Yesterday I attended the Seed The Future Protest which took place in London as well as several locations across the country (Newcastle, Brighton and Belfast).
This public event focused on the massive potentials of Hemp, a vastly underused resource due to cannabis prohibition.
The hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L.) is the name given to strains of cannabis which unlike what we generally smoke (also Cannabis Sativa L.) naturally have a very low level of THC. In the EU, for example, this cannot exceed 0.2% for a strain to be recognised as hemp.
Because hemp is cannabis, the plant has been held back from farmers wishing to utilise its full potential, which in 2020 includes harvesting female hemp flowers which contain cannabidiol.
For more information on how Hemp can save the planet read The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer.
In the UK hemp can be grown under Home Office License but this is subject to restrictions which make it a difficult barrier to entry for a farmer who could be planting other crops in the space they would use for hemp. Waiting on annual Government licenses which often arrive too late for sowing in May further limit the ability of UK farmers to compete with EU and rest of the world counterparts producing hemp and CBD products. This was brought up in a speech at yesterday’s event by Joe from Hempen, who have experienced this first hand.
The day was an enjoyable one, made even more so by the lack of recent cannabis events. But that was after the following transpired:
Arriving outside New Scotland Yard, Headquarters of the MET Police along the Victoria Embankment I saw JJ being spoken to by police who confiscated her hemp plant despite it not being a strain that could even get you high and highlighting one of the major glaring flaws in our current legislature.
Fortunately, JJ, (a canna warrior looking for a court case) was given a ‘community resolution’ and no further action was taken, aside from her personal details and an alert that police wouldn’t be able to offer the same ‘resolution’ next time. Fairplay this is better than being arrested for your average member of the public, but as this was officer discretion I was still uncomfortable observing the whole encounter, conscious that everyone was in the same racial group.
Afterwards, we realised that others were gathering 50 meters down the road on a highly manicured grass patch opposite New Scotland Yard (later informed it was MOD land) so we proceeded to make our way to the event together.
The event kicked off from about 12:30 pm when a stall was set up with hemp seeds and pots of soil for people to take and plant them (cultivation) to highlight the stupidity of the law.
Sam, an organiser of the event, spoke about how he envisions hemp and its uses being used for the benefit of humanity. With a passionate talk he addressed the crowd of onlookers.
I then spoke to the crowd about hemp’s potential to save the planet (I happen to be reading Jack’s book mentioned above which inspired me somewhat) and how we were there to protest the ridiculousness of the law which was highlighted by JJ’s plant seizure earlier that very day.
Rebekah Shaman a founder of the British Hemp Alliance also gave a talk and a history lesson on the megaphone provided that further cemented hemp’s brilliance in the minds of the crowd, plus several interested onlookers, some of whom filmed bits of our talks as they walked by.
The crowd was admittedly a little on the smaller side, and perhaps it would not be overstating things to say that there were enough police sitting in vans within audible distance of our speeches to have arrested everyone or anyone who stepped out of the line that was tolerated. Perhaps due to this, or maybe as we were told “spliff-smoking would not be tolerated” people decided not to light one up at this event.
We had an engaging afternoon of, for the most part, socially distanced conversation, and were able to share our love for hemp and its benefits with one another.
And throughout the event, I enjoyed catching up with old friends and making new ones, as is common at these awareness days where people come together due to their love for the cannabis plant.
I hope to see more hemp-focused awareness events like Seed The Future taking place in coming months, as well as a revival of cannabis protests in general.
It was good to see a slightly different crowd (admittedly with many overlaps) to the smokers I generally see at events, and this is promising as I think it may have inspired these people to join future events which will help recharge the cannabis campaign.
Overall, I feel that we should be combining the many benefits of the cannabis plant into a coordinated and organised campaign to legalise cannabis in the UK, and yesterday I realised that it would be good to see more collaboration between the groups for the benefit of our community and to increase the chances of seeing a form of legalisation that maximises the benefit for cannabis consumers across the UK.
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