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Saturday, 6 May, 2000, 18:45 GMT 19:45 UK
Cannabis protest in capital
marchers
Pro-cannabis marchers put on a colourful spectacle
Campaigners calling for the legalisation of cannabis have marched through London.

More than 4,000 people - some in bright fancy dress, and many wearing home-made masks shaped like cannabis leaves - made the most of bright sunshine at the colourful End the Prohibition March organised by the International Cannabis Coalition (ICC).


A lot of people enjoy cannabis and there is no reason for them to be stopped by the law

Thor Halland of the ICC
In a carnival atmosphere, the marchers peacefully danced and sang their way along a 2.5 mile route from Kennington Park, south London, to a free festival at nearby Brockwell Park.

Similar events were taking place at venues around the world to try to help lift the ban on the class B drug.

"The cannabis laws are old and should be lifted," said Thor Halland of the ICC.

"A lot of people enjoy cannabis and there is no reason for them to be stopped by the law.

"Today is also just a great big party so that everyone can enjoy themselves, enjoy the sunshine and to get that message across to the Government."

The penalties in Britain for cannabis possession are among the harshest in Europe.

Each year about 70,000 people face a potential prison sentence for possessing cannabis, ecstasy or LSD.

Earlier this week the ICC delivered a dossier to Downing Street outlining its arguments about why the ban should be lifted.

Newly elected London Mayor Ken Livingstone has said he would treat drug crimes as one of his priorities during his term of office.

Police said the march was good-natured and trouble-free.

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See also:

21 Mar 00 | Medical notes
Cannabis: The debate
16 Nov 99 | Health
Cannabis trials 'encouraging'
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