Cannabis campaigners hold protest event in Chapelfield Gardens in Norwich

Pro-cannabis campaigners have a smoking picnic at Chapelfield Gardens, to push the medical benefits

Pro-cannabis campaigners have a smoking picnic at Chapelfield Gardens, to push the medical benefits of the drug and call for it to be decriminalised. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A peaceful protest is being held in a Norwich park by cannabis campaigners today.

Small groups of people gathered to light up and take part in the cannabis 'picnic' at Chapelfield Gardens this afternoon.

A string of similar events have also been held across the country, to push the medical benefits of cannabis and call for it to be decriminalised.

Alun Buffry, a long-standing Norwich cannabis user, was among the people to attend the event.

He said: 'It is a gathering of like-minded people having a picnic. We do not want to cause problems.

'It's a protest in the sense that we don't have anywhere else to go.

'We would like the authorities to recognise that we are members of the public and we represent somewhere in the region of five million people in Britain who use cannabis.'

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He said people who smoke cannabis would like to have a place where they can go to socialise and not be a nuisance to anyone.

'We would like an area in the city where we can go, just like drinkers can go to a pub, and like in Holland people can go to a coffee shop, that's all we are asking for.'

He also spoke of how cannabis had medical benefits and was known to relieve stress and be therapeutic. Jack Girling, 68, from Catton Grove, said: 'Certain states in America have legalised cannabis, and in Holland they have been prescribing it for years. We would like to see an end to the prohibition of cannabis.'

Prior to the event Norfolk police had urged the protestors to scrap the event.

Yesterday, police officers were there to monitor the event and spent some time talking to the protestors.

A police spokesman said the officers' presence was very low key and there as reassurance for everyone using the park.

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