Well, the time is fast approaching again; it’s almost hard to believe, but this year will be our fourth annual Green Pride down here on the Sussex coast!
Green Pride can now claim the title of the second largest pro-cannabis event in the country, surpassed only by Hyde Park 420 in London. We believe that the continuing popularity of the event indicates the overwhelming level of support for cannabis reform in the South East and throughout the country.
The first year of Green Pride was a humble affair, but we were pleased with the turn-out of little over one hundred community members. We gathered in Preston Park, needing only a gazebo, some blankets and the tunes coming out of the speaker to have a good time.
We could not have foreseen it back then, but in our second year we saw the event’s popularity increase tenfold, with one thousand of you showing up with your friends to show your support.
By 2016, our numbers had grown once again, peaking at a crowd of 1500 and nearing 2000 total attendance throughout the whole day. Some attendees had even made the effort to drive down to Brighton from from their homes in London, Hampshire, Hitchen, Leeds, Dundee and many more, showing their commitment to the cause of cannabis legalization. We hope to see all of you again this year!
Green Pride draws inspiration from the success of Vancouver 420, the first of which was organised on a whim back in 1995. Feeling no need to ask permission, a crowd of 200 people gathered that April 20th in 1995. They enjoyed an afternoon of peaceful protest, during which they exercised their right to enjoy cannabis recreationally and played music between the sociable hours of 2-7pm.
In 1996 their event grew to 500 people, and by 1997 it had grown to 1000. They are now reaching over 15,000 attendees at their 23rd annual gathering. With almost 2000 attending our 3rd annual protestival gathering, who can tell what our numbers could look like for our upcoming 4th anniversary? Let alone the future of Green Pride?
Brighton UK Saturday 4th July 2015 - Rob Davidson from Brighton Cannabis Club at the Green Pride pro Cannabis event in Preston Park Brighton - Photograph taken by Simon Dack.
Brighton Cannabis Club Chairman Rob Davidson is proud of the club’s growth and acceptance amongst the Brighton Community: “We have seen support from local businesses that endorse what we are trying to bring to the city. The people of Brighton understand the need for a cannabis social club and the social benefits, even if they don’t consume cannabis themselves.”
Winston Matthews, medicinal cannabis campaigner and co-founder of the Worthing Coffeeshops, which were active in the early 2000’s, agrees, and highlights the urgency of cannabis activism. He explains, “What is special about Green Pride is its power to bring people together all through this one herb, cannabis. We must be heard – people are suffering, I have been to prison for growing my own medicine, yet now it is being recognised that this is a medicine that helps my recovery after a liver transplant. I use cannabis as a replacement for the drug alcohol, which caused my liver troubles. Also, I have had two spinal fusions, and very rarely use opiates for pain.”
He also emphasizes the names that paved the way for events like these: “We reflect on the lost campaigners over the last few years who have not been so lucky; Sam Dyer, Mike Cutler and of course Chris Baldwin who gave so much to try and change the laws for the local people of Brighton and Worthing. Heroes of Green Pride that will never be forgotten, and theirs plus many more lives we celebrate today in the name of Green Pride”.
The Brighton Cannabis Club invites you to come down and join us with something green, a smile on your face and, if you feel like you have something to say, a banner or sign to show your organisation or group supports the message of the day.
Clubs including the Hampshire Cannabis Community, CBD Compassion Club and the London Smoking Club will be in attendance alongside headshop DotComBong.com, Cure The Nation, Too Loud and Smoke Loud as well as a growing list of enthusiastic grassroots cannabis businesses.
Greg de Hoedt, Chairman of the UK Cannabis Social Clubs highlighted that “It’s great to see the community coming together and creating a nice atmosphere that can be enjoyed by all. The UKCSC have been hosting protests across the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island since 2011, and what we have seen is a change in the last couple of these years. It’s not a case of should we legalise cannabis, but more about how and when? With over 100 clubs and groups now in existence acting locally around the UK change is upon us, and it’s coming from the ground up as a social movement.”
Although cannabis is yet to be legalized, in previous years’ police have showed minimal visible presence and last year praised organisers for a “well managed civil protest”. This is in line with their stance that everyone is entitled to the right to protest.
We believe that public resources could be much more efficiently utilised if more police forces across the UK adopted an approach similar to that of the Durham Police Force in the North East, which has been rated as the best in the UK for two years in a row. This timing coincides with the introduction of their current cannabis policy, which views cannabis cultivation and personal possession as a much lower law enforcement priority than in previous years.
Everyone over 18 is welcome to join us at Green Pride. Under 18s may not attend this event unless accompanied by a parent. The day is a celebration of cannabis pride and unity, so please bring your own. And finally, we ask dealers to not turn up, as you will be asked to leave.
A big thanks to all those who are going to come support us for our 4th year of Green Pride!