadcast aims to inspire viewers to mobilise on the issue of cannabis policy, and will provide information on how to become an ‘online activist’.
Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Withington, Co-Chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform and co-founder of the Labour Campaign for Drug Policy Reform, said: “Our cannabis laws are not fit for purpose and the cannabis using community has an important role to play in bringing about the kind of change we’re seeing in other countries and U.S. states. It’s time to end the stigmatisation and criminalisation of people who consume cannabis, and adopt a harm reduction focused approach. I’m impressed by the dynamism of campaigners, who are continuing to work on this issue through online activism.”
During the broadcast, viewers will also hear from top experts in the cannabis industry, be told about the latest product innovations and be able to engage in live interactive discussions.
Liz McCulloch from the drug reform advocacy organisation Volteface, said: “4/20 is a celebration of the cannabis movement and a coming together of a community that has been plagued by stigma. We wanted to bring politicians together with this movement to rally, campaign and inspire a wave of activism, all through a virtual platform. This virtual event is the biggest political endorsement cannabis activism has ever received, and signals that cannabis is fast moving out of the margins and into the mainstream.”