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UK: Hundreds of pro-cannabis marchers demonstrate in Cardiff
Megan Griffiths and Marcus Hughes
Saturday 05 May 2018
Protesters have marched through Cardiff calling for the legalisation of cannabis.
Cardiff Cannabis Social Club organised the march, which began in Cathays Park at noon on Saturday, and a spokesman said the aim was to make this year's event "bigger than ever".
The march was the eighth annual event in the city and is part of the wider Global Marijuana March, normally held on the first Saturday in May across the world.
It remains illegal to possess, grow, distribute or sell cannabis in any form in the UK.
It is a Class B drug and the maximum penalty for use is five years in prison.
According to office for national statistics in 2014, possession of cannabis offences accounted for 67% of all recorded drug offences in the UK.
Ex-serviceman Chris Reilly, 48, has travelled from Swansea to attend today’s event. Chris said: "I was in the military for nine years and consumed after the military recreationally. I stopped and then I was diagnosed with MS and since then I have discovered that the only thing that can treat me is cannabis.
All my doctors know I consume cannabis. They don’t say anything because they know it works for me. They are happy to prescribe it (Sativex) but that is not enough for me. I need the whole plant.
We have exercised our democratic right to protest, that was the march, now we are just having fun and getting high."
The group of pro cannabis activists have arrived in Hamadryad Park. There’s a festival atmosphere and many have sat down for picnics in the park.
Alistair Philpotts has come from Plymouth today to take part in the march. The 39-year-old said:
It’s nice to just get together with people you know - friendly people - because we are friendly. We get portrayed badly but we aren’t. "
The 'Prince of Pot'
One of the attendees at today’s event is Marc Emery, the self proclaimed ‘Prince of Pot’ who is well known in Canada for being the former owner of the Cannabis Culture shop.
A spectacular day in Cardiff, Wales for the Global Cannabis March. An hour before the March gets organized, people come to Cathay’s Park and smoke in this gorgeous park and get irie.
Meet 37 year-old Azzy, one of the event organisers from Cardiff Cannabis Social Club. He said:
We are here again on our eighth year running to raise awareness of the benefits of cannabis and our right to use a god given plant. We will march down to Hamadryad Park now to make a bit of noise and get as much attention as we can. We are still the only club in the UK who do an actual street protest. Literally every year it gets better. The camaraderie is great.
Simpa Carter has travelled to today’s march in Cardiff from Durham. He said
I’m here to support the Cardiff club and the movement in Wales to show solidarity with individuals in the cannabis community as always. We want to demonstrate the consumption of cannabis isn’t antisocial in itself. Prohibition is the problem."
"Why my wife relies on cannabis to help her stage four cancer"
In February, Steve Harrison spoke to us about how is wife Larina has benefited from using both legal and illegal forms of cannabis oil.
Mum-of-three Larina was diagnosed with terminal cancer in November 2016 after the disease progressed from her lungs to her lymph nodes and bones.
Steve, a former Media Wales employee, claims if cannabis is only made legal for medicinal purposes then it would simply lead to a huge profit for pharmaceutical companies.
People need to be able to grow it for their own use and have a degree of control over it.
If it’s heavily controlled by pharmaceutical companies it will be very expensive to buy. A way forward with this is difficult."
Meet the people who took part in last year's march
Organiser of the Welsh event, Jamie Morgan, 48, of the Cardiff Cannabis Social Club, said last year that they hoped to not only prompt a change in the law, but also the attitude of society as a whole.
Personally, I am a recreational user. I have done my own research – I am my own guinea pig. I have used it for 30 years and seem to function. I have been a single parent and held down a job.
We are just trying to show people ‘Don’t believe the hype’.
The Welsh people that have used cannabis to treat their conditions
Gemma Elsworth claims that she may not be alive today if it wasn’t for CBD oil.
Gemma Elsworth, from Hirwaun , near Aberdare , went blind, lost movement in her left side, and even struggled to swallow when the tumours grew larger.
But now she claims as a result of taking cannabis-derived CBD oil and crushed-up forms of the plant, in conjunction with chemotherapy, that the tumours have shrunk in size by half.
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