What is 420 Weed Day and is cannabis legal in the UK? – Evening Standard

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For marijuana smokers, weed day marks a time to come together and enjoy a joint. 

But with the coronavirus lockdown in force, this year will be a little different. 

It’s not only venturing out the house for non-essential reasons that could get you in trouble with the police, though. 

So, what exactly is 420 and is weed legal in the UK? Here are the answers. 

Cannabis enthusiasts during a previous 420 celebration on Weed Day in California

What is 420?

The date April 20 has essentially become a ritual for marijuana fans, like May 4 is for Star Wars enthusiasts and October 3 is for Mean Girls fans. 

It sees thousands flock to London’s Hyde Park, usually the biggest event, to gather for a smoke. 

But the link between the numbers and the act are less clear. 

Last year organisers of a Facebook event for the Hyde Park meeting explained: “Back in 1971, five students at San Rafael High School in California would meet at 4.20pm – right after doing their after-school sports – by the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur to toke up.”

The group, who called themselves the Waldos, used 420 as a shorthand for smoking weed with one member Steve Capper, telling The Huffington Post: “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4.20.”

According to a subreddit on ‘trees’, the earliest record of the link originates in H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling’s short story In the Walls of Eryx, published in 1939, where he described his hypnotic experienced and “was astonished to find the time was only 4:20”.

Is cannabis legal in the UK?

Cannabis is a Class B drug and is therefore illegal to possess, grow, distrubute or sell in the UK. 

It is classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and was previously a Class C drug before being upgraded in 2009.

Drugs and sugar have similar effects on the human brain, a study has found

Possession carries a maximum five year jail term, an unlimited fine or both, while producing or dealing the drug is punishable by 14 years in prison. 

Police usually turn out in force at the Hyde Park weed day meeting, and arrested 53 people in 2015 and 12 people were detained in 2017. 

Campaigners are calling for the UK Government to relax the laws, pointing out that it has some medicinal benefits for sufferers of epilepsy, chronic pain and anxiety. 

Which countries have legalised cannabis?

Several countries in the world have fully legalised cannabis for recreational use. 

Up in smoke: customers at Green Pearl Organics Marijuana Dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, California. Legal weed has boosted the economy, but taxes remain high

Canada decriminalised the drug in 2018 but selling it to children, possessing more than 30 grams in public or growing more than four plants at home remains outlawed.

Many states in Australia and Latin America have also legalised marijuana. 

Other countries have decriminalised the drug for medicinal use only, such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia and many parts of the US. 

This article originally appeared here in https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/420-weed-day-2020-cannabis-legal-uk-a4418691.html

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