The police have come under fire for ignoring blatant drug use after failing to clamp down on a pro-cannabis rally in London.
Thousands of people descended on Hyde Park yesterday to mark 420, an annual ‘celebration’ of the drug observed around the world on 20 April.
Images show many protesters smoking joints and using drug paraphernalia in full view of the police, but only twelve people were arrested.
Class B drug
Social media users criticised the lack of response, with one man contacting the Metropolitan Police to say: “Are you letting them smoke? It absolutely stinks of dope in park lane”.
Another said: “How a gathering like this is allowed is beyond me”.
@MetPoliceEvents Are you letting them smoke it? It absolutely stinks of dope in park lane
— Derek Goddard (@derekgoddard2) April 20, 2017
— Chris C (@cctls) April 20, 2017
Cannabis is a Class B drug which carries a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine, but many police forces no longer regularly arrest users.
The drug was downgraded to a Class C substance by the Labour Government in 2004 but the decision was reversed five years later, returning it to Class B.
Last year, more than 1,000 people gathered at Hyde Park to mark the same event – 19 were arrested and 12 were given warnings. The year before that, more than 50 people were arrested.
Glasgow has also seen a 420 rally in a city centre park in recent years, with little intervention by the police.
In 2014, Scottish Conservative MSP John Lamont said people would be “extremely annoyed at the high-profile celebration of something that’s illegal”.
“It is disappointing that such a carnival in homage to an illegal substance is being facilitated in this way”, she said.