By Emily Ledger
As the UK’s Coronavirus lockdown continues, it has become increasingly difficult for people to come together – physically, at least. With all kinds of events cancelled, from football matches, music concerts, and exhibits, some organisers are attempting to embrace technology as a possible alternative. Cannabis legalisation advocates and 4/20 events are no exception.
London’s annual 4/20 event usually takes place in Hyde Park at 4:20pm on April 20th. Last year’s event attracted a massive turnout of 50,000 attendees. However, this year, the usual crowds of cannabis users and legalisation supporters will be unable to meet in person.
In response, the event organisers have decided to host a virtual event, with an array of political speeches and music performances. A number of politicians will be speaking through the virtual channel to add their voice to the growing calls for legalisation in the UK.
Marwan Elgamal, the lead organiser of the Hyde Park 4/20 event, said:
“This year’s annual 420 Hyde Park rally in London is going online… Our aim is to continue to give the cannabis movement a platform to campaign on and spark online activism.”
Public support for cannabis legalisation in the UK has seen a record rise in recent years. A poll by YouGov has shown that 53% of the population support legalisation, with only 32% opposing it. The rest are undecided. Despite the legalisation of medical cannabis in 2018, access remains extremely low.
Among those will be Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate and co-chair of the APPG for Drug Policy Reform, and chairman of the Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group:
“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.”
Other speakers include Labour MP Jeff Smith, Conservative GLA Member Andrew Boff, Liberal Democrat London mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita and former health minister Sir Norman Lamb.