Six arrests as thousands gather to smoke cannabis in Hyde Park rally

Hundreds join the annual 4/20 meet-up in Hyde Park to commit an act of mass disobedience by smoking cannabis
People took part in an 'unauthorised' 420 rally in Hyde Park - Guy Corbishley/Alamy

Six arrests have been made after thousands of cannabis users gathered in a London park for an annual drug “celebration”.

The crowds took part in the “unauthorised” so-called “420” rally in Hyde Park, central London, on Saturday to call for the drug to be decriminalised.

A Met Police spokesman said: “We have made six arrests, for possession of a knife as a man entered the park, possession of a knuckle duster, driving under the influence of drugs, assault on police, possession of cannabis and an offender wanted under a court warrant.

“We have issued eight community resolution orders for possession of cannabis, seized one sound system and closed down 15 more.

“Two Section 35 dispersal notices under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 are in place for areas of the park.”

Cannabis Festival Hyde Park
Rally-goers called for the illegal drug to be decriminalised - Martyn Wheatley/i-Images

Cannabis is a class B drug and the maximum sentence for possession is five years’ imprisonment.

Medical experts have said that long-term use of marijuana can result in temporary psychosis, including hallucinations, and paranoia along with long-lasting mental disorders, including schizophrenia.

A magistrates’ court can impose a fine of up to £2,500 and a prosecution for supplying or producing an illicit drug can result in a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Police watch on as a massive smoke cloud rises as hundreds join the annual 4/20 meet-up
Police watch on as a smoke cloud rises above the pot smokers - Guy Corbishley/Alamy

A spokesman for Royal Parks told the Daily Mail: “The Royal Parks has not given permission for this unauthorised assembly in Hyde Park, and it is in breach of the Royal Parks’ regulations.

“The Metropolitan Police are aware that this unauthorised assembly is due to take place and have advised that people may be liable for prosecution or arrest.”

The name 420 is said to have been established in California during the 1970s by five San Rafael High School students, as it denoted the time when they would get together to smoke cannabis.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said before the rally: “Using cannabis and other recreational drugs is illegal. Officers will intervene and use enforcement where proportionate and necessary.”