Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006
Exodus Collective
Over ten thousand people gathered in the sunshine on Clapham Common for the hugely successful Mayday Cannabis Festival. Over 5000 people (police estimate) people took part in the cannabis march from Brixton to Clapham. Photo: Ian Hunter

Unfair For The Common Man

Cannabis Festival organiser taken to court

17th January 2000

One of the key organisers of last years Mayday Cannabis Festival on Clapham Common is to be charged with "permitting dancing and amplified music without necessary licenses". Shane Collins has been summonsed by Lambeth Council to appear before Balham Magistrates Court on Jan 20.

Last year's free-to-attend Cannabis Festival was widely hailed as a success after between 10-15,000 people came to Clapham Common for a sunny afternoon of activity despite the last minute denial of an entertainment licence by Lambeth Council. As a result of the licence denial, three stages and five sound systems had to be cancelled at short notice. However, Lambeth Council still maintain that around 30-40 people were dancing to amplified music on the day and that Shane Collins -the person who attempted to negotiate an entertainment licence with the council - should take the rap. The maximum sentence for a conviction on this charge is six months imprisonment and/or a £20,000 fine. The choice of Shane Collins as the fall guy is ironic because, as co-ordinator of the litter clean up operation after the event, he was actually commended by the council at the time.

Shane Collins - an active Green Party drugsactivist and a prospective Green Party candidate for the London Assembly - told SQUALL: "This was a free event to protest at the continued prohibition of one of nature's most useful plants and the criminalisation of thousands of people for their medical and recreational use. Scores of people worked, unpaid, for six months to bring this event together. In a sane society we might be applauded, instead the Council is spending taxpayers' money to prosecute me for our efforts."

Another Cannabis Festival is planned for May 6 this year, though this time it will take place in Brockwell Park in Brixton and will be preceded by a march from Kennington Park.

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